Trekkers give back to Mount Makiling

LOS BAÑOS, Philippines - Students, professionals and even first-time trekkers climbed the Mount Makiling in Laguna on Sunday as they participated in the first-ever Makiling Trekathon.

Some of the trekkers came all the way from Metro Manila.

Trekking is just a normal walk for 73-year-old Vicente Caures. But what challenged participants was the determination of Reynaldo Bado, who was one-legged.

The 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer fun trekking events were kickoff activities of the centennial celebration of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) College of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Mount Makiling Forest Reserve, which the UPLB has been a steward of.

According to Dean Rex Cruz, proceeds of the Makiling Trekathon will go to the rehabilitation funds of the mountain.

UPLB plans to make the trekathon an annual activity from now on.

Giving back

Every step in the trekathon is one way of giving back to Mt. Makiling as the mountain gives many benefits to the communities surrounding it, one of which is water supply.

Mt. Makiling is 1,090 meters above sea level. Seven major rivers located in the area contribute to the Laguna Lake, a source of potable water to 2 million residents. It is not only a watershed but also an air shed as it sips dangerous carbons.

Aside from the rainforest, one of Mt. Makiling’s attractions is the mud spring, which has a maximum temperature of 80 degrees Celsius.

Robby Cereno, deputy director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, said that tourists are not allowed to go near the boiling water.

Mt. Makiling is also an inactive volcano, as evidenced by the presence of the mud spring. It once erupted hundreds of years ago.