When my girlfriend told me that we’re going to Masungi, I was so excited; I smelled adventure! But along with that, I felt chill down my spines due to my fear of heights. Not that afraid really, but I won’t try Extreme ride in Enchanted Kingdom again. Nevertheless, I am determined to face my fears. So, here’s a short travel blog on our Masungi Georeserve adventure.
Sitting at the southern Sierra Madre range in Baras, Rizal, Masungi Georeserve is a conservation project and a protected sanctuary by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The area features rustic rock garden formations made of rugged limestone karst peaks, steep slopes, and surrounding green rainforests. Tucked in the rainforests of Rizal, Masungi’s name is derived from the word “masungki” which translates to “spiked” a noteworthy name upon seeing the spiky-white limestone.
Masungi Georeserve has won battles against myriad of illegal loggers, quarries, and others, for fifteen years now. With that, the place opened its doors to the public late 2015. In this sanctuary, visitors can refresh themselves from the stresses of city life and bond with mother nature. Walk through the pathways, climb, descend, burn lots of fats and enjoy the sight of fauna and floras.
Briefing and Trek Preparation
In this area, the park guests are received and briefed before the hike. You can asks questions and be informed on the do’s and don’ts. Some reminders are:
- Leave no trace, no littering of any kind.
- No smoking.
- No noise allowed. They told us that you’ll have three warnings and if the group cannot refrain from being noisy, the trek shall be cancelled.
- No tipping. This was clearly said and the staffs follow this diligently.
- Food is not allowed once you start walking on the trail.
An interesting fact mentioned is that the oldest stone in the area is around 60 billion years old.
Aside from the refreshing cold towel they provide upon arrival at silungan, you can eat sumptuous and healthy snacks before the climb. Served to us were bananas, lettuce salad and whole wheat bread.
The discovery trail is a pathway that will lead the guests for this one-of-a-kind hike. The trek usually lasts for about three to four hours depending on the visitor’s capacity, stamina and preference. Each group will be limited from 7 to 13 members and one park ranger will serve as a guide.
These park rangers are locals with varying age groups. They are equipped with radios and first aid kits.
I guess visitors do not follow the same route every time. In our case, our first interaction was with Bayawak rope trail. In other posts that I’ve read, this was supposed to be the last part wherein visitors will climb down.
I was so shocked with this being the first course. It’s so high and stiff, almost at 45 degree angle. I let my friends climb first so they will not be delayed due to my climbing speed. My legs are trembling while we were climbing. We just watched and imitated how the first ones climbed, and thankfully we made it as well. By the way, it was named after the largest lizard roaming around, so say hi for me if you met one.
After some up and down trekking with the limestones we needed to cross a hanging bride around 20 to 30 meters in length. It’s fun and shaky.
Named nanay, meaning “mother,” is the second tallest rock formation around. It features five limestone rock peaks interconnected by bridges. It has seats and hammocks available.
If there’s a mother, there’s a father as well. Tatay is the tallest rock formation in the area which is composed of several rocks seemingly piled on top of one another. You can see the hanging bride on the left and Nanay at the right, blended with the beautiful scenery of spiky mountains as background.
Yungib ni Ruben
After descending from Tatay, we entered a dark cave formation lighted with candle lights named after a park ranger who discovered it. Yungib ni Ruben is a picturesque cave where you can have a short break and enjoy the cold ambiance inside.
The Hammock is one of the most famous rope trails of Masungi. It’s one of the biggest hammocks yet situated above a lush forest and sharp rocks. Thankfully there are ropes above you can hold on to but sometimes I feel safer on crawling. Haha! It’s also hard to take pictures as your camera or phone might fall and recovery is impossible.
Located in-between two hanging bridges is an air house. It’s like a pigeon’s house with jalousie windows around. It’s windy inside, maybe that’s why it’s called an air house. lol.
Our favorite and the most chilling of them all (for me) is Sapot. After waiting for our turn (because the previous group took a long time at the area), we entered the biggest man-made web I’ve seen in my life. It looked so cool as it was on social media pictures. The view was breathtaking but I wasn’t able to concentrate as there were no ropes to hold on with my balance being bad. Basically, I just crawled around and lied down for some famous group pose you’ll see on the web. I wish I had a drone that time as the view from above was amazing.
How to Book and Request for Visit?
- Booking is done solely through their website. Walk-ins are strictly not allowed.
- Current fees as of January 2018 is Php 1,500.00 per guest for the weekdays, and Php 1,800.00 per guest for the weekends. Each group is limited from 7 to 13 pax, 13 years old and above of age. In our case, we’re just 6 but we paid for 7 persons.
- It’s highly recommended to arrange your visit at least a week in advance. This is due to the approval process. You can secure a date upon paying 50% downpayment if at least 10 days from the date of visit, otherwise, you have to pay in full. All balances must be settled 4 banking days before the date of visit.
- There are quite a few slots available per day specially on weekends, so be sure to check for the availability weeks before. There are three groups of tour schedule namely day trail, day to night trail and night trail. Day trail which starts at 5:30 AM ’til 2:00 PM is the one usually sold out. If you’re willing to hike until dusk, there’s more slots open for you.
Some Tips and Things to Bring:
- Sunblock, cap, shades and other forms of extreme heat & sun exposure protection if you’ll be taking the day trail.
- Water bottles. There are water refill station at the start and endpoints of the trail. Don’t expect it to be ice-cold as they are stored in a traditional water pots that are made of clay or some kind of stone.
- Wear comfortable and appropriate clothes and shoes. No slippers. Doing so will make your climb easier and safer.
- Gloves will help, although not required.
- There’s around 20-minute walk from parking to the Silungan. They provided us with umbrellas as it was very hot that time.
- Mind your action cameras, cellphones and drones, ’cause when they fall, it might be the last time.
- If you can’t cross on the rope courses, you can ask for alternative trails. Yes, they exist! But conquering those rope courses was indeed a breathe of fresh air.
- The trails are generally safe, but I’ve seen some hazards along the way. An example is at the Web wherein there are no ropes to hold on to and the entry/exit points are narrow. So my advice is to look for each other and ask for help if you think it’s needed.
- There are restrooms located at the entrance and exit of the trails only.
- Reserve in advance so you can get the date that suit you. Don’t worry as there are a couple of slots available if you’re planning to go at least 2 weeks ahead. If you’re less than 7 persons (for example only two), better email them and ask if there are slots available for sharing. Or you can search at fb groups and be a joiner.
How to Go?
If you’re renting a private car just like what we did, we just used navigation apps such as Waze and Google Maps. But we also had trouble finding the place and that’s where the social way of searching for our destination kicked in. Thanks to the residents around.
The roads are a combination of asphalt, concrete, rough and bumpy road so prepare yourself and rest well prior. It would be hard if you’ll be trekking wasted before it even starts.
For public transportation, ride an FX from Farmers Cubao going to Cogeo Gate 2 then jeepney to Sampaloc, Tanay. But it’s advisable to rent a van and just share the expenses so you won’t have the risk of being late. Remember that there are only selected time slot for each batch.
According to their website and Facebook page, they have selected travel partners / agencies that you can ask for help. Here they are:
- Z Hostel (09178898531)
- Pirkko and Troy Travel and Tours (632 678-5206 / +639258571665)
- Kilometer Zero PH (+639178578180)
- Intas Destinations (For Inbound Travelers)
- TripKada (www.tripkada.com.ph)
I cannot give you an itinerary as we budgeted the whole day for this activity. Starting at 7am we departed from Batangas and arrived at lunch. Then we waited for our turn and finished late 5pm. After that we ate at Rambulls Bakahan sa Tanay and then went straight home to have much needed rest.
Address: Kilometer 47, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal, Philippines 1970
Website / Reservations: http://www.masungigeoreserve.com/trailvisitrequest/
Facebook page: https://web.facebook.com/masungigeoreserve/