Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Experience Los Baños for P500

You know James Betia? He's a travel blogger who has been backpacking the Philippines the cheapest way possible. His usual budget is P500 per destination which already includes his food, fare and accommodation. I know what you're thinking now, it sounds impossible, but hey, he's been doing this for months already. In fact, he's planning to backpack Mindanao for P400/day.

I am still a student, so traveling on cheap budget is my thing too.

Last May 8, sir James invited us to try his P500 budget day tour at Los Baños, Laguna. I've been into LB a lot of times (back in grade school field trips) but I still know very little about this town, just the UP campus and IRRI. His day tour includes a Laguna Lake boat tour, Paciano Rizal's house, Agua Santa Spanish bath ruins, UPLB campus, and Mt. Makiling Flat rocks.

Getting There

James told us that the P500 Elbi day tour challenge will start at the moment we stepped inside the bus. As early as 4:30 am, I met up with Chinchan at Buendia Bus terminal. We took the Greenstar Bus bound to Sta. Cruz, Laguna (P99.00 until Jollibee Los Baños).

We reached Jollibee LB at around 6:45 am where James, Brenna and Eileen were already waiting for us. Lloyd came soon after we arrived, completing the six Pinoy Travel Bloggers who will test James' P500 Elbi day tour challenge. Before we leave, I ordered first a breakfast meal (P85.00).

Laguna Lake Boat Tour

From Jollibee LB, we rode a trike to a fishing village near the lake for (P10.00). A boat was already waiting for us when we reached the shore.

everyone on the way to the boat
even the dog wants to join James
this is James Betia
the kids by the shore

The six of us hurriedly jumped int the boat despite the thick dark clouds forming above us. The weather wasn't really good that time, the majestic Mt. Makiling was hiding behind the thick clouds. The boatman then pointed where the towns' (Calamba, Bay, mountains of Rizal, Talim Island) location.

our boat
our boatman
 Before we head back to the shore, we first docked in a mini peninsula where a hidden hot spring, Malacoco Hotspring, is located. Young boys were there bathing and relaxing.

the Malacoco mini-Peninsula
the shore
bloggers unboarding
our boat
the Malacoco Hotspring
the locals relaxing at the spring
After the boat tour, we paid the boatman P50.00 each.

Paciano Rizal's House

We again rode a tricycle (P9.00) to Paciano's house. General Paciano Rizal is the older brother of our national hero. For some, he's "the hero of our national hero". His house #149 is near near the old Municipal building. Rizal-Lopez memorabilia, antiques, personal belongings and even his death bed are on display. The entrance is free, but donation of any amount is welcome.

James on the trike
the old Municipal Building
#149, the Paciano Rizal House
James doing the talk

Gen. Paciano was re-interred here in front of the house from the Manila North Cemetery
the house of Gen. Paciano
his personal belongings

his bust
The rain started to pour before we left the old house. Not good for our Mt. Makiling trip.

Agua Santa Spanish Bath Ruin

Our next stop was this old Spanish bath now in ruins. Not too far from the Paciano Rizal House, you can actually walk your way to it, but since it was raining we opted to take a ride. By tricycle (P8.00), we reached the ruins at around 9:00 am.

a tub excavated from the ruins

Only a portion of the original structure is still standing. Aside from the old municipal building, this structure is the oldest in Los Baños. Some say that this was not just a simple bath house of natural spring but also a Franciscan infirmary.

the ruins of the old Spanish bath
The history 101 from Mr. Fernando Catalan, the care taker of the place, was very informative. 

Mr. Fernando's history 101

Mt. Makiling Flat Rocks

This was supposedly the next in our itinerary, but venturing this place while there's a storm signal #1 all over Laguna was never our option. So we removed this from our list.


We first had an ice cream bonding in an ice cream house. For P20.00, I enjoyed the coconut milk ice cream. It was already 11:30 am, and we're quite hungry already. So we headed next to International Rice Research Intitute (IRRI) canteen.

Coconut ice cream made from coconut milk

the International Rice Research Institute
the koi pond in front of the canteen
We had a UPLB talk at the canteen while eating. Both from UPLB, Eileen, an alumni and Lloyd, still a student, they shared a lot of stories, urban legends, traditions, gossip and everything you want to know about UPLB.

meal for P55
experimental rice field

Outside, the rain was still pouring. We waited for I think 30 minutes before we finally went to Philippine Carabao Center. We tried their yummy Milk-o-Jel (P15.00).

rainy UPLB
their dairy products

Milk-o-jel for P15

We passed by the Baker Hall, the fertility tree, and Dao (a heritage tree in UPLB).

the fertility tree, they say that as the leaves touches the ground, couples may do their thing behind the leafy branches
the Baker Hall was once used as a prison by the Japanese during the WW2
the Dao tree that inspired Leandro Locsin.

Buko Pie

Laguna, "the land of Buko Pie". Before the Elbi day tour ends, we bought a box of Lety's Buko Pie, the best buko pie according to the locals. That's P150.00 per box.

By 3:00 PM, Chinchan, Brenna and I were on our way back to Manila.


 Bus to LB                      99.00                    
 Jollibee Meal                 85.00 (optional)
 Tricycle to Lake             10.00
 Boat fee                          50.00
 Trike to Paciano house    9.00
 Donation for the house  20.00
 Tricycle to Agua               8.00 (optional)
 Jeep to UPLB                   8.00
 Ice cream                        20.00 (optional)
 Jeep to IRRI                    8.00
 Lunch                              55.00
 Jeep to Carabao Milk      8.00
 Mill-o-Jel                        15.00
 Lety's Buko Pie            150.00 (optional)
 Bus to Manila                 89.50                   
          Total Cost =  P634.50 

                             =  P371.50 (optional expenses not included)



  1. The Spanish bath ruin looks beautiful! Awesome trip you guys :)

  2. First agenda was to look for any unflattering pics of me. Hahaha.. nice post. ;)

    bad trip lang talaga yung ulan.. i mean the storm signal #1.

  3. i like the way you recount our trip...
    thanks for joining the test tour chinchan.
    and thanks for linking the mindanao challenge

  4. waaah.

    @ms Gay, gusto ko makita yung original structure nya.. nung buo pa sya..

    @ms Eileen.. kya nga e.. full package sana yung trip natin with james.

    @james... hehe hndi ako si chinchan..:)

  5. Detalyado talaga ang narration, kamusta naman ang tour organizer, mabait ba? ;)

  6. haha. ikaw na ang mabilis! great post ivan! i hate to be the spelling nazi. hehe. "bust" sa expenses mo. :p 89 lang ba binayaran mo pabalik cubao? bat ako 101?

  7. haha, thanks brenna.

    ha? ewan ko kung bakit naging 89 yung bayad ko. wahaha.. yun yung binigay ng konductor.. gulat nga din ako e..

  8. Reading this post makes me miss UPLB so much again. Elbi is and will always be memorable because I spent more than five years of my life there, my wonderful college years :) Thanks for writing about elbi. In fact, it is only now that I discovered that there is a Malacoco Hotspring there :) Whenever you venture in Naga City where I am now based, I'd be happy to be your guide. More safe trips!

  9. Hey, thanks for featuring our small town. :-)

  10. Hey, thanks for featuring our small town.

  11. musta naman di ko pa nablog to hahaha nakalimutan ko na

  12. Wow! napakamura naman ng total expenses niyo, Thanks for sharing your experience, I just want you to check this also Where to go in Laguna



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