Steven describes the experience like being in Pandora--the magical forest-world of Avatar. In many ways, Mt. Makiling is.
We stayed in a hostel close to the entrance of the Mt. Makiling forest reserve. At night, we were serenaded by mating frogs and crickets. In the morning, lofty trees covered in vines salute us and their leaves bathed our bare heads.
And we went deep into the forest. I was literally crying because it was painful to walk more than 10 kilometers at an incline. It was all worth it. We had no guide so whatever we saw was a surprise for us. The path to the flat rocks was dense with huge roots, mud and barks of trees. And these trees block out the sun so it was like dusk the entire day.
The greatest surprise was the bubbling mudspring. It was very tempting to dive in but the sign said that the temperature was around 80 degrees Celsius. It was still amazing just staring at the thick mist that nourishes every nook and cranny of that area.
We also went to botanical garden and found the plants very powerful. Every man-made structure was slowly being broken down by vegetation. It was green all over as if the sky rained with green fungus and moss.