I first went to Makiling Botanic Gardens as a 12 year-old Grade 6 student attending the National Schools Press Conference in 2004. Now I’m back as a 21-year old not-so-fresh college grad still out of work. haha. When I realized that the two visits were almost a decade apart, I was shocked at how time flies by fast (what a cliche, right?) because the memory of the denim-jacket wearing Rani walking through the same place seemed fresher than 9 years.
Entrance fee was 20 pesos and the garden is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We arrived at 3:30 PM but the caretaker was kind enough to let us stay up to 4:30 PM. It’s nice to walk inside the garden without time constraints. I remember, we were strictly following a schedule during my NSPC days and we were only given 20 minutes or so to appreciate the beauty of the place which kinda sucks. That’s why I am a strong advocate of DIY trips with no fixed itineraries, you can stay as long (or as short) as you want without a tour coordinator nagging behind you. The place looked exactly like how I remembered it.
The dried leaves make up for an awesome background I lay then and there and told Emman to take pictures. It would be too narcissistic of me to post them all so I am putting a picture of him instead. :]
By this time, I was feeling the ache in my legs. The night before, I ran 5 KM without stretching whatsoever in Outbreak BGC 2 and then I walked around UPLB and hiked a part of the Makiling Trail. For a body that is used to just sitting or lying around, that’s a sudden jerk of activity. My legs were shaking and every step elicit a sweet and painful sensation.
When we arrived at Marie’s apartment, we removed our shoes and went straight to bed without even bothering to change our dirty clothes. I dozed off after some time and when I woke up, it was already dark. Nothing like sleeping when you’re dead tired!