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Mount Makiling’s hidden gem

Rafflesia, the foul-smelling flower called locally as malaboo, can be found deep in the forests of Mount Makiling around this time of the year.

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Photo by Jervis Gonzales

LOS BAÑOS — During summertime, rafflesias are one of the most sought-after attractions in the forests of Mount Makiling. Locally known as malaboo, the parasitic plant thrives along tree roots;  hikers and outdoor enthusiasts can find them around Station 15 and 17 of Mount Makiling’s trail. It is also known as the “corpse flower” because its foul smell has been likened to the stench of rotting flesh. The scent attracts flies that function as the plant’s pollinator. Malaboo flowers generally grow to the size of a small plate, around 4-6 inches in diameter.

Finding the famed malaboo is quite a challenging task  but not impossible. One must first venture through the forests of Mount Makiling starting from Forestry in UPLB. Visitors and tourists are required to pay (Php40 for regular visitors and Php20 for students) and register at the  Mariang Makiling Trail’s entry point. From there, it takes more than two hours to hike toward Agila Base and another 30 minutes to reach Station 15. Malaboo flowers can be found just right along the mountain trail, so visitors and tourists should be wary as they may accidentally step on these famed flowers.

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Malaboo is endemic to the Philippines and can only be found in the forests of Mount Makiling during March and April. (Laguna Now)

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