Los Baños (Laguna) - Wikitravel (2024)

Los Baños (Laguna)


  • 1 Understand
    • 1.1 History
    • 1.2 Local Folklore
  • 2 Get in
  • 3 See
  • 4 Do
  • 5 Buy
  • 6 Eat
    • 6.1 Budget
    • 6.2 Mid-range
    • 6.3 Splurge
    • 6.4 Pasalubong
  • 7 Drink
  • 8 Sleep
  • 9 Stay safe
  • 10 Contact
  • 11 Get out

Los Banos is a city in Laguna.


Los Baños is a 1st class urban municipality in the province of Laguna, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 98,631 inhabitants in 17,030 households. It has a total land area of 56.5 square kilometers and is bordered on the south and southwest by Mount Makiling, on the north by Laguna de Bay, on the northwest by Calamba City and on the east by the town of Bay. The town is located 63 kilometers southeast of Manila and is accessible via the South Luzon Expressway.

The town lies on the northern slopes of the long dormant volcano Mount Makiling and is known among tourists for its hot spring resorts that dot the area. Los Baños also hosts the University of the Philippines, along with other foreign and local and international research centers, such as the International Rice Research Institute, the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, Philippine Carabao Center at University of Los Baños (UPLB), and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization - Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEAMEO-SEARCA), making the town a temporary home for tens of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and expatriates.

Aside from its importance in academics, science and research, Los Baños is a well-known tourist destination. Because of the town's proximity to Metro Manila, Los Baños' hot spring resorts are frequent weekend or summer getaways for residents of the vast metropolis and tourists from other places in the Philippines and abroad. Tourists who visit Los Baños also come to the several native delicacies stores in the town to buy the town's famous Buko pie (coconut meat pie).


Los Baños started as a settlement called Mainit, the Tagalog term for "hot" and alludes to the thermal springs at the foot of Mount Makiling.

Mainit was a barrio of Bay until 1589. In 1595, a temporary building made of bamboo and cogon was built to serve as shelter for the patients who journeyed to Mainit to seek cures for their ailments. The early traders from Las Pinas such as the Eusebio clan and from Manila the Lopez clan are considered the earliest to have established farming and business establishment in the area followed by the Kalaw, Palakpak, Bernardo, Clemente and De Castro clans whom are all related to each other. Currently although most of these pioneering families have migrated to other municipalities and overseas, the clan are still in monopoly on agriculture, business and education.

In 1671, more permanent structures like churches and hospitals were built only to be destroyed by a fire in 1727. The structures were re-erected at a slow rate. The church which now stands in the municipal center of Los Baños dates back to 1851. The Spanish Governor's palace was built in 1879 but was only completed in 1892.

In 1909, the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA) was established. UPCA, in successions, became a Japanese camp for prisoners of war, an internment camp for allied nationals, a target of Kempetai punitive measures, and the headquarters of a secret organization of guerillas. On February 23, 1945, American paratroopers and Filipino guerrillas staged a rescue of the civilians in the internment camp, killing all the guards and burning down the makeshift barracks in what is now the athletic field. Only Baker Hall, the armory-gymnasium, remained. While all the foreign civilians were rescued, the Japanese raided the area in reprisal a few days afterward, burning and killing.

In early 50's a batch of bright young Filipino forestry graduates of the University of The Philippines College of Forestry (UPCF) made their way to "British North Borneo" (Sabah) on a pioneering quest that has contributed in the establishment of the "Sabah Forestry Department" in Malaysia, including the famous "Sepilok Research Centre" where it also shelters the world famous orang utan sanctuary. (Prominent UPLB foresters in Sabah, Malaysia: T.V.Eusebio, Udarbe, Alavaso, Sario, Pascua, Dotimas, Padua)

In 1959, the 10th World Scout Jamboree was held in Los Baños, with the theme "Building Tomorrow Today" with an attendance of 12,203 scouts.

In 1962, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) began its operation.

In 1979, the evolution and development of academic excellence in Los Baños moved the people of Los Baños to request then president Ferdinand Marcos to declare the municipality as "A Special University Zone", granted on 15 June 1982 by virtue of letter of instruction No. 883.

Los Baños was further declared as an "Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences Community" on 17 March 1982 by virtue of Executive Order No. 784 (Section 23).

On August 7, 2000, Los Baños was declared as a "Special Science and Nature City of the Philippines" through Presidential Proclamation No. 349 in recognition as a center for science and technology in the development of agriculture and preservation of the environment.

The 6th Flora Malesiana, a triennial gathering of people with botanical expertise regarding "Malesia," was held from September 20 to 24 in 2004. It provided a forum for Flora Malesiana members and encouraged publications on Malesian plants.

During the 2005 Southeast Asian Games, Los Baños played host to the aquatics events, with the newly-built Trace Aquatic Center serving as the venue.

The headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Center for Biodiversity was opened on August 8, 2006 at the DOST-Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, located at the College of Forestry, University of the Philippines, Los Baños. It coincided with the foundation day celebrations of the organization. The Philippines assumed the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2006 and played host to the 12th ASEAN and East Asia Summits (held in Metro Cebu, January 2007).

In January 2007, the 5th ASEAN Inter-Club Age-Group Swimming Championships was held in the Trace Aqua Sports Center.

Los Baños also played host to the UAAP when the swimming competitions of the 70th, 71st and 72nd seasons were held at the Trace Aquatics Center.

Presently, Los Banos has the largest scientist community in South East Asia. Although it is a small town, it has contributed widely through scientific achievements and contributions locally and worldwide particularly on agriculture. A search through Google results in a list of international scientists in a range of fields who have come here to study.

Local Folklore[edit]

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 next to Bangkal street where once upon a time, a beautiful young lady named Maria who lives at a foothills of the mountain used to pray quietly at the church in the evening. One day while gathering wild mushrooms, Maria accidentally met a young son of a prominent family from Barrio Mayondon, Los Baños whose parents lived in a distant southern part of Laguna de Bay. He was lost while climbing the mountain to search for orchids and fungus. The handsome young man fell in loved with Maria and a whirlwind romance begun.

Secretly the young man would sneak by night towards the mountainside and meet her. Before he left, he promised to return and marry her. She waited for him, pregnant and bore a son, she defied all odds, expecting him to return soon however, her son grew day by day but never to see him return. The prominent young man's uncles and aunts found out and decided to breakup the relationship by evicting Maria from the side of the mountain. Mysteriously she left and not to be seen for years but one day, the young man now a fully grown gentleman searched for her in the mountain and found her with a fair and cheerful son, tears from Maria's enchanting eyes shocked the earth of the mountain while wild animals can be heard growling for miles as if there was a celebration in the middle of the night. He proposed her for marriage but his relatives succeeded in bribing the church priest so that he would not be allowed a wedding because they argued that Maria was unclean to face the altar. Maria begged to the priest but to no avail, frustrated, they went to the town mayor's office and their wish was granted with a simple wedding and later vanished on the foothills of the mountain.

The Church priest was not aware Maria was actually Maria Makiling and if the priest did allow them the wedding, the walls of the Aglipayan church would have been turned into gold. The town mayor was rewarded by Maria and he retired quietly but unknown to the locals, he buried a huge amount of gold somewhere at the peak of Mount Makiling. The prominent son was never to be found again but local folks believed that they both have two sons Banahaw and Taal and they lived happily ever after.

Maria Makiling is a local folklore and character in Philippine mythology who is said to be a diwata, equivalent of a fairy or goddess. She inhabits Mount Makiling in Laguna province, and protects the animals and plants of the mountain from those who would harm or defile it. Folklore usually portrays her as kind and generous towards human beings, giving them gifts and blessings. But when she is provoked to anger by the greed or cruelty of humans, she withdraws her favors and/or dispenses frightening punishments.

Her true name is not known; she is simply called "Maria Makiling" because "Maria" is a generic name for a woman, and "makiling" (crooked/uneven) refers to the mountain. Some say that "Maria Makiling" is the Spanish-era name of Dian Masalanta, the ancient Tagalog goddess of love, pregnancy and childbirth.

Get in[edit]

HM Bus Liner and DLTB Co. are buses that service routes to Los Baños from Cubao and Manila. Take a bus that goes to Sta. Cruz and mention to the bus conductor to drop you at Olivarez Plaza or College. Fares from Cubao and Manila ranges from ₱79.00 to ₱100.00.

From Calamba, you can ride a jeepney at SM City Calamba or Waltermart. Fare from Calamba is around ₱21.00. If you intend to go to the University of the Philippines Los Baños, you can take a jeepney in Olivarez Plaza (if arriving from Manila) or in SM City Calamba (if from Calamba) that services a route to 'UP College'. Fare from Olivarez Plaza to the university is ₱7.00-8.00


University of the Philippines, Los Baños and other places of interest within its administered area

  • Makiling Botanical Gardens
  • ASEAN Center for Biodiversity
  • UPLB Museum of Natural History
  • Flatrocks - creek usually frequented by hikers
  • Mudspring - Presumed volcanic crater of Mt. Makiling
  • Peak 2 - Highest peak of Mt. Makiling
  • Pook ni Maria Makiling- an eco-tourism site adjacent to the Jamboree Site, National Arts Center and U.P. Los Baños
  • Boy Scouts of the Philippines and 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 patch of land at the foot of Mount Makiling adjacent to U.P. Los Baños, which is being managed by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the site of the Philippine High School for the Arts, a special school for young artist scholars
  • University of the Philippines Open University
  • International Rice Research Institute
  • Dairy Training & Research Institute
  • Philippine Carabao Center at UPLB (PCC at UPLB) - conducts R&D in water buffalo; implements other programs related to water buffalo development; one of the 13 regional centers of PCC (see the link below)
  • Agricultural and Life Sciences Complex
  • National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB/BIOTECH) - UPLB

Institute of Plant Breeding

  • APEC Center for Technology Exchange and Training for Small and Medium Enterprises (ACTETSME)
  • National Crop Protection Center (NCPC)
  • College of Agriculture AgriPark
  • Baker Hall (also known as Los Baños Internment Camp during World War II)
  • Philippine Council For Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD)

Department of Science and Technology Regional Office for Region IV (DOST IV)

  • Magnetic Hill
  • Dampalit Falls
  • 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
  • Paciano Rizal Park - park dedicated to Paciano Rizal, brother of National Hero Jose Rizal
  • Trace Aqua Sports Complex and Museum - aquatic sports venue for the 2005 SEA Games and Philippine Olympic Festival
  • Los Baños Eco-Waste Processing Area - noted and commended for its solid waste management
  • Yamash*ta Shrine - execution site of Gen. Yamash*ta


Los Banos literally means in Spanish language “the baths”, this 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 are warm water and during hot season (Summer) 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.


World famous buko-pie (coconut pie) will be on the top of your list. Dont leave the town without trying their famous product '"BUKO PIE" or "young coconut pie". Its really tasty.


Los Banos is famous for Buko Pie - young coconut meat deliciously baked in a pie crust. Ice cream, fresh milk and Kesong Puti (Cottage Cheese), all made from Carabao milk are available at DTRI


  • Ellen's Fried Chicken. ₱10-100.


  • Big Belly's, Jose R Velasco Ave (Beside China Bank Savings). ₱65-150.
  • Tresto, Jose R Velasco Ave (Beside China Bank Savings). ₱65-150.
  • Baan Thai, Jose R Velasco Ave (Beside China Bank Savings). ₱65-150.


  • Cafe Ella. ₱50-500.
  • Bonitos. ₱100-500.


  • Lety's Buko Pie, Agapita Plaza.
  • Colette's.
  • The Original Buko Pie..
  • Cafe Maquiling, Anest Tower, Lopez Ave..


A short walk from the UPLB Gate, you'll find LB Square, known for its numerous bars and restaurants that are jam packed during Thursdays and Fridays.


There are a lot of boarding house and apartments to choose from all around the campus. You will get a place less than USD100. If you want a little bit higher, you can check-in at:

  • Splash Mountain Resort Hotel
  • Splash Oasis Hotel
  • Jonel Spring Resort Laguna
  • Palmridge Private Resort

Stay safe[edit]


Get out[edit]

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