Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Mystical Mount Makiling

One of the most popular places in Laguna is Mount Makiling. The dormant volcano, which is 1,109 meters above sea level, is named after the mountain’s diwata named Makiling. A diwata is a female divinity that is a guardian of nature. Some call her Maria Makiling, Diwatang Makiling or simply Makiling. She is both revered and feared. The mountain itself is said to be in the form of Diwatang Makiling herself, in a reclining position.

There are many mystical and scary stories surrounding the mountain. Many who have climbed its peaks have claimed to have experienced either the kindness or the wrath of the diwata. Some people who abuse the mountain are lost in its midst, finding their way home after several terrifying days. Some claim that when the sun sets and you have not yet reached the feet of the mountain, mysterious things would start to happen.

But there are also those who experience the kindness of the diwata by showing them wonderful parts of the mountain that are yet to be discovered. Regular mountain climbers of the said mountain make it their duty to pick-up pieces of trash along the way, trying to appease the anger of the divinity and trying to keep the mountain as unadulterated as it could be. Because many people got lost in their way in the past, the rangers around the mountain require that at least one guide be included in the group of climbers.

There are 2,048 different species of plants in Mount Makiling, and still there are hundreds yet to be discovered. The mountain consists of tall Dipterocarp forest at the lower portion and dwarf mossy forest near its peaks. The mountain is basically a rainforest.

There are two ways to climb Mount Makiling. One is via Barangay San Miguel in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, the other is via the University of the Philippines, College of Forestry trail in Los Baños, Laguna. The former trail is a tough one, while the latter is more convenient. Using the Batangas trail, you will reach Mount Makiling’s peaks within seven hours. On the other hand, if you use the Laguna trail, you will reach the peaks within five hours.

If you use the trail in UPLB, you will be able to see landmarks and other wonderful parts of the mountain such as the Flatrocks and the Mud Spring. Flatrocks is a portion of a river running through the mountain that has large, flat rocks. The water is cool and soothing. One can easily step over the rocks as if they are platforms. The Mud spring is a bubbling, hot pool of mud. The mud is so hot one can easily make a hardboiled egg in a minute. Although it is a great place to see, the Mud Spring is also very dangerous as it releases sulfuric acid.

It is said that those who respect the forest and the animals are granted gifts by the mysterious goddess, while those who abuse it get punished by getting lost or by being hunted by the spirits of the mountain which are under the command of the diwata. Currently, Mount Makiling is being taken-cared of by the University of the Philippines, Los Baños administration to maintain its natural habitat.

Want to visit Maria Makiling? As I can't find links for the admin yet, just send me an email and I'll help you!

1 comment:

  1. that'd be cool looks great to visit Maria Makiling sometime in groups...