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6 Fun Things To Do This Weekend In Los Baños, Laguna

Los Banos, Laguna is known for its pools and hot springs, but there are more exciting, nature-themed, and kid-friendly places to see

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Photography: Amber Smith Folkman

If you’re a Manila dweller and your mission is to get out of the city on a weekend, a day trip to the southern town of Los Baños, Laguna is perfect for you. The drive from Metro Manila is just over two hours, and then you’ll arrive in the dreamy mountain landscape of UP Los Baños. Drive further down, and you’ll discover more of the town’s hidden gems.

1. Revel in nature at UP Los Baños Campus


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The University of the Philippines-Los Baños Campus dates back to 1909. Here, postwar, the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) was created, and it is still the university to go to for agricultural education. Its courses include agriculture, biotechnology, agronomy, entomology, horticulture, animal science, soil science, and plant breeding, among many others.


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It’s a beautiful, huge, lush campus, and after you’ve bought your dairy goods (see below), bring a blanket and sit on a grassy area under a big tree and just enjoy the nature all around you.

Pedro R. Sandoval Ave., Los Baños, Laguna

2. Buy milk and yogurt at Dairy Training and Research Institute


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While you’re in UPLB, stop by the campus’s Dairy Husbandry plant’s Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) and buy some yogurt, chocolate milk or other delicious dairy surprises like their kesong puti (white cheese).

UP Los Baños is famous for their dairy and it is for good reason. Don’t forget to take advantage of the affordable prices and bring some home for the week (Editor’s note: If you're not going to consume the dairy items at once, bring a cooler with ice along, as these are really fresh and don’t have preservatives).

Valentino G. Argañosa, UP Los Baños Avenue, Los Baños, Laguna

3. Explore nature at Makiling Botanical Gardens


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If you are going to Los Baños, it is imperative that you take a few moments (well, hours) to take in the beauty of Mount Makiling Botanic Gardens also in UPLB.


The place is majestic and it’s almost unreal. There are numerous species of indigenous Filipino trees in the gardens, and they all tower above you. There are small trails and labeled flora and fauna for you to enjoy. If you want to go hiking, there are a number of eco-trails, and if you want to go swimming, there’s a natural pool, too.

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Pack your baon and eat it here under the trees (just pick up your trash and bring it with you after). Plus, you can’t beat the entrance fee of P40!

College of Forestry and Natural resources, UP Los Baños Campus, Los Baños, Laguna; open daily (except for some holidays) from 8am to 4pm; tel. (049) 536-2637

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4. Enjoy the Riceworld Museum with the kids


Don’t be fooled by the name—the Riceworld Museum is full of exciting stuff to see and do, hence, you have to bring the kids here.


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Located in Chandler Hall at IRRI’s main campus, you’ll find a full-blown museum that’s all about rice. From the core of the rice grain to how rice is farmed and used, it’s all explained here in simple and engaging visuals and exhibits.


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Riceworld is surprising very hands-on (that’s why it’s great for kids!), and you can use many of the machines to see how farming and milling technology as changed over time. Don’t forget to stop by their well-curated gift shop, which is way better than any airport souvenir shop, hands down.

Chandler Hall, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, call tel. (02) 580-5600 ext. 2716. Important—you must make a reservation beforehand, but entrance is free. Ask for Bea, she is the best!

5. Try your hand at planting rice


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Yes, you read that right! Many local schools go on a field trip to IRRI to plant rice. If you choose to do this, plan accordingly, make a reservation well in advance (call the number above), and prepare to get muddy!

6. Eat healthy food (and see a work of art)


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Don’t bother bringing baon when you visit the Riceworld Museum. A sweet acquaintance from Instagram recommended we eat at their cafeteria after. The cafeteria was so affordable and delicious, and there are many vegetarian and halal options. And you must buy the cafeteria bread before you go home.  

(Editor’s Note: After eating, do stop to admire the magnificent rice mural [above] in the cafeteria that was painted by National Artist Vicente Manansala, no less!)

Amber is a Manila-based California native and a mom of three. She is also one of Real Living’s Style Spotters. Read about her "Foreignay" adventures in her blog amommabroad.com or follow her on Instagram @amommabroad

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