Mount Makiling Forest Reserve and Botanical Garden

Mount Makiling in Laguna  the Philippines was conceived as early as 1910. During that year, the Act 1989 of the Philippine Commission proclaimed Mt. Makiling, a forest reserve.

The idea to develop a national botanic garden within the 4,200 hectares of secondary forest.from that time up to the post war era of the 1950’s , the Bureau of Forestry ( now called Forest Management Bureau) FMB established plantations of both endemic and exotic trees of economic as well as aesthetic value in the lower and mid-level elevations of Mount Makiling.

Some foreign trees such as Mahogany from South America in early 1914.

Mr. Cereno acted as tour guide to the visiting group

In addition, palms and medicinal trees and ornamental plants were also introduced and planted in scattered areas in and around the main campus of the then College of Forestry.

spathiphyllum hybrid

From 1950 to 1960, Mt. Makiling was  placed under the administration of the Parks and Wildlife Commission. In 1960, Presidential Proclamation 629 turned over the administration of the “Park” to the University of the Philippines (UP) specifically for use of the College of Forestry. In 1961, the U.P. gained ownership of the area and renamed the forest reserve as the Makiling Botanic Gardens (MBG). The MBG is a unit of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, located in University of the Philippines, Los Baños-College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UPLB-CFNR). It was established in 1963 by virtue of Republic Act 3523. The MBG is being developed to support professional instruction and research related to forestry and plant sciences, and to serve the needs of tourism as well as educational and recreational needs of the general public. Improvement and development of the gardens started as early as September, 1965.
specimen sized –Medinilla magnifica in bloom
The MBG showcases living collections of indigenous plants of Mt. Makiling such as Medinillas or Kapa-kapa  huge specimen sized flowering Medinilla magnifica delighted every visitor to the center.

The genus Medinilla had about 150 known species of flowering plant in the family of Melastomataceae , indigenous to tropical regions which spread from Africa,Madagascar , Southern Asia , to the western Pacific, The Philippines had about 90 species . The genus was named after governor J. de Medinilla of Marianas islands in 1820.

Medinilla species ( erect flowers)

The center had a collection of Mussaendas hybrids which were bred by professors and researchers of UPLB. Some of the Mussaendas were named after Philippine first ladies .

The Botanic garden also serves as a sanctuary for endangered and rare plant species in the country. It features a dipterocarp forest and nature trails, as well as the Molawin and Marulas creeks. Visitors to MBG also get an added treat of viewing Philippine birds of prey at the Center for Philippine Raptors (CPR).

tree frog sitting on a floating quiapo

the endemic COMMON FOREST FROG (Platymantis dorsalis) in Alcala and Brown’s illustrated field guide to Philippine Amphibians is common in the place , however this amphibian is a favorite list of menus of local snakes , birds of prey and including stray cats .

One of the continuing projects of the center is to introduce native orchids and epiphtytic  plants like ferns in the sanctuary . local garden clubs like Los Baños Orchid and Garden Society , Philippine Orchid Society had donated some orchids to the center. Most of the donated orchids were naturalized on big trees.

The botanic garden had several century-old trees like Mulawin, Narra, Dao, Betis, Mabalacat , Kamagong.

These are highly sought after lumber, A lot of Philippine towns and cities were named after these trees and plants. A mayor of the town of Betis in Pamapanga even asked some seeds from the center since there were very few trees in his native Betis in Pampanga.

Location

College of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of the Philippines Los Baños
Laguna 4031  Philippines

Visiting hours

MBG opens from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. everyday except on New Year’s Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, All Saints Day and Christmas Day

For further information, please contact

Roberto P. Cereno
Head
Botanic Gardens, Parks & Ecotourism Division
Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
University of the Philippines Los Baños

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