A lot of studies has shown that being in nature has a good impact on one’s well-being, state of mind, and creativity. That’s why I make it a point to do nature bathe over the weekends. Good thing, I live in Cainta and it doesn’t cost so much money and time to do that in my province, Rizal.
One of the places that I have gone to lately is Masungi Georeseve in Baras (1 ½ to 2 hours away from Manila).
I always wanted to go to this place but their fee always made me think twice. It goes beyond my usual weekend trip budget. Normally, my expenses for a nature trip around Rizal wouldn’t go beyond 1K.
The fee for their Discovery Trail over the weekends is 1,800 pesos while during weekends, it’s 1,500 pesos. The Legacy Trail is more budget friendly for me since it’s just 1,000 pesos (both weekend and weekday).
**Take note that this doesn’t include transportation**
So finally, I got to check it out and find out if it is really worth the price. I am aware that I am not the only one who has blogged about Masungi Georeserve. This is just to share my own insights on this place.
The trail that I did is the Legacy Trail. Before the hike, I had no idea of the difference between the Discovery Trail and Legacy Trail. I just based my decision on its rate.
At first, I got disappointed thinking that I booked the wrong hike. I really wanted to experience to be on the web viewing platform that is suspended by the karst limestone formations which is part of the Discovery Trail. When somebody had told me that the discovery trail is all about taking photos and there’s more hiking activity in the Legacy Trail, I was glad that I made the right choice. I love hiking more.
Honestly, a hardcore hiker might get bored with the Legacy Trail. Most part of the trail is landscaped and overdeveloped. This removes the challenge that you usually crave for when you hike. If I’m gonna rate the hike on this trail, I probably would rate this 1 out of 9. I guess this place is designed for urban dwellers with zero physical activities in their daily life.
In the website, it says that the hike going up would last for an hour. To be honest, if you’re used to hiking it can be shorter.
We had a rest stop every 3-5 minutes. Not that it is a bad thing. I just find it funny and unusual because there are designated places for it and there are hammocks everywhere.
We also had to stop because the steward had to give his educational talk. Honestly, it felt like a field trip but it was cool. At least, I got to learn something about trees, sustainability and the ecosystem within Masungi Georeserve.
When I’m in the wilderness, I am like like a toddler who asks a lot of questions. I appreciate that the steward explained things to us without us asking them. How I wish every eco-tourism guide is like a steward or a nature ambassador.
One of the highlights of the Legacy Trail is the tree nurturing activity. Here, you get to help maintain the newly planted trees.
There are a lot of reforestation initiatives in the country but not all of them become successful. A reason for that is a lot of the tree planting projects ends as soon as the tree seedling is planted. It’s not supposed to be that way. That is what this tree nurturing activity is about.
Masungi Georeserve has a reforestation project and tree nurturing activity is part of it. During the tree nurturing activity, we were taught how to make a mulch made out of dried leaves that serves as a moisture catcher for the baby trees. This helps them survive summer without rain.
Upon reaching the Amihan Station, we were given an ice cold towel. That was a delightful surprise for me. Imagine hiking in the brutal heat of a summer day then they hand you this as you reach the summit. How I wish all that the mountains that I hike have an ice cold towel waiting for me at the top.
The lunch itself is simple but it was laid out in an elegant table setting. If you would think of it, it’s just rice, pork Liempo, ensalada, and red egg but it looked so special.
Their ice tea is made out of a local herb that smells like lemongrass.
In case you are a vegetarian, you have to mention it when you book the activity so they can serve a separate vegetarian meal for you.
It’s quite obvious why the ranger station is named after the “Amihan” which means northeast monsoon or cool and dry northeast wind coming from Siberia and China. You’ll think that the wind is whispering to you when you are there. It has something to do with pine tree leaves. When the wind touches it, the leaves resonates its movement.
I love signing up for nature day trips every weekend but it eats up my weekend sleep. Most of the time, the call time for these trips is usually early (sometimes, unreasonably early). Whoever thought of the nap time as part of the itinerary is genius.
With this, we were able to catch up with sleep even with a short nap.
I love how waking up in the outdoors gave us this rejuvenated and refreshed feeling.
It’s a bit pricey as compared to other hiking trails around Rizal but it is worth it and they will make you feel that it is really worth it.
Everything about this place is well thought of. I mean every little detail. Whatever the hikers needed, it was anticipated. I remember before we went up, we were provided with hand sanitizer, talcum powder, sunscreen, and insect repellent. They also had bamboo poles for us to use.
It reminds me so much of the activities organized in luxury resorts.
The best part about Masungi Georeseve is that it’s not crowded over the weekends, unlike other nearby mountains. I remember when we were there, there were only two who hiked that day.
The people who maintain this geopark believe that mountains should be allowed to breathe. They make sure nature park is not overcrowded. In a way, this helps in its preservation.
That’s the reason you cannot just show up and climb it. It’s a must to contact them and request to visit or else, they won’t accommodate you.
Plus, they only allow groups to climb it one at a time. There’s a time slot when you reserve. At some point, you’ll encounter a group but you won’t be at the same place at the same. You will truly feel that you are the only ones who are there.
I won’t really call this hike a real hike but it was an enjoyable activity. I am starting to like the idea of slow hiking to relish the time being in nature. I mean, what’s the rush?
The Legacy Trail of Masungi can be a nice introduction to urbanites who want to be an outdoor person. I’m sure even the fussy type of travelers will enjoy it. After, it is what I call, a “gliking” (glam+hiking).
MASUNGI GEORESERVE AND NATURE PARK
Address: Kilometer 47, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal, Philippines, 1970
Telephone No: 63 929 13 23 531, +63 995 186 99 11 (8:00 am-5:00 pm, Mon-Sat)