2019 DIY Travel Guide: The Masungi Georeserve Experience
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“Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature. It will nurture your mind, body and soul.”
Tucked in the dense rainforests of Baras in the province of Rizal is a well-protected sanctuary that makes an ideal setting for communing with nature. Masungi Georeserve, whose name was derived from the word “masungki” meaning “spiked”, is a conservation area and a rustic rock garden painted with scenic views and limestone landscapes. Though the georeserve only opened its doors to visitors last December 2015, it has long been protected and maintained for over 15 years and counting.
From being under the constant threat of illegal logging, mining and quarrying activities in the late 90s up to the committed reforestation and rehabilitation efforts today, Masungi Georeserve has grown to be an exemplar of environmental protection and conservation.
The vast 1,500+ hectares of land serves as an avenue to share the love for nature, sustainable development and geotourism with guests and surrounding communities.
The Masungi Discovery Trail
Masungi Georeserve stands out with its 10-kilometer spine of limestone formations nestled in a variety of flora and fauna. Guests are allowed to go through the conservation area and come up close to the karst terrain via the Discovery Trail – a 3 to 4-hour hike full of rock scrambling, rope climbing, bridge crossing, and sightseeing. The trail may seem easy with all the rock and concrete blocks built to cover the area.
“It’s not a mere walk in the park though as there’s still a lot of challenging ups and downs on the trail.”
Aside from its prime attractions, the Masungi Discovery Trail also offers an informative tour addressing the ecological relevance of Masungi and providing a deeper understanding of the area. You’ll learn about various plant species and wildlife – and a chance to encounter them – along the hike. Knowledgeable park rangers will show and lead the way, sharing facts about the georeserve, its key features, and inhabitants from time to time. Making loud noises – shouting, howling, the likes – isn’t allowed so as not to scare or disturb the wildlife living in the area.
Masungi Georeserve, with its natural flora, compelling highlights, and picturesque landscape, lets guests commune with nature and reenergize themselves while taking in the pleasures of the hike. But that doesn’t mean you won’t sweat. The Discovery Trail will lead visitors to its challenging elements that would test one’s presence of mind, balance, and fear of heights.
Thick steel cable wires were connected and shaped to form a giant web-like structure over a cluster of limestones. Sapot was built to prevent damage to the rocks underneath while offering a 360-degree view of the surrounding area, including the Laguna de Bay on one side and the great Sierra Madre mountain range on the opposite.
The area is enclosed with an existing cactus garden and holds a cavern with a stone-paved monkey on its floor. It is said that monkeys stay in this cave to keep cool when it’s hot.
This ‘air house’ got its name from its shape, which resembles a raindrop. Patak sits on a rope bridge, suspended high above an abundant greenery to give a nice view of the cactus garden below.
This giant hammock made of white braided ropes is an iconic installation in the georeserve, conveniently connecting one side of the mountain to the other. Duyan is a great place to just relax and chill out with friends while enjoying the company of mother nature.
Yungib ni Ruben
An eerie cave formation in a karst landscape, Yungib ni Ruben was discovered by one of Masungi’s workers, hence, the name. The cave lets visitors get up close with its fantastic characteristics or simply take shelter from the sun.
The natural sculpture and formation of Tatay stand the tallest among the other peaks. A heap of big rocks shapes this peak, which boasts a spectacular view of the landscape.
Nanay may be a bit short compared to the tallest peak, but it sure offers an impressive scene complete with big boulders of rocks piled on one side of the peak.
There are several bridges within the georeserve, but this one suspended at the end part of the trail is the longest one. The hanging bridge is made of steel cables structured together to form a stable pathway up in the air.
An area for meditation and relaxation prior to the final ascent back to the visitor sheds, Liwasan also serves as a birdbath for birds to cool down.
Must-Know Before Visiting Masungi
- Before actually going to Masungi, it is important to make a private booking first. All guests are required to reserve a slot at least four (4) days prior to their visit.
- WALK-INS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
- They only allow 7 participants per group, If your group is less than 7, they will allow you to visit the park as long as you are willing to pay for the 7 pax.
Limited to persons 13 years of age and above for security purposes.
Can you Fly Drones in Masungi?
As of this writing, guests are being allowed to fly drones in the vicinity of the nature park.
What to Wear
For the attire, it’s best to wear casual, lightweight and comfortable clothing and a pair of non-slip closed shoes. You’ll be walking under the sun’s heat at certain times so you’d want to feel as comfy and relaxed as possible. Also, the whole trail is composed of sharp rocks and limestone formations that can cause injuries and bruises if not wearing the proper footwear.
Essential Things to Bring:
- Water (included in the tour package)
- Extra Shirt
- Trail Food
Updated Masungi Trail and Conservation Fees (As of January 6, 2018)
Weekdays (Mondays to Fridays): Php 1,500 per person*
Weekends (Saturdays and Sundays): Php 1,800 per person*
*Inclusive of a Park ranger guide dedicated to the group, rental of helmets & backpacks, water refills and complimentary light after-trail snacks.
Masungi Tour Schedule
Tour is available from Tuesday to Sunday. Time schedules is either 7:30am or 1:30 pm, with only a limited number of persons allowed per day.
Getting There and Other Travel Info
By Private Vehicle:
Going to the georeserve is a winding yet scenic car ride along Marcos Highway. It’s advisable to bring your own vehicle, preferably a four-wheel drive for efficiency, due to the lengthy distances through rough, curving and steep roads.
- Take Marcos Highway and avoid the Manila-East Road if coming from Metro Manila.
- Masungi can be accessed from Garden Cottages (address below) at the right side of the road right after Foremost Farms and Palo Alto, coming from Metro Manila.
By Public Transportation
- From Cubao, ride a jeep or FX going to Cogeo Gate 2 / Padilla.
- From Gate 2 (near the public market), ride a jeep going to Sampaloc, Tanay.
- You will pass through Masinag, Cogeo, Boso-Boso Resort, Palo Alto and Garden Cottages.
- Get down at the gate of Garden Cottages and walk down to the Park entrance.
Masungi on Google Map
It is no surprise Masungi Georeserve’s getting the attention of both hikers and nature enthusiasts. Like a secret that’s been told, this outdoor sanctuary is the perfect place to be one with and appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature while learning about geotourism and environmental sustainability at the same time.
Location: Kilometer 45, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal, Philippines (inside the vicinity of Garden Cottages)
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Have you tried visiting this place? Share your Masungi Georeserve Experience by writing your comments below:
Originally posted on March 22, 2016
Updated January 5, 2018