Masungi Georeserve: A Quick Guide and Tips for Visitors
One of the best places for hiking near Metro Manila
Masungi Georeserve Guide and Tips
Most people can often times be sucked into the hustle and bustle of the city life. Everything can get overwhelmingly fast, and the toxic nature of this fast-paced lifestyle can deeply affect us without us knowing or even realizing it. One solution, one which a lot of people do, is escape from the city and head back to nature: be it the beach or mountains, getting some fresh air and away from crowds and cars is a great way to reenergize your psyche.
One of the more recent places to escape to, and steadily growing in popularity, is the Masungi Georeseve in Rizal. The area gets its name from the Japanese word “masungki” that loosely translates to “spiked,” which aptly describes the area. Masungi Georeserve is a conservation and sanctuary with stunning limestone rock formations within the rainforests of the area. Here, you can commune with nature and appreciate the natural beauty of what the Masungi Georeseve has to offer. It is perfect for beginners and experienced hikers alike, and the trail is filled with surprises and wonders unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
Rates and how to reserve slots
Masungi Georeserve requires potential visitors to reserve their slots in advance, specifically at least three to four days before the actual date of visit. Making reservations is simple: just visit their website and proceed with filling out the information needed in the request form. Choose your intended date and then the available time slot on the said date. The trail can last anywhere from three to four hours.
There is a minimum number of people required, which is at least seven (7) persons. It is still possible to reserve a slot even with less than seven persons as long as the total price is fully paid. The rate is PHP 1,500.00 per guest on weekdays and PHP 1,800.00 per guest on weekends. Slots can accommodate up to 14 persons and can be negotiated if there is a need for more people. There are also complimentary light snacks inclusive of the package as well as a local park ranger guide. Take note also that guests have to be 13 years old and above to participate in the trail.
Payments can be made via bank deposit with Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), via Paypal (additional charges apply), or credit card. For bank deposit details, you can see their terms and conditions at the bottom of the request form.
How to get there
One of the best ways to get to Masungi is via private vehicle as they have parking spots available. It is located at Garden Cottages, Kilometer 47 Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal. Since it is located along the very scenic side of Marcos Highway, driving there is ideal as you can slowly begin to appreciate the natural wonder and splendor you are about to witness.
You can also commute there via jeep. Here is the route that the staff at Masungi Georeserve recommends:
From Araneta Center Cubao, you can ride a van or jeep going to Padilla/Cogeo Gate 2. Get off at Gate 2 and from there, take a jeep bound to Sampaloc via Marcos Highway in Tanay. You will pass through Boso-Boso Resort and Palo Alto. Ask the driver to drop you off at Kilometer 47 Masungi entrance; the entrance to Masungi will be on your right.
Insider tips: Jeeps and vehicles in general are difficult to find once you get to KM47 Masungi Entrance. You can spend up to an hour waiting for a jeepney. They are also often filled to the roof when they pass by.
What to bring and what to wear
They always say dress for the occasion at hand so for a three to four hour hike, it’s best to wear comfortable clothing: lightweight casual clothing would be best, as well as wearing closed comfortable footwear. You are not allowed to bring any food on the trail since there will be light snacks towards the end. It’s recommended, however, to bring your own jug of water (something close to one liter) to keep you hydrated. If you run out during the hike, there are places where you can refill them.
You can also bring your own face towel and a change of clothes, but take note that the bathrooms around have no showers available. You may also want to include a sunblock since you will be under the sun for hours. And of course, don’t forget your cameras and camera phones as there are lots of picture perfect moments along the trail.
What to expect
First things first, you can expect a lot of walking, so it is best to condition yourself a week before especially if you are not used to intense physical activities. The discovery trail will let you traverse through the conservation area and get up close with the karst terrain.
The trail begins at the Silungan receiving area where you will be briefed about the hike. When the trail begins, the first stop is Sapot, a picturesque spider web-style viewing platform where you can get a stunning view of Laguna de Bay and of the surrounding environment. Another stop is the Yungib ni Ruben, which is a spectacular cave formation—one of many that is part of the karst landscape. You can spend some time there to cool off from the heat of the sun and just explore the ins and outs of the cave. There are also several suspension bridges that you will be crossing. But rest assured that everything along the trail is very safe.
The next part are the two peaks, Tatay and Nanay. Tatay is the first of the two and is the taller natural formation of rocks that are seemingly just piled on top of each other. Meanwhile, Nanay is composed of five (5) interconnected rock peaks. There will be succeeding peaks called Ditse, Patak, and Duyan, which has a cactus garden and air house viewing deck. Finally, the last place stop before ascending back is the Liwasan, which is a valley-like area with a reflection pond. There, you can rest and relax and just commune amongst the beautiful surroundings to revitalize your energy.
Note that the weather at the Masungi Georeserve is generally humid and tropical. It can go as high as 31 degrees or as low as 24 degrees. Dry season runs from November to April while wet season is from May to October. January is often the coolest month while May is the hottest.
If your trip is around lunch time, it is recommended that you eat before starting the trail as you will not be allowed to bring food and eat during the hike. The trail can go from three to four hours and can last shorter or longer depending on the pace you choose to go with.
Where to eat and stay
If you are thinking about pigging out after the hike, it can be difficult to find places to eat given the location of Masungi. The best option is to dine at their in-house eatery, Silayan. They serve exquisite dishes that are inspired by the landscapes, while all ingredients are from the local producers around Masungi Georeserve. You are assured of enjoying dishes made with the freshest ingredients and you also get a stunning panoramic view of Mount Tagapo, the city, and Laguna de Bay.
Please note as well that it is best to reserve at Silayan when you are booking your slot at Masungi. There is an option in the reservation form for dining at Silayan. Walk-ins are now allowed.
Their set menu consists of salad, appetizer, soup, two entrees, rice, dessert, and coffee or tea, for only PHP 600.00. More details about the restaurant can be found here.
If you want a place to stay after hiking, you can book accommodations in some of the hotels are resorts in the province of Rizal.
Here are some of the great resorts in the Rizal area:
Loreland Farm Resort Antipolo
Bakasyunan Resort and Conference Center Tanay
Callospa And Resort Antipolo
Thunderbird Resorts Rizal
Cafe Lupe Hostel Antipolo
More hotels and resorts in the Rizal area are available here
Masungi Georeseve is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and trails are available from 5:30 AM to 1:30 PM, which is the last slot of the day. For more information you can visit their website or contact them at http://www.masungigeoreserve.com/contact-us/