My Masungi Georeserve Discovery Trail Experience in Baras, Rizal
I welcomed the year 2017 with another refreshing nature trip with my family. After we visited Shercon Resort, we went to Baras, Rizal to explore Masungi Georeserve.
Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area for wildlife and plant species. Its unparalleled beauty has been maintained throughout the years and protected from illegal loggers, quarries, and others. It was just last December 2015 that they’ve decided to accept visits.
Masungi’s name is derived from the word “masungki” which translates to “spiked” – a perfect description to the “sungki-sungking” limestone landscape found within.
Its adventure trail is truly one of a kind, a broad expanse of rustic rock garden tucked in the rainforests of Rizal. The trail has a number of challenges such as climbing up and down man-made stone stairs and rope courses, crossing shaky hanging bridges, and squeezing and squirming into cave entrances/exits and narrow paths.
Booking Your Trail Visit
My Uncle asked me to search for a nice (sorry for the lack of other “smart” term) place to visit, then I remembered the giant cobweb I’ve been seeing a lot on Facebook. When I found their website and talked to my Uncle about it, I submitted a request visit to them. Requesting for a visit doesn’t guarantee a slot.
Here are the requirements for requesting a visit:
- Go to their website http://www.masungigeoreserve.com and fill out the Trail Visit Request Form
- Number of Guests must be 7 (minimum) to 14 (maximum)
- Select your preferred date of visit and time slot (some dates may have already been blacked out/reserved)
- Fill out “Contact Details” boxes (and choose what snack to avail)
- Fill out “Other Guests’ Details boxes with full names, contact numbers, and birthdays (only 13 years old and above are allowed to join in the trail)
- You may opt to dine at Silayan (with a fee) or not
- Conservation fees for the full trail visit are as follows: PHP 1,500.00 per guest for the weekdays, and PHP 1,800.00 per guest for the weekends. You may pay in partial (50%) or full. Mode of payments include PayPal and BPI bank deposit
- Read the Terms and Conditions, Policies (no littering, no smoking, no loud noises, no feeding/touching of animals, no picking up of flowers, rocks, and other specimens, and no personal tipping)
I needed to find a schedule before Feb 3 (my Uncle’s flight/departure) but almost all weekends were already booked. I found two slots for Feb 1, Wednesday, so I gathered all the necessary information to be able to submit our request.
I received a confirmation email the next day. The reminders are all there, including the fees. I had to pay before the due date (not me actually. thanks Uncle B for the libre!) Full payment must be made at least 4 banking days before the date of visit, and deposits are non-refundable. So yes, if you have paid 50% and you didn’t settle the remaining 50% on time, they have the right to cancel your visit.
We waited for two weeks, but it’s all worth it. The morning before Masungi, we went to a mini sidetrip to Tinipak River in Brgy. Daraitan. Unfortunately we didn’t reach the cave because we were running late for our 12PM schedule.
We arrived just in time. The parking was situated outside and we had to trek uphill before reaching the visitors’ area. Hindi pa nagsisimula ang Masungi experience ko pagod na ako! My breathing was labored and my legs were like water when we reached our destination.
Pero sulit ang first challenge. Let the photos explain why. Two photos lang, para ma-surprise kayo when you also get there. And oh, I love their comfort rooms. Secret na lang kung ano itsura. :p
We waited for a park ranger (that’s what they call the stewards of Masungi) in the visitors’ area. The park ranger spent a few good minutes informing us about the history of Masungi and we were also briefed about the park’s policies.
After the brief, we headed to the snack area. We had the Complimentary Light Snack — Chicken sandwich, bananas, and fresh fruit juice. You can only bring nuts, candies, and energy bars when you’re on the trail.
Since we had our snacks first, we took the trail on reverse. Sa huli kasi dapat yung snacks, but we were starving when we arrived at Masungi. At para may energy na rin for the hike.
We had a short prep time in Liwasan, a valley-like area with a reflection pond. There were mini hammocks and swings on the side. Totally a perfect place to relax after the hike.
This last obstacle became our first challenge. It’s called bayawak because obviously, it’s shaped like one. I was excited at first, but I panicked halfway through the rope course. I still made it to the top despite feeling tensed, so yay! Achievement Unlocked!
Ditse, Patak, Duyan
This area contains a cactus garden (but didn’t realize it has one), an air house, and a giant hammock.
The hanging green house is more like a “pahingahan.” It has windows and swings inside so we spent a few minutes there to take photos and admire the beauty around us.
Just when I thought that climbing up the rope course of Bayawak was already tough, imagine my horror when we had to go down on another rope obstacle on top of a cliff. I couldn’t stand up sa sobrang kaba ko. American Ninja Warrior feels, pero yung feeling na dinukot ka lang tapos bigla lang sinali hahaha.
I wished I was just chilling, sitting in one of the best recliners in the world while watching Netflix and eating popcorn. 🙂
But then again, I did it! I managed to make it to the Duyan.. ALIVE!
The Duyan is a hanging hammock. Popularity wise, it’s next to the Sapot. It/We may look cozy but believe me, getting in the middle and positioning ourselves for this photo is a real pain in the butt. Feeling ko lulusot pa yung paa ko habang naglalakad kaya nakakatakot! And when you try to look down [below], you’ll definitely get the chills. Hindi ko na makita yung ilalim.
Yungib ni Ruben
After having mixed emotions in the Duyan, we found a cave worth exploring. I got a bit claustrophobic (closed spaces + darkness = o_o) pero buti na lang there were lanterns glowing inside. Someone named Ruben or Reuben discovered this cave formation. We were able to seek shelter in this area from the gentle rain outside.
Nanay features “five limestone rock peaks interconnected by bridges.” Hindi ko namalayan sa kakalakad nasa taas na pala kami. But I remembered my legs getting stiff because of climbing up long staircases. Buti nga may stone pathways pa, paano kung wala. Hindi talaga ako pwede mamundok. Kung sakali man, I need to boost my endurance and stamina. In fairness my upper body is quite strong kakabuhat ng 4yo kid, mommy bags, at laundry bins. 😀
Masungi’s tallest peak, Tatay, is “a natural sculpture and formation composed of several rocks seemingly piled on top of one another.” I got that “top of the mountain feeling” and it was sheer happiness after I’ve accomplished something as challenging as this. It’s also happiness to cross out one item in my bucket list.
Spine chilling, leg shaking. LOL. It was getting dark when we reached the cobweb and the place looked like a scene out of a horror movie. Lagyan na lang ng monster gagamba sa gitna perfect na!
The giant spider web is a complex weave of interconnected wires. They looked sturdy, so minus 1 kaba point. But there’s only a narrow path which will get you to the center and it felt like having a “walk the plank” moment — plus 1 kaba point. Don’t worry, there’s a cheat path on the side, for those who are too scared to take on the challenge.
And thank you sa ulan, medyo madulas pa. A few of us had to crouch and walk slowly towards the middle. Mahilo ka lang o magawi sa gilid mahuhulog ka (see the larger holes?) It felt like forever when I was treading the narrow path.
It’s already an achievement for me to get to the middle. A couch potato out in the middle of somewhere, trying to get herself killed….. hahaha!
There’s so much more to Masungi than what I’ve written here in my blog. There are so many pictures I want to share with you but where’s the fun in that, kung lahat makikita niyo na diba? 🙂 So make sure you make time for Masungi. It’s worth it.
I’m sharing my personal tips, more on HOW TO SURVIVE when you’re already there 🙂 :
- Bring your printed confirmation email and deposit slips/payment receipts as proofs that you’re scheduled for the slot.
- If you’re wearing eyeglasses, make sure to secure it with a strap to keep it from slipping and falling. I won’t recommend using contact lenses because sweat might reach your eyes and you know what happens next. I had to worry about it the whole time I was in Masungi.
- Wear hiking shoes or any non-slippery rubber shoes. My husband was lucky to have worn his hiking pair. My rubber shoes was fine but I had to take extra precaution because I’m extra clumsy.
- Be prepared for the changing weather conditions. There was a bit of a drizzle when we were there. Pathways were slippery so the trail became more challenging.
- Proper attire is a must. Wear sweat proof clothing or anything that’s comfortable.
- Watch your every step. There are spots wherein you can easily fall to your death if you’re not paying attention. Once you’re there, be there. And mind where and how you take your selfies.
- Secure your gadgets. Use straps and holders to secure your gadgets. I bought a ring stand for my mobile phone so it won’t easily slip out of my hand.
- Don’t interact with the animals that you encounter during the trail. Kung gusto niyo mailagay sa news, go ahead. 🙂
- There are no restrooms along the trail so take small sips of water from your water bottle. But I doubt that you’ll need one ’cause you’ll be sweating profusely.
- Bawal ang jump shots sa Sapot. Yes, jump shots are not allowed. So mag-isip ka na ngayon pa lang kung anong pose ang bet mo. Tingnan mo ko, awkward lahat ng poses hahaha.
- Leave nothing, take nothing. Kahit isang bato, isang bulaklak, isang balat ng kendi. Don’t.
And lastly, two things: SMILE, at KAPIT LANG BES! 🙂
That’s for Masungi and for facing life in general.
There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. –
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage