Half a day Adventure
26.05.2017 - 26.05.2017
My friends and I visited the Masungi Georeserve last week and it was a revelation! I never thought that there was such an adventure destination so near the city! We left Cubao at a little past 6:00 a.m. with the watery sun peeking out of a rather dark cloud and we arrived at KM 47, Baras, Rizal at 7:45 a.m. almost an hour earlier than our 8:40 a.m. slot. The day turned from overcast to drizzly as we started our tour but it was refreshing and kept us cooler as we went on the hike. The final half of the tour was done in a down pour. Not bad, really, but it kept us from using our DSLRs. Good thing I brought along my waterproof point and shoot.
Masungi got its name from the limestone krast formations that dot the landscape. These formations looked like crooked or uneven teeth -- sungki (in Tagalog) hence, Masungi! At least that's the story our "Park Ranger", Reynante told us.
We booked our reservations through the Masungi website: http://www.masungigeoreserve.com/. It is cheaper to visit during weekdays (P1,500.00/pax) than during weekends (P1,800.00/pax). The tour lasts 3-4 hours and the activity is a mix of hiking and climbing through the varied terrain of the reserve. The area's forest cover had been destroyed by illegal loggers and charcoal makers. It's fauna haunted almost to zero. Right now, the reserve is trying to restore the place (I don't know if they will succeed, but I hope they will). The plant life is interesting and varied, making for an interesting trip through the whole trail which is composed of eight (8) interesting stops.
1. Sapot - a giant spiderweb made of steel which serves as a deck for viewing the canopy and the limestone karst formations. It was a great start to the tour. The giant spider web kinda pumped you up for the next stage. A lot of photo ops could be generated just from this spot alone! Hahaha
2. Yungib ni Ruben - a small cave discovered by, drumroll please.... Ruben!!! A good place to take refuge during downpour. The cave itself is lit by tea candles and there is a pleasant smell of floral oil to dispel the dank.
3. Ditse - a swaying bridge of black and white that spans across the forest canopy to connect you to Patak. It was kind of motion sickness inducing but before you get dizzy from the height and swaying of the bridge you get to Patak and you can get some relief.
4. Patak - a little tree house shaped like a raindrop. A good place to take a rest and have some down time before forging on to the next destination. They discourage jumping inside the tree house because of the glass windows
5. Duyan - a rope bridge that sways and flexes (with the movements of the people crossing it) just like a giant macrame cradle. It is easy to navigate because they provided rope handholds at convenient intervals.
6. Tatay - tallest spire of blocks of limestone. Good vantage point to see the surrounding area and the rest of the trail. Tatay afforded us a good view of Nanay too. The climb from Patak to Tatay is interesting but not that difficult. The gradient is steeper but quite manageable.
7. Nanay - a lower spire topped with a giant rock that looks about to topple over with a single itty bitty push. There is a bridge connecting the five limestone columns that is a good spot for photo ops with the surrounding mountains as backdrop.
8. Bayawak - or monitor lizard. A giant macrame shaped like a giant monitor lizard climbing up the side of a limestone cliff. It is the final stage of the tour before the guests are welcomed to the rest area were they will be served a heavy snack of healthy sandwich, fruit and freshly prepared juice.
In between the main stops along the trail, there are interesting spots which the Park Ranger points out to the guests and there are flora that are worth checking out. This prolonged our time a bit and we ended up spending more time on the trail than we bargained for. The rain also made our time slower and most of my friends came out of the georeserve cold and wet (my rain jacket worked great and kept me dry the whole time). But having said that, the Masungi Georeserve tour is really worth doing specially if you want an active half-day and you are all beached out! I highly recommend it!