Hiking Makiling

Ten pounds….that’s the result of prolonged sitting during frequent breaks between classes and eating anything edible available in my drawer.

It was after the Christmas break that I came to the realization that the need to get fit should be on top of my list of things to accomplish in 2012. Thus, I spent the first Saturday of the year on a half-day hike to Mt. Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna. This is a very easy hike on paved roads leading to the National Arts Center and the Philippine High School for the Arts.

The hike started at 1PM and it helped that the sun decided to be a little shy that day and remained hidden beneath the clouds. Twenty minutes later, we reached the arch of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines. A large portion of Mt. Makiling is home to the BSP and has served as camping grounds to more than a dozen national and international jamborees.

The place, more popularly known as Jamboree, holds a lot of happy memories for me because my parents, who were both scouters, used to spend days and weeks camping on its sacred grounds.

One can’t miss this giant Boy Scout sign at the fork in the road leading to the Grand Arena to the right and the NAC to the left.

It was all uphill from there. After a lot of steep curves and more than 30 degree slopes, we reached St. Marc’s Chapel, a uniquely designed open air chapel which is perfect for meditation. It started to drizzle so we were not able to take good pictures of the place.

Since we didn’t have a proper warm-up prior to the activity, our leg muscles started to ache and thought we couldn’t go on any further. But remembering the stunning views from above from my previous hikes here, we pushed ourselves to move ahead. Finally, after one and a half hours of walking, we reached the PHSA. A boarding school for artistically inclined Filipino youth, the PHSA is situated halfway up Mt. Makiling. On a clear day, one can see Laguna de Bay, Talim Island, Crocodile Lake, and the nearby towns and mountains of Laguna.

 

We reached the NAC Theater, the red-roofed open air structure that can be seen from the national highway. 
We lingered for about an hour just looking at the grandeur of Mt. Makiling and appreciating what God gave us.

 

After the customary jump shot…

and more attempts to capture the stillness of the moment…we headed home.

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