Getting to Los Baños is easy. Just get on a south bound bus along EDSA which goes to Sta. Cruz, and get off at the town. The bus ride costs a little over Php 100, and the jeep to UP is seven pesos. Now the jeep part is interesting (to me): I was asking a traffic cop for directions to get to the garden and he taught me that jeepney drivers are able to tell where you'd want to go to simply by the way your fingers are positioned when you pull them over. To get to the garden, you'll need to position your fingers as if you're pointing up with your index. That'll bring you to the College of Forestry. Now if you tilted that horizontally (as if pointing towards something in front of you), that means you'd like to go to IRRI. Finally, if you stick your thumb out and point it backwards (like gesturing "back there"), that'll take you to some other place that he just referred to as "Kanan" (meaning right). That to me, is pretty cool.
Entrance to the park is Php 10 per person. You can't complain about that. Especially since this is what you get:
Whistling by the River, September 2009
Well, maybe there is something to complain about. A large group of kids on their field trip arrived a few minutes after this photo was taken. They were around 8-10 years old, and were talking quite loudly so there was no need to exert any effort to eavesdrop (not that I do). It was a bit sad to hear this:
Kid 1: Wow! May ilog! (Wow! There's a river!)
Kid 2: Kaya lang madumi. (Too bad it's dirty.)
Kid 1: Baket? Nakakita ka na ba ng ilog na hindi madumi? (Why? Have you seen a river that isn't dirty?)
Okay, one, the river was actually quite clean. Two, it's a tragedy that some kids are already resigned to the thought that there are no clean rivers out there. I guess it's not a stretch that those who grew up in the city and only see dead, polluted rivers that snake through the urban jungle would think that all of them are dirty. This only shows that there really is a need to start teaching kids about the environment at an early age (shall I segue to Barefootprint here?). Start 'em young and make sure they're aware that us adults are merely borrowing the world from them. Then we could get the grown-ups to listen to their children. Maybe then they'll understand.
Anyway, back to the day trip. For a good meal, I would recommend Kainan sa Dalampasigan without hesitation. From UP, get on a jeep bound for Calamba and get off "sa bayan" just near the railroad tracks. The restaurant is a quaint little shack on the water, beside the municipal park. Great Filipino food at awesome prices! While there, we were lucky enough to have a front row seat for a paddle boat race on the lake, which was one of the events in celebration of the Bañamos Festival, with the major festivities happening on the Sunday. Next time, hey?
Watching the Boat Race, September 2009
Los Baños. Quick and easy. Makes for a very lovely day.