Latest Stories

Makiling trail closed in wake of UPLB deaths


LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA—The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has announced the closure of the Mt. Makiling hiking trail located inside the university campus in the wake of last week’s deaths of two students.

UPLB Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs Dr. Enrique Tolentino, on Saturday, said they decided to close the 8.7-kilometer Makiling trail as the university reviews its security policies and guidelines concerning the safety of hikers and visitors.

University officials were likewise concerned that students Mark Lorenz Valdez and Kevin Lagadon, both 18 years old, went hiking in an area where they shouldn’t be.

The portion of the 4,200-hectare Mt. Makiling forest reserve, where the two students were found dead last Thursday, was a restricted area, said Tolentino.

In fact, he added, it was part of the Wilderness Zone or the critical and accident-prone areas closed to trekkers and campers, especially at night.

The decomposed bodies of Valdez, a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition student from Muntinlupa City, and Lagadon, a BS Computer Science student from Caloocan City, were found on Dec. 6 in a shallow portion of a stream in Flatrocks. The autopsy conducted by the police showed that the two had died of asphyxiation by drowning.

Flatrocks, so called because of its huge flat boulder formation, is a favorite hiking site in Mt. Makiling. It is only a kilometer away or a five-minute trek from the trail’s registration area.

“But where exactly they were believed to have bathed was actually a restricted area. There were signages to keep off the visitors but we found out that the signages were already gone, either stolen or removed,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino said the deepest portions of the water, which is connected to the 7-km Molawin Creek, were eight- to 11-foot deep.

“It is not like a swimming pool where there are railings you can hold on to. It’s possible that they didn’t expect the water to be that deep or they had cramps. There were a lot of possibilities but there were no eyewitnesses so we really don’t know what transpired,” he said.

Based on the records of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems (MCME), Valdez and Lagadon logged in at the trail’s monitoring station at 9:05 a.m. on Dec. 2 before they headed to Flatrocks. It took four days before their bodies were found by a group of residents who were planning to swim in the downstream portion of the creek.

The MCME, under the UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources, is in charge of the entire forest reserve.

Tolentino said there were not enough forest guards “to virtually guard every nook and corner” of the forest reserve. He said aside from the entry point from the UPLB campus, there are other entry points to Mt. Makiling such as that in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

The university, meanwhile, issues a statement on its website that “it is closely monitoring security and undertaking steps to ensure peace and order as well as safety of students in the campus.”

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Accidents , Mt. Makiling , News , Regions , University of the Philippines-Los Baños

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  5. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  6. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  7. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  10. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  1. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  2. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano


  • Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  • Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Slain officer’s ‘diagram’ rocks PNP
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • 10 essential summer skin savers
  • Here’s your visual guide to all things cool, hot in summer fashion
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Corporate bonds sweeteners
  • Professionals in the family business
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained
  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • Marketplace