- Not to be confused with Los Banos in California, USA.
Los Banos is a city, a resort and university town, in Laguna, located south of Metro Manila, across a large lake. It is 63 km from Manila and is a popular weekend destination for residents. The 2015 census showed a population of 112,000. It is largely a satellite community of adjacent Calamba.
Los Baños is Spanish for "the baths"; the city takes its name from the thermal springs at the foot of Mount Makiling, a dormant volcano located just south of town. As early as 1595, a building was constructed to serve as shelter for the patients who came to seek cures for their ailments at the hot springs. The springs are still an attraction and many of the better class of hotels in town include bathing areas.
The town has been a center of learning since the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA) was established there in 1909. Various other Filipino and international institutions followed. Although Los Baños is a small town, it now has a large scientific community and their achievements, particularly in the study of agriculture, have been a source of local pride and worldwide note.
Once you get down from your bus or Jeepney at crossing, Los Banos, you can take a walk from Jollibee to Robinson Shopping Mall, it's just about 20 meters opposite each other and if you go further, there's a nice Aglipayan Church associated with a local legend.
- Maria Makiling. A diwata, (equivalent of a fairy or goddess) who has been the guardian spirit of the mountain since long before the Spanish arrived. There are many legends about her.; in some she is Dian Masalanta, the ancient Tagalog goddess of love, pregnancy and childbirth, while in Christian versions she is named Maria and attends church often.
Take the HM Bus Liner at EDSA-Cubao (adjacent to Victory Liner) or DLTBco at EDSA (beside Ramon Magsaysay National High School Cubao and ALPS Bus Terminal) that goes to Sta. Cruz. Tell the conductor to drop you off at "Olivarez Plaza" (it's a town mall) or "College" (UPLB is popularly known as 'College') or you can ride the Sta. Cruz bus from Manila (take the bus from Buendia).
If you are from Manila, Navotas, you can ride a bus bound to Calamba coming from Lawton. Ride a jeepney from Calamba, tell the driver you want to get down at UPLB. If you plan to go to University of the Philippines at Los Banos (UPLB), take a jeepney with a signboard that says "UP College". It will take you inside the campus.
You may take the South Luzon Expressway southeast from Manila, then exit at Calamba to follow the national roads. A bypass road opened in 2015 at Calamba to divert cars from the already congested section of Maharlika Highway at Real and Calamba Crossing, but prepare for traffic jams when it is peak season at the resorts.
University of the Philippines, Los Baños and places of interest within its administered area
- 1 Makiling Botanic Gardens (on UPLB campus), ☏ . 08ː00-16ː00 daily. Little streams and rivulets cut through the demonstration garden.
- 2 UPLB Museum of Natural History. Biological & zoological exhibits. Hopefully it won't be a field trip day for all the Metro Manila schools.
- ASEAN Center for Biodiversity
- Boy Scouts of the Philippines Jamboree Site - a campsite at the foot of Mount Makiling adjacent to U.P. Los Baños, which is being managed by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the site of the 10th World Scout Jamboree in 1959, the 1st and 12th Asia Pacific Jamboree in 1973 and 1991, and the 1st ASEAN Jamboree in 1993.
- National Arts Center - a special school for young artist scholars managed by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Perhaps what stands out most though are the truly exceptional views of Lake Laguna.
- Magnetic Hill
- Dampalit Falls-dirty, small waterfall
- Immaculate Conception Parish - a centuries old church at the town proper (Poblacion/Bayan)
- Paciano Rizal Shrine - house of Paciano Rizal, brother of National Hero Jose Rizal
- Yamashita Shrine - execution site of Gen. Yamashita
- 1 Mount Makiling (start from gate at end of Makiling Rd on UPLB campus next to Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems). Fine hiking destination, not only to the peak but also en route through the UPLB-owned Mount Makiling Forest Reserve. Birding and sightseeing opportunities avail (as in big views of surrounding territory). But take ample water, watch out for leeches, and be prepared to come back sticky and withered after completing the 3200 ft (Peak 2 being the highest point) ascent and back. Takes about 4-5 hours each way, so plan to make it a full day outing. Some sites associated with the trek are Flatrocks (river cascade), Mudspring (often mistaken as volcanic crater of Mt. Makiling) nominal admission fee.
The town is famous for its therapeutic pools of mineral hot springs at the base of mystic Mount Makiling. Most of the local residents' water supply is warm water and during the hot season residents sometimes have to bathe with ice blocks in a pail to cool the water. The first thing you do when you’re around the bend to the welcome sign – roll down the windows and breathe deep. Breathe in the fresh air and see the difference why this place is a therapy. Escape to a local resort like the Splash Mountain, sink into a soothingly hot pool and feel your tension melt away. Spa-like, that’s how the experience is. You can stay at these pools the whole day if you like – swim, soak, sunbathe, and it’s enough to refresh your weary soul. Consider also La Roca de Trinidad Resort, Sa Dulo Hotsprings.
- Trace Aqua Sports Complex and Museum - aquatic sports venue for the 2005 SEA Games and Philippine Olympic Festival
Buko-pie (coconut pie) belongs near the top of your list. This is the town's signature dish and served in many places; find a place you like and take a few pies along when you leave. .
Los Banos is famous for its buko pie, young coconut meat deliciously baked in a pie crust. Well known buko pie outlets are The Original Buko Pie and Letty's Buko Pie but there are cheaper versions and it still tastes good. At crossing, you can find Toyang's Pancitan (Noodle Restaurant) which has been a very popular noodle. Next is sea food at Samaral Restaurant. Now if you just want burgers and fries, local fastfood chains and malls dot the way from Crossing to UP. For desserts? Try Los Banos’ homemade icecream, fresh milk, and kesong-puti (cottage cheese) at DTRI restaurant. Primarily hidden but well known by visitors and tourist alike but not the locals, Jo Clemente's famous curry restaurant about 200 meters from Crossing to UPLB is another wonder and if you managed to find it, you will come back and taste the delicious food served piping hot meals and when it is hot...it's really hot.
- 1 The Original Buko Pie, National Hwy, ☏ . all day.
- 2 Seoul Kitchen, F.O. Santos st, corner Pearl St, ☏ . 11ː00-23ː00 daily except closed Su. Good for if you need a Korean fix.
- 3 Spice Jar Restaurant, ☏ . For when you feel like Mexican.
- 4 Mother M's Food Hauz, ☏ . Affordable diningː breakfast, beef pares, bulalo, student meals.
- 2nd floor of Vega Center, in front of UPLB gate. Homemade cakes, pastries, and specialty coffee.
Nationwide fast food chains have their omnipresence in this town, but there are also local destinations if you want to find cheap eats.
Ellens Fried Chicken Location: Crossing, Los Banos and Grove, near UPLB Gate Specialty: Fried Chicken and student meals
- Creisking's Lomi Haus, Near Agapita
The local Mineral Water fresh from its springs is a health drink and once you tasted it, you will feel the amazing healing properties. Liquor is not allowed in the campus of UPLB so be aware of that before thinking a good night out at the campus.
There are a lot of boarding house and apartments to choose from all around the campus.
- 1 Splash Mountain Resort Hotel, Km. 58 National Hwy, ☏ . Pool with slides and lazy river, spa, gym.
- 2 Hillspa Resort, Manila Rd South, ☏ . Pool, waterslide.
- 3 La Roca De Trinidad, ☏ . Casa Florentina 1, 2, 3 for groups
- 4 Makiling Onsen Hotel and Restaurant, National Hwy. Japanese style resort with onsen (hot spring) where you can even put on a yakuta (kimono).
- 5 Splash Oasis Hotel, ☏ . More pool/spa bliss, with a restaurant.
- 6 88 Resort and Spa, #9061 National Highway, ☏ .
|Routes through Solano|
|END ← Calamba ←||W E||→ Jct → → Santa Cruz|