MAKTRAV: Mt. Makiling/Sto. Tomas-UPLB Traverse – The Day I Sacrificed My Legs and Feet

Ever wonder what it feels to go on a hike at Mt. Makiling and do a MAKTRAV? IT’S HARD my friends. Having a height of 1,090+ MASL and trail difficulty of 5/9, doing a Mt. Makiling Traverse (MAKTRAV) is considered a major climb.

You have two options climbing Mt. Makiling. First option is you start at Univesity of the Philippines – Los Baños (UPLB) up to the summit and then go back to UPLB, this is a minor climb. Second option is you do a Mt. Makiling Traverse. Starting at Sto. Tomas Batangas all the way to summit and down to UPLB.For us we choose the latter.

February 5, 2017. I’ve experienced my first major climb at Mt. Makiling. I was invited by my cousin along with our family friend. When he said that we are climbing Mt. Makiling, I hesitated to join. “Mt. Makiling=Limatik” that was running into my mind when he said the we are doing a hike there. I said “Yes” even having second thoughts.

Day of the climb. We arrived at Sto. Tomas, Batangas around 5:30. Once we finished writing our names on the logbook and secure a guide, we started climbing.

Heading to Station 1

After 30 minutes of walking we reached a kubo which is station 1 of the hike. There is a refilling station at station 1 you can refill your bottled water before the hike. Water is clean and cold (parang galing sa ref). After 15 minutes of rest, we start the actual hike.

Kubo at Station 1

Hiking from station 1 to station 10 is a tough hike. There are steep assaults that you need to use your hands to pull your self up. Getting to station 11 to 18 is not that much, overall is like walk in the park. Starting at Station 18 things will get crazy. There are so many rope segments that you need to climb, some of those are like 90 degrees incline. You need to have a strength to pull your body up and strength to hold the ropes so that you won’t fall. This is the hardest part of the hike our guide told us.

Station 18
Maybe Los Baños? I don’t know. Haha

After finishing station 18, my legs give up on me. Both of them got cramps. I thought that I cannot make it since I cannot move them. Thankfully one in our group knows what to do when some one got cramps. He applied “Pau Liniment” on my legs and started to massage it with pressure. It hurts at first but it started to feel better also our organizer gave me meds for muscle cramps. After that I’m good to go. I still feel some pain but not that much.

We reach station 30, “Peak 2” (this is the summit). We just rest for 10 minutes take pictures and started to descend. There are another 30 station that we need pass to finish the hike. “ANOTHER 30 STATIONS“. I keep telling to my self that I really don’t want to do this anymore. My legs are aching, I can’t stand properly, my mind is screaming at me to stop. A grueling climb no doubt. So this is what it feels to do a major hike. I regret not conditioning my body for this hike. From summit down to station 11 an overall muddy trail. I don’t know if its because of the rain since its raining last couple of days. Thankfully it didn’t rain when we did the hike.

After 2 hours or so we reached station 11. This station is what they called “Agila Base”. We rest and bought snacks at a nearby kubo. From Agila Base you may choose to ride a “habal-habal”/motorcycle to get you down to the last station which is the gate of UPLB, this will cost you about 100 pesos for this kind of service or walk for 2 hours down to the last station. Your choice. For us, we opted to walk. Actually this time I’m contemplating if I should ride a habal-habal or walk since my legs and feet are still aching, but our organizer encouraged us to walk, it’s only 2 hours of walking he said.

Agila Base to UPLB, real quick.

While walking on a never ending road, down to the last station my legs are giving up on me again. Every station that I passed I took a rest for 5 minutes and then walk again, cursing the road as it never ends and asking my self why am I doing this? why did I join this hike. “Pang minor climb ka lang eh”, I said to my self.

Almost there.

Finally! After 2 hours of walking we reached the last station where our van is waiting for us. I was sliding my feet towards the van and immediately sit at the corner, giving my feet a rest. A legit rest.

At the UPLB gate there is a shower area. You just need to pay a certain amount to use the shower. I didn’t wash my self up, because my body is too exhausted to move. I just wiped my body with wet wipes and get inside the van and rest until we head out home.

Giant “Limatik” somewhere at Station 20


Sample Itinerary

0430 Take Lucena or any Maharlika-bound bus
0630 Drop off at Brgy. San Felix; Head to Ecopark by trike
0700 Registration at Sitio Jordan; secure guides (optional)
0730 Start trek
0930 Trail Junction (Station 7)
1100 ETA Melkas Ridge (Haring Bato)
1130 Lunch at Peak 3 (1020 MASL)
1200 Continue trekking
1330 ETA Peak 2 (1090 MASL)
1400 Start descent
1630 ETA Nursery
1730 ETA College of Forestry; take jeep to Los Banos proper
1800 Dinner at Grove
1900 Take bus back to Manila
2100 ETA Manila

Itinerary from

I can’t give you the prices of bus fares since we have hire a private van for our transportation. For the guide fee, its 1000 pesos for 5 pax. Yep! It’s expensive. But take a look at how grueling the hike is, how many hours they need to guide you all the way to UPLB. I think that is fair enough.

One of my toughest hike yet. I don’t know what mountain is next. See y’all!

Post Author: techienomad

1 thought on “MAKTRAV: Mt. Makiling/Sto. Tomas-UPLB Traverse – The Day I Sacrificed My Legs and Feet

    (July 13, 2017 - 4:07 pm)

    Tomas at 0700H, you can expect to reach UPLB by 1600H, but given the length and difficulty of the trail, bringing lights is a must, therefore, especially since snakes are known to periodically cross the rough roads.

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