It wasn’t my first time but it was the first time I wanted to reach the top. Almost but not quite – we ran out of time. The journey up was really amazing and this makes up for our failure to reach the top. In the end we were happy with our trek. I personally don’t feel any disappointment, being close to nature was enough for me.
In 1994 and 1996 I was in Makiling with some friends. In both trek, the mud springs is the last destination as we never had any intention of going all the way to the top. From this location, I thought that it would be an hour or so to reach the peak. I was wrong and it was an oversight that cost us. We reached the Aguila base pass 0300. Since we had no equipment to make camp, I decided to tell the group that it was time to go back.
The highlight of the trek was the mud spring. First time visitors are awed by the boiling mud, it had the same effect on me when I first visited. Makes you wonder if you’re standing on top of a volcanic crater. The sulphur pond shrouds the area with thick smoke that at times you can hardly see anything. “This is so much better than trinoma!”, I was laughing non-stop after hearing this from a colleague. I thought at first it would just be me and Pepe but its a good thing that two of my team members from the US shift, Lugay and Clinton, happens to be outdoor fanatics. Nature trippers just like us. I’m glad that they joined us.
Before reaching the mud spring, we also visited the flat rocks. Boulders of rock, scattered all over a stream. We met a Korean family having a picnic with their little child. We stayed here for 30 minutes. It was really relaxing and almost meditative – hearing the gushing waters, birds, swaying trees – You forget about the busy city life. Nature really has its way of bringing a sense of relaxation. I know, I’m going back here.
The Botanical garden was close. I brought my wife here in 2008. The area has a lovely stream where one can take a bath. Its under renovation I was told.. Yes, you heard me – I don’t know what they’re doing there. The botanical garden is where you can visit the Raptors, believe it or not, they moved it to Diliman! The ranger I spoke with said that the Philippine Eagle was transported back to Davao, while all the other raptor birds are in Diliman now. I find it strange that those wonderful birds are now in the city. Aren’t they suppose to be in UPLB? where the surroundings are more familiar to them?
Somewhere near the Aguila base we met a man who I thought was just one of those bird watching enthusiast. Turns out that he’s a researcher. We call him the “Birdman”. I envy people like him. The amount of work they do contributes a lot to the study of nature and science, and yet, no one knows their names. They do it because of their passion and not for the paycheck. I wouldn’t be surprise if they’re volunteers. They are the happiest people on earth.
We walked non stop for hours and I was surprised that hardly anyone complained. These people are gamers! We started our trek at around 0900, this continued until the afternoon. Just before we headed home we ate diner at a restaurant that serves good fried chickens. Taste like chicken joy actually, half the price. We caught a ride back to Alabang at around 1800. I think everybody fell asleep in the bus. We’re that tired.
More photos here