The City Where Science Embraces Nature
But for all the prominence brought on by Makiling and its abundant hot springs, as well as by the UPLB campus, Los Baños is also a lakeshore town snug in the south-eastern side of the country’s largest inland lake. Laguna Lake (also known as Laguna de Bay), all 0f 89,076 hectares, is the edge of six of Los Baños’ barangays where fishing remains the main occupation and where the waterfronts still draw afternoon strollers and evening promenades. The view of the lakeside mountain town must have been breathtaking especially in the olden days, as when American tourist Walter Robb passed by the town and wrote in his travelogue published in the May 1922 issue of the Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce:
Few places have more literal names than Los Baños (‘the baths’) where Makiling’s pyroclastic deposits had generated scores of hot springs. The town is traversed by two major geologic faults the East Bay Faulth running from the western portion of the town to its northeastern tip crossing over Lalakay, Bambang, Timugan, Baybayin and Bayog. The other one, the Talim Fault, runs from Talim Island across the Bay. Small northeasterly fault are also located but not beyond the foothills of Makiling where the hot springs are theoretically attributed. The foothills of Mt. Makiling are composed largely of fractured volcano rubbles. The sediments underlying both the shoreline plain and the sloping land to the east are likewise derived from volcanic rocks.
The town’s old name, Mainit (literally “hot”) likewise alluded to the thermal springs which arguably have been the town’s most popular attractions since 1590 when the Franciscans learned about their healing powers, heretofore known only to the few settlers on the mountain slopes.
Inner Circle (Red) – As a symbol for courage and bravery, this signifies that this beautiful town is also a cradle of heroes. One of them is Gen. Paciano Rizal, a great general of the revolution, a patriotic man and the older brother of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
Fourteen (14) Blocks/Sun Rays (Yellow) – Represents the fourteen (14) political subdivisions (barangays) of the municipality. It also depicts a rising sun which reflects the peoples hope, dreams and visions for progress.
The presence of American military personnel in Los Baños perked up commerce in the area and on the whole infused more life and activity into the once backwood town. Hotels and resorts sprouted around the poblacion attracting more tourists which in turn spawned more businesses such as restaurants, dancing halls and even a bottling plants. Reminisced an alumnus of the UPCA Jose Zamora:
“Los Baños was more lively then that it is today. Business was more brisk as a lot of out-of-towners came attracted by the town’s thermal waters. Camp Eldridge over the hill and the military hospitals by the seashore, McVean’s hot springs in the town and a good military wharf. Although there were no modern houses, bathing resorts and good restaurants as there were now, yet there was more business activity and attractions. There were even cabarets on the outskirts of the town.”