Masungi Georeserve is situated in Baras, Tanay, Rizal, a 2 hour drive from Metro Manila. It is a 300 hectare rehabilitated forest composed of diverse species of flora and fauna. The most talked about attractions of this place are its 60 million years limestones scattered around the area and the man-made hammocks and aerial bridges. The rock formations’ heights varies from 5 meters up to 600 meters high.
Masungi came from the word masungki/sungki that means crooked or masungit, which refers to inclement weather experienced at the place. It is privately managed by a local construction/real estate company. Pior to the visit, one needs to book first from their official website, http://www.masungigeoreserve.com/trailvisitrequest/ and secure initial payment for the confirmation of the visit. The fee, as of writing, is ₱1500/head during weekdays and ₱1800/head on weekends. Note that there should be a minimum of 7 people in your group in order to book, otherwise you have to pay for the remaining slots. The maximum number of persons per group is 14. This may be quite expensive for a day trek but I can assure you that every second of your tour is worth every peso.
Going to the site, one can use waze for the direction or check the official website for the map. The park opens as early as 5:30 am and we were lucky to get the 6:00 AM slot upon booking. The earliest group to start the tour is 6:00 AM. We were the second group to trek at 6:30 AM after some briefing and orientation of park rules and regulations at Silungan (Hut). We took our early breakfast there and was pleased that the place is equipped with clean and unique comfort rooms. There are outlets where jugs can be refilled with fresh and cold spring water. But what really striking for me were beautiful cosmos flowers everywhere.
The trek started in Lagusan ni Ric. Some of the prominent sites were named after park rangers of Masungi who discovered the place. I observed as well that the sites were named in Filipino. Awesome! The trail is also very well established. The steps were reinforced with concrete and most of the pathways have brick steps. We reached the Paroot in no time. Paroot is a “cute” wild rodent as described by our park ranger. Unfortunately we haven’t had a face to face encounter with the creature since the creature is nocturnal. Then before climbing our first obstacle, we were told to clean our shoes. The management is very particular of the cleanliness of the white ropes where we were supposed to climb on to maximize the adventure. Water and brush were provided on-site. Now this is where the fun begins: climbing the rope net like an obstacle race.
We arrived at the Sapot (web) at around 7:30 AM . The iron web was weaved on top of the jagged rocks and it is the first highlight of the whole trek. This spot is one of the most picture perfect, and the site that I enjoyed the most.
From the Sapot, we descended and crossed the valley full of trees. We took a little stop over in Tagpuan (rendezvous), took some photos and proceeded to Kuwago (Owl). We were told that an owl lives on that spot but as with the Paroot, we haven’t seen it. Owls are night birds and were probably sleeping when we arrived. Then we came to the area where there should be Red Faced Macaque but they may be busy hunting for food. Alas, we have not seen any of the animals. At around 8:40 AM, we reached the Patak (Droplet), which is a droplet-shaped hut in the middle of a suspended bridge connected to a big boulder called Ditse (Sister). The hut is made of bamboo and glass. We crossed the bridge and proceeded to climb Ditse, where my eyes feasted on the magnificent landscape of Masungi. As far as the eyes can see are green trees all around, with the sound of the birds and the kiss of the chilly wind on my skin. We climb down through the rope nets. A little caution for those with fear of heights, since climbing down the 300-400 meter rocks through the ropes is a must. There is, however, an alternative route that the park ranger will provide for guests who cannot climb. I would like to say, however, that the entire trek is very safe, helmets are provided, and the ropes, nets and bridges are very sturdy. It is very safe such that a certain number of participants can comfortably fit in and spend time marveling nature’s wonder around.
The Duyan (hammock) is the largest hammock I’ve ever seen. We were given ample time to relax and meditate. I listened to the sound of leaves being blown by the wind, the chirping of the birds, and even hear the sound of my own breath. The place is so calm and relaxing. We were able to embrace and be one with nature, and it’s a perfect communion right in the middle of nature’s wonder. We left Duyan and proceeded to Yungib ni Ruben (Ruben’s cave) at 9:40 AM. The cave was lit by scented candles and lamps, and made an awesome sight to behold even in the darkness of the cave. The cave has this romantic aura from the candle lights on its pathways. We entered one chamber and were told to refrain from touching the stalactites, since the oil in our hands will terminate the growth of the crystals.
Next we climbed up again and reached the tallest rock formation in Masungi, fondly called Tatay (father), which stands 600 meters tall. From the top, we were able to see the entire place as well as the whole trail. The wind is very strong and I could appreciate the beauty of the place from where I stand. Simply seeing its landcapes takes my breath away. The nearby rock is called Nanay (mother) and a bit lower compared to Tatay. For me, Nanay has the best feature of all the rock formations. The boulder seems to be perfectly placed on top of the georeserve, with the five rock formations interconnected by bridges. This will surely top anyone’s list for the perfect prenup photoshoot venue.
The last highlight of the trek is the Tulay (bridge). The Chess Board-like pieces of the bridge triggered my hesitation to cross because it swayed as we walked on it. Nonetheless, it was still awesome and very instagram-worthy.
The bonus highlight was the Bayawak (Monitor Lizard), which is a rope weaved and formed into a bayawak form attached to the boulder. It was another awesomely fun adventure climbing down from the top through the rope nets, which may seem scary at first. We ended our trek with a light snack of bread, fresh lettuce and chicken spread, plus a delicious concoction of fresh fruit juice. Thus ended a fantastic day at the georeserve and looking forward to similar adventures in the future. The tour at Masungi Georeserve is suitable even for a child for as long as they are willing to walk for 3-4 hours.