Masungi Georeserve: A Guide to First Timers

Everyone’s been spending more time into Social Media, might it be for personal updates, work related posts, gaming or the most popular of them all, ESCAPADES ;-) From time to time, my Facebook timeline has been flooding with pictures of a group of people joining together, mind you, they are not usually related with each other whatsoever, they all just decided to go on a trip and visit one place to another. I personally have won a lot of friends as I join myself visiting various places near the Metro.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present you, The Masungi Georeserve!

Have you seen breathtaking photos of this geopark on your Timeline? Not to mention the spectacular views. You might wonder how to get there so you too can enjoy the same, well, here's a guide to help you plan a visit to this exciting destination that isn't too far from Manila.

A geopark in the Philippines, Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area in Rizal that aims to sustainably protect the rocks, flora, and fauna within it. A trail, including rope courses, allows visitors to go through the highlights of the georeserve, showcasing the formidable rock formations and lush forestry in this sprawling area.

Masungi’s name originates from masungki, referring to the jagged rocks gracing its landscape. Within its property, species of flora and fauna endemic to the Philippines are being protected. The Luzon cloud rat and the guyabero are nocturnal and are rarely seen by visitors, but plants such as the jade vine and the wisteria can be enjoyed by those who go through the trail.

I wouldn’t spoil your planned adventure but, if you are looking forward to see The Masungi Georeserve in Rizal, you can expect the following:

You can seek help from these people on how to visit the place.

1. Reservations might be harder than you thought but, driving to get there is easy.

On a weekend morning, if you’re coming from Manila, driving to Masungi will be incredibly convenient. Via Marcos Highway, the area is easily accessible and with no traffic, it will take you roughly an hour and a half.

Due to Masungi’s growing popularity, reservations must be made in advance – in some cases, months. In order to preserve the area and to better control foot traffic, the site is limited to 4 groups only, per day.

2. You have to equip yourself with a lot of cardio.

Going through the Masungi trail will be a leisurely walk, well, honestly, I’m referring to those more experienced hikers or mountaineers. For those with relatively sedentary lifestyles, the trail walk could be a healthy challenge and will help work up a good sweat and bring the heart rate up for a change.

The trail walk will take around 3 to 4 hours (according to the guides, it only extends to 4 if the group takes particularly longer to take photos), and most of the trail is lined with cement steps, making it easy for individuals to go through it quite easily. However, it also calls for a lot of uphill climbing, and the rope courses require a bit of physical acuity to get through. Don’t get dismayed though, it’s a great activity.

After a generous amount of climbing up steps, the first rope course that visitors will be faced with is Lambat, a rope net that allows groups to get up a rock wall and onto the rest of the conservation.

Duyan, a giant rope hammock, is one of Masungi’s most popular and most photographed courses. Spanning a few hundred feet, this photogenic rope course can be a slight challenge for the less physically active.

If this is really your first time to visit the place, it is really important to wear light, comfortable clothing and closed shoes. Don’t worry so much about water as it is provided at the visitor sheds at the briefing.

3. The heights is really INCREDIBLE!

Afraid of heights? You can take Masungi as a great challenge and you might want to face this fear head on. Most of the rope courses are quite relatively high above the ground, it is really spectacular to view this from a hanging bridge.

Sapot, another of Masungi’s most photographed attractions, is a metallic platform with wooden steps, formed to mimic a spider web that hangs above one of its rock formations. It offers scenic views of both the Sierra Madre mountains, the country’s longest mountain range, and Laguna de Bay, the country’s largest lake.

There are certain peaks in the area which is quite a view. Tatay and Nanay are the two tallest peaks in the georeserve, offering vast views of the conservation area.

Nanay Peak

Tatay Peak
In lieu of a treehouse and in order to be less intrusive to the natural formations and greenery in the georeserve, Patak hangs over the treetops in Masungi. Reminiscent of a cable car, this charming wooden structure also offers a spot for visitors to take a breather and experience the fresh air and wind.

There are several hanging bridges which also connects sections of the georeserve from each other.

Those who want to see the georeserve but aren’t ready to face their fear of heights yet don’t need to worry – most rope courses have alternate, though longer routes around.

If you plan to go through these adventures in the Georeserve, please secure your gadgets well, if they fall and I will tell you that they might, there's no guarantee that these can be retrieved.

4. Enjoy your escapades with friendly and knowledgeable staff.

As tour guides and staff, Masungi employs mostly locals from surrounding areas in Rizal in order to help its immediate community.

One of the attractions that can be seen by those who go through the trail is The Yungib ni Ruben. It was discovered by its namesake, one of Masungi’s more creative staffers. If you’re lucky, you can also chance on Kuya Ruben making a compost pile, shaping it into an interesting pattern that caught his attention that day, like that of a snail’s shell.

Always try to be friendly, try to talk to the guides and make a conversation. You’ll be with them for the 3 or 4 hours of the trail, and you’ll get to hear their interesting stories. Plus, you can win great friends.

5. Disconnect yourself from the outside world even for a while.

Great destinations come with a hard-to-get communications signal. You’ll experience the same once you get to the gates of Masungi. The guides have radios in case of emergencies, but you really won’t need to contact anyone from up there anyway. Remember that you get there to enjoy the view, reevaluate yourself both spiritually and physically, and reset yourself from a stressful work, workmates, workplaces and bosses.

The best thing you can do once you get there, try to capture as much photos as you can but, conserve yourself from uploading those right away, it will consume your time. Prepare to bring your best photo-taking-gadget, it’s a shame not capturing the best moments because of gadget failure.

As of this writing, Masungi Georeserve continues to face challenges with illegal loggers and reports of land-grabbing in the area. It’s safe for visits, but it might be difficult to make bookings for weekends of the summer season.

Again, try to seek help from these people on how you can visit the place. I would highly recommend them.

See you there, we would definitely be back!


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