The travel back to the campus was a relief on our part. It was relaxing inside the coaster, plus the coffee we had at IRRI was quite strong and we felt ready for another adventure. We alighted the bus at some grounds near the gate. Jerome asked me what’s the ground’s called, but neither one of us knew the answer. Later I learned that it was the UPLB Carabao park and the tower there was called Kwek kwek Tower. I’m going to say this now: I do not have the most single idea why the tower was named after the popular quail egg snack.
Carabao heads are displayed there at the Carabao Park. You don’t say?
I don’t remember why exactly, but we suddenly decided not to continue the Dtri trip. Maybe because we didn’t want to go around the campus the whole day carrying bottles of fresh milk. So we settled to Makiling. Again, the perpetual problem was how to get to the destination. There was nothing we could do but to ask students. Nevermind if we looked totally alien with backpacks and a camera. We approached two students and no one could answer us properly.
Luckily, we approached a group of graduating students who were then killing time after class. They honestly answered that they haven’t gone to Makiling, but the only way to go there was to ride a jeepney. The problem, they related, was that since it was already 3PM, jeepneys would be very hard to find.
Since we told them that all we wanted is a serene place where we could take photos and feel the Makiling in it, they all agreed that we could go to the Makiling Botanical Garden instead. They were so friendly, and they laughed with our jokes. When they learned that we’re both from UP Diliman, they even extended help by walking us to the jeepney stop. There’s a delight in knowing people from other UP Campuses. It’s like getting to know the “people of your kind from another place.”
It was a long walk, and I apologized for the bother but they waved it off. “Our classes are finished anyway,” they said. While waiting, they taught us one strange and interesting thing: when we see the jeep bound to the Forestry, we should show the driver our index finger pointing upwards. We didn’t know why is that so but we followed them, and the moment we saw a Forestry jeep, we pointed our fingers to the sky. We said our thanks and hailed the jeep.
The Makiling Botanic Gardens. Botanic, guys, not Botanical. I wonder what’s the difference. We were charged P20 for the entrance fee. I guess it’s fine to pay them, because they protect and develop the park.
Inside, it was very silent that we were able to observe infinitesimal sounds. But the moment we begin walking, something happened. All cicadas and crickets blew their sounds to a deafening symphony. Or cacophony. We were the only people inside, because we arrived thirty minutes before the closing hour. In one level, it was scary. On another note, we were kind of excited to get lost.
I wasn’t able to take photos of the nature, mainly because I took time to behold the wonder through my eyes and not under a lens.
We followed a trail down the Molawin River. I liked the sound of the water as they rushed somewhere I do not know of.
The Makiling part is probably the most serene among our destinations. The stillness of this cloistered physical world and the thought of breathing entities that lived there in solitude still make me shudder in wonder. A thirty-minute walk through the garden was almost sacred. It left me with a cloud of reverie, like hopes blown and inhaled in sleep.