Quarantravel: The UP Los Baños campus in Laguna

The University of the Philippines Los Baños or UPLB in Laguna is the biggest in terms of land area among all UP campuses in the country. 

The campus itself, which houses UPLB’s academic facilities and experimental farms for agriculture and biotechnology research, is 1,098 ha huge. In addition, though, UPLB is designated as caretaker of the 4,347 ha Makiling Forest Reserve.

The reserve is home to diverse flora and fauna, and has more tree species than the continental United States (an area 32 times bigger than the Philippines). It serves as an outdoor laboratory for students, mainly from the College of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Colloquially called Elbi, the university is located in the towns of Los Baños and Bay, some 64 kilometers from Manila. While primarily a university, the UPLB campus has become a tourist draw of sorts for travelers.

There’s a lot to do within and near the campus. The campus itself has an amazing landscape, perfect to walk around and take photos of the iconic buildings (the Dioscoro L. Umali Hall, Main Library, and Student Union were designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin) and centuries-old trees. There are regular events held in the campus such as the Feb Fair, garden shows, theatre plays, and weekend markets. 

Some go to UPLB for a relaxing afternoon, sitting under a tree, walking their dogs, or perhaps working out a sweat jogging around the oval. Others go for a food trip (food tends to be on the cheaper/affordable side as most of the establishments here cater to the student population).

Photo by Junnel Bernido

There are also lots of second hand book shops in the vicinity of the campus. Plants are also sold in and around the campus.

A visit to the Forestry section of the campus is a must. This is where the UPLB Museum of Natural History (established in 1976), the Makiling Botanic Gardens, and the Center for Philippine Raptors are located.

If there’s still time to kill while there, head over to the vet med area of the campus and try the fresh carabao milk they sell. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) also welcomes visitors in its facility.

Editor’s Note: Individuals may be discouraged to roam around the campus for leisure purposes because of quarantine restrictions. Getaway.ph encourages everyone to stay home, but if you’re already out on an errand or are passing by, perhaps to go to Manila, then a quick drive by may not pose too much of a risk.

Kenneth M. del Rosario
Kenneth has been writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer for more than 17 years, covering travel, food, motoring, technology, real estate, and business, among others.