From adventurous and thrill seeker travelers, to health buffs, and to artistic persons, a visit to Los Baños is certainly worth your every peso, time, and effort. Its close proximity to Metro Manila makes it one of the most popular weekend getaways for families, friends, and couples.
Because of its demographic location on the northern slopes of the long dormant volcano known as Mt. Makiling, Los Baños is well-known for its hot spring resorts. Its name is derived from Spanish words “los” and “baño” which means “the bath.” Indeed, during Spanish era, Los Baños was once called "the town with many hot baths." However, more than the hot spring resorts, Los Baños offers a wide variety of experience that one will want to do again and again.
Getting to Los Baños is very easy and convenient. There are bus stations located in Buendia, Cubao, and Metropolis Mall Alabang that will drop you off in any place in Los Baños. If you are traveling using your own vehicle, make sure to take the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and exit at Calamba.
Jeep is by far the commonly used transportation in getting around Los Baños. But like most rural areas in the country, there are also tricycles that you can take.
Aside from the hot spring resorts peppered around the area, one main tourist attraction is the Dampalit Falls. It is not as extravagant as Pagsanjan Falls or Maria Cristina Falls but it offers a scenery that will definitely take your breath away. It is said that the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, wrote in his journal that the Dampalit Falls was more mysterious and charming than the Niagara Falls.
Other travel destinations that will not be erased on the list whenever you talk about Los Baños are the Makiling Botanical Gardens, Crocodile Lake, Tanghalang Maria Makiling, Mud Spring and Flat Rocks, Yamashita Shrine and Paciano Rizal Shrine and Park.
Los Baños boasts of several hot spring resorts and pools, which came from Mt. Makiling and are said to have curative effects, so do not miss out on taking a relaxing swim in one of these resorts. Aside from taking a dip, be adventurous and climb Mt. Makiling. The Mud Spring and Flat Rocks are among the popular destinations on the mountain.
Tour Makiling Botanic Garden (MBC) and see its arboretum, natural forest, creek, and wildlife. In addition to these, MBC also has a molave plantation and a collection of trees that emphasize the industrial applications of wood. And while you’re in Mount Makiling, it’s best if you also see the exhibits at the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity and UPLB Museum of Natural History. You can also choose to hike to the flatrocks or the mudspring, which is said to be the volcanic crater of Makiling.
Another fun thing to do in Los Baños, especially if you love Science, is to prove if the Magnetic Hill is true or not. The Magnetic Hill of Los Baños is located somewhere along the way to University of Los Baños in the areas of Mt. Makiling. According to legend, due to “magnetic effect,” there’s a particular spot in the area where your car is going to be pulled-back or rolled up-hill.
Everyone loves to eat good food, and Los Baños will definitely fill up your tummy to a T. From Filipino dishes to Western cuisine and even Tex-Mex cuisine, it is all here.
Almost everyone in Los Baños knows about Faustina’s Restaurant. Don’t judge a restaurant by its façade. Their best seller Silindro Ribs – a char grilled prime pork rib served with a special barbecue sauce, pinakurat (spiced vinegar), buttered vegetables and steamed rice will, as the Filipinos love to say, make you forget your name.
Are you a veggie lover? Or a vegetarian? No problem. Head to Satya Graha, a vegetarian restaurant that serves organic and gluten free cuisine. The place is also best for those who want to clear their mind or channel their creativity and artistic sensibilities because the place is surrounded with grass and all sorts of plants, books, and paintings. A must-try is their Fung Soy Sisig and Vegchon Kawali.
The Bonito’s Bar and Restaurant is also highly recommended. Because of its homey-like ambiance, it is a great place for bonding and catching up with friends. Their specialty is brick oven pizza, pasta and burger but this place also serves Pinoy dishes and other Asian cuisines.
You’ll find that a lot of the bars and restaurants in Los Baños cater to students, especially those in or near the UPLB campus. Head to LB Square with your friends to get cheap drinks and food, or turn to Jacques and sample beers that are as “cold as your ex’s heart.” Spend a few evenings in these spots and you’re sure to find students celebrating the end of one hell week or another.
Because of its popularity, the municipality of Los Baños has hotels, resorts and inns scattered around the area that will definitely cater to your needs and specific budget.
If you want to have natural hot spring bath experience, visit the Makiling Onsen Hotel. Their indoor hot spring baths are popular for relieving common ailments and soaking in it is a great way to relieve stress and tension. You may also want to check other hot spring hotels like 88 Hot Spring Resort, Sol Y Viento Mountain Hot Spring Resort, and Splash Mountain Resort Hotel to name a few.
If you decided to hike or climb Mt. Makiling, make sure to get a guide.
Plan ahead and make sure to bring proper attire for the activities you planned (e.g. hiking, swimming).
Wherever you go, always take some drinking water with you to stay hydrated throughout the course.