Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Play Up the Mountains: A Bagong Silang, Los Baños Experience

[Trailer Pransis Note: This is a two-part entry which I did when I was taking my last PE class (I think I was one of the oldest in class) and our visit to the place was part of our final requirements for the said subject. The photos you see here belong to my classmates, as it seemed that cameras rained that day. Finally, the text is actually lifted from the paper I submitted to our instructor as a form of reflection paper.]

A repost from Viole(n)t Mugs
March 2009

Into the Heights

It wasn’t so much of a work; in fact the whole activity was as a package of play and fun. Although it was really a required final activity for our PE 2 class, there wasn’t any atmosphere of pressure at all. Up we went to the place to spend time with the kids of Barangay Bagong Silang, Los Baños, Laguna.

* view of the mountain we were trekking

Bagong Silang

How our professor was able to track this seeming obscure place, I don’t have the least idea. The place can be reached by jeep bound for Bitin, in the town of Bay (Ba’i), Laguna. Upon reaching the premises of the MakBan Geothermal Power Plant, just past the checkpoint, a bare ground strewn with giant old pipes would greet the visitor. The walk was the next step to take.

I don’t know how long it would take to reach the place. What I know is it would take you 15 to 20 minutes of walk if you’re going down. And so perhaps it would be a bit longer on the way up as the paths are really steep.

It is an out-of-place village of sort, hidden amongst the lush greenery that is characteristic of Los Baños (one cannot help but wonder how it came to be included in the municipality of Los Baños given its distance). The people in general have amiable disposition. Personally, I didn’t have any problems as it was my second time to be there, the first being on an official ocular inspection of the place. (The ocular was a treat as well, as we enjoyed a hitched ride with a very kind man.)

* a pose with my group

The Play

I only had a general idea of the nature of the game that was shared with the kids as we were assigned to different committees. Our group, the infamous Group 2 composed of Jhoenah, Kat, Paolo, Roy, Thea, and myself, was transformed in a program committee which actually has one of the biggest (if not toughest) jobs in the activity (since we are the one responsible for creating the final report of the activities we did in class and in this final activity).

Thankfully enough, we only did some light work during the main activity and we (the group) spent much of the time talking among each other – bonding together so to speak.

The play lasted under an hour which was both beneficial to us and the kids as the place was already getting really hot. The activity was supplemented by story-telling by some of our classmates and also food trip for all of us. And I would like to believe that the eating time became the highlight of the activity – mongo, grilled fish, salty dips – it was all stomach-fulfilling.

* our PE 2 class who participated in the activity


There are two things that have made lasting memories of the activity. And these are my 1) typo-error in the certificates and 2) the tilas mishap.

I would not deny that I really like the certificate I made for the activity. It surely was good to look at since I actually included a design from the phoenix images I love very much. Nevertheless, there was one annoying flaw that a group mate observed. I have put in the wrong year! But at least it did not diminish their pleasantness.

The tilas episode was totally unexpected. We were resting outside the barangay hall uphill when I started getting itchy on some parts of my body, particularly my arms, lower left chest, and neck. It proved that na-tilas ako! I am just thankful that it was not any allergy of some sort.

In Conclusion

I would not want to eclipse the impact of the activity that we principally held there but there was more to that play and bonding with the children that I experienced.

Despite having short-term difficulties in the travel itself, the visit to the place really reconnected me with nature. Being a hardcore boy scout my since elementary days up to high school, I found it really exciting to tread bare paths again and to be surrounded by green and silence except for the sounds and songs of the animals. Nature has always made me feel at ease, in the literal sense.

Also, the activity made me realize that happiness and contentment, in a way, is relative. Despite hearing the same comments of wonder from my classmates, no one can really answer their questions except the residents themselves. How come they end up in there? Don’t they find it a little hard living in a place like that? As for me, the smiles on the face of the children, even of the adults, is answer enough for me. They are essentially satiated with the life in the heights.

Let me end this short narrative of the activity with a joke that was entertained during the boarding of the jeep that took us back to UPLB. They said that what we just did was already a combination of different PE 2 classes – walking for fitness, Philippine games, basketball, outdoor recreation, among other. True enough!

You can take a look at the souvenirs from our activity at: and


  1. Hi Pransisem! PTB ka rin pala at fellow Isko. Thank God for your post. I was really researching about Brgy. Bagong Silang. My friends and I plan to visit the place and hold an outreach activity for the kids. Based on your visit, may I know, what are the things that the kids really need? Basic necessities? Do they need school supplies? Slippers? So that we will know what to bring with us.

  2. Hi Tri@dora! Thanks for dropping by this particular blog post of mine. I think the first thing that you have to do is to coordinate with the Barangay Chairman of the place and discuss with him/her your plans for an outreach activity. If you are coming from Manila, an ocular visit may be too costly on your part but a visit to the place is the only way to contact the people there.

    As to the needs of the kids, I cannot fully answer that. But tough slippers would be a very good thing to give them as they have to hike up steep slopes just to get to their place. But school supplies would be a great help to the kids too. And oh, the kids there love to play. I suggest you give them some toys (balls, Chinese garter, etc.) too. I hope you'll have a successful visit to the place.

    (As a final note, when we did our visit about two years ago, they still did not have electricity lines. So I discourage bringing gadgets that would be needing some charging.)

    Good luck Trip@dora and to your friends!

  3. hi, do you have a reference of Brgy. Bagong silang history? tnx

  4. The residents there have their own oral history, Kathleen. And so the best way to learn it is to visit their place.

  5. Hello Pransism, I'm Knar Christian Palma, a pupil of South Hill School Inc. I have an assignment which is to know the history of Barangay Bagong Silang here in Los Banos. I have been researching about the place through the internet but so far I haven't gathered enough information especially the history of the said barangay. If it is okay for you sir that you provide me some information about the place especially the history. Hoping for you kind response.

  6. Hi Knar Christian!

    Thank you for visiting this blog post. Sure, I can help you but as I have said to earlier visitors to this post, they have this oral history. I can share a portion of that to you since you may not be able to visit the place immediately. Just send a message to franciswritesnow [at] yahoo [dot] com so that I can get your e-mail address. Salamat!