From “lola” mode during a long weekend in Baguio City with the grandchildren,  and sensing every rise in the summery temperature of Metro Manila, it was a no brainer to decide to join my old friends for a night in Makiling.


Fishpens @Laguna de Bay


As our van climbed its way towards our accommodations for the night on a promontory overlooking Laguna de Bay,  we couldn’t help but appreciate the tranquility  offered by this mystical place in Laguna.   No wonder they chose this place as an Arts Center.  In the middle of a lush forest , we find ourselves in this one-storey structure with all of 9 spacious rooms, each with a balcony with a view.  Laid out like a square with a swimming pool  in the middle,  the old sala sets can be found at almost every corner of this bungalow.   We chatted nearly every step of the way, from one end to the next, till we all ended up in the huge living and dining room attached to a similarly-sized kitchen.   We had the place all to ourselves.  Just 5 of us.  And all of 9 rooms.   While 2 of my friends busied themselves in the kitchen for our dinner of mache and arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, paired with a huge slab of t-bone steak for the carnivores (4 of us) and a fish dish for the lone meatless diner,   I took off to claim a space in the balcony overlooking the bay.   This is where I waited for sunset , and stayed on till twilight.    Lights flickered from the distance.  Fishpens grew in obscurity as the sun set,  with dear old me growing frustrated over my lack of photography skills.   A better camera and an expert photographer would have loved the display of colors bursting from the skies.   No DLSR for me.  No tripod.  Just my dependable Point & Shoot kept me company all that time.  Shaky hands.  More so, after a couple of glasses of wine.  Can you blame me?  It was my favorite Pinot Noir. 😉



The book I brought with me remained unread.   Sleep came easy.  What with the breeze, the peace and quiet.  The wind makes some sounds as it blows through the screened windows and lets the curtains rise and fall in rhythm with the resident “tuko”  making its presence felt.   The lone moth trapped in the dining area brushes the ceiling light every now and then, just as the crickets organize themselves into a choir.   What bliss.



In the morning, we woke up to a simple breakfast of pandesal and kesong puti.   The leftover arugula and mache were not wasted as they made good beddings for the local mozarrella and feta cheese.  The Deliz ricotta and goat cheese we bought on our way to Makiling have such a subtle taste that in no time,  we were eating the day-old turnovers and oven-burnt croissant with the local cheese.  C’est la vie.  Life is good.  Especially when your taste buds remind you that.


Pook ni Maria Makiling Park


Pretty soon, we were making our way to Maria Makiling Park.  The Olympic-size swimming pool is still there, but the cage housings are unoccupied.  No birds, no parrots, or whatever was there before.   There was a pair of lonesome ducks too eager to follow us around.  They probably don’t get too many visitors these days.   The cottages have had their heyday, but now look quite dilapidated that  I chose to take photos from a distance , if only to make them look good.   Up close, the eaves, roofing, window frames, etc. have all seen better days.


The van weaved around bends till we found ourselves inside the U.P. Los Banos Campus.    It is still a lovely, lively campus. We were tempted to take our lunch here with the students but the summer heat was quite unbearable even in those open-air eateries.   At the Dairy,  we made our purchases of kesong puti, pastillas from carabao milk, yogurt (yum!).   There were no cara-beef  cervelat and schublig ( the restos must have cornered them!) available for sale.  I should remember to do my shopping earlier next time.


UP Los Banos' Animal Husbandry Dept

I'm no big fan of Imelda, but I thank her for this Center. 😉


And so we bid adieu to Makiling.  Bags packed, shopping done, minds emptied, muscles relaxed,  we brace ourselves for the chaos of Manila.  No big fans of Imelda here,  but she had it right building the Arts Center here.