Major Jump-off: Station 1, UP College of Forestry
LLA: 14.13°N 121.20°E, 1090 MASL (Peak 2)
Mt. Makiling is mainly protected by the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Because of the location, just 1.5 hours away from Manila, the capital of the Philippines, Makiling has been one of the mainstay destinations of local mountaineers, as well as scientists and tourists. The trails are well preserved making the hike easier even without a guide. While on your way to the peak, one can take some turns going to Flat Rocks, a river with huge stabs of rocks and Mudsprings, the so-called crater of Makiling where one can see boiling mud.
There is another trail, a more challenging one for advanced hikers. It is the the Sto. Tomas trail or the so called Makiling Traverse. This will be tackled on the coming days.
Coming from Manila (from LRT Buendia or Cubao) one can ride a bus going to Sta. Cruz, then upon arriving at Los Baños crossing walk to Robinson’s Place and take a jeepney to College of Forestry and register there. It is also important to give your contact number to anyone at the Ranger Station.
Climbing notes. During the rainy season, Mt. Makiling is infested with limatik, especially between 600-1000 MASL. See the Limatik article for details. Be careful also with the plants and trees, some of them, such as the poison ivy varieties, have pruritic (itch-causing) substances, or thorns. There are reported sightings of snakes but these have become rare nowadays. There are no water sources beyond the Nursery, it is advisable to bring at 2 liters up. Trails can get very slippery on the final 200 meters. But there are station signs from 1-30 (yellow metal cards) — if you do not see one for 30 minutes, review your tracks. Cellphone signal, for its part, is ample in the mountain. Sun cover is so complete there’s no need to wear sunblock. Rain protection is more important, since sudden showers are common in Mt. Makiling.