The charm of Los Baños | Inquirer Business

The charm of Los Baños

/ 05:17 AM November 18, 2017

Illustrations by Steph Bravo

Over the years, Los Baños, Laguna has expertly performed a tough balancing act, carefully cultivating an image for itself as a town that is both perennially laid-back but, at the same time, a magnet for adrenaline junkies of all stripes.

It is for this reason, and many more, that Los Baños has long captured the imagination of visitors from all over Luzon. But even so, many exciting developments are giving people strong incentives to give the town a second look, both this year and beyond.


1. It will soon be easier than ever to visit Los Baños.


The administration has promised to usher in a golden age of infrastructure, and Los Baños appears uniquely poised to benefit. The swift buildup of traffic on the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) has often hindered would-be visitors to the town, but one compelling fix could be the P134-billion PNR South Commuter Line, a 72-kilometer railway from Tutuban, Manila, to Los Baños.

With the ability to carry over 300,000 passengers in its first year, travel time from the capital to Laguna will be condensed to just under an hour.

But that isn’t the only good news. New road projects like the SLEx Toll Road 4—which is a four-lane expressway that includes a section from Sto. Tomas to Makban, Laguna—also promise to ease congestion and make Los Baños accessible, not just to people in Manila, but to those in other southern Luzon provinces like Quezon, Cavite, Batangas, and Bicol.

2. An upcoming AgriMuseum is a celebration of the town’s reputation as an agricultural hotspot—and a commitment to sustain it.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) is planning to launch an AgriMuseum, next to its headquarters on the UPLB (University of the Philippines Los Baños) campus. This is a $1.8-million investment that is eyed to become a major destination in the Los Baños Science Community Foundation Inc.’s science ecotourism program.

The AgriMuseum, expected to be launched in 2019, will play an integral role in both the town’s local and tourist community.


“It will complement existing museums in the UPLB campus,” noted Searca program head Maria Cadiz in an e-mail to the Inquirer, adding that it would provide the youth with an appreciation of agriculture and the challenges facing it.

“Los Baños has been an educational tour destination where itineraries had included UPLB’s Makiling Botanical Garden and Dairy Training and Research Institute dairy plant … and IRRI for its Rice World. IRRI has plans of updating or improving its Rice World and the Asean Center for Biodiversity is also going to set up its own museum,” Cadiz said, as she highlighted the town’s flourishing museum scene.

“For the tourist community, we also envision linking the AgriMuseum to farm tourism sites, aside from UPLB’s tourism attractions, for the live agriculture experience,” she noted.

3. Los Baños is the perfect place to join in on the hiking trend—and to unwind after.

In recent years, hiking has become the go-to activity over long weekends or even one-day breaks, and there’s perhaps no better place to do this than Mt. Makiling, the town’s breathtaking 8.7-kilometer trek through a lush tropical rainforest.

But it’s not all sweat and tears. Those looking for some peace and quiet after a hike can take their pick from the UPLB campus’ many sprawling parks, or the seemingly endless number of Los Baños’ hot springs.

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The powerfully relaxed feeling afterwards is enough reason to pack one’s bags and head straight for Laguna.

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