Where: Masungi Georeserve, Rizal Province, Philippines
Who: Mr & Mrs Wanderlust with Mr & Mrs AaronJaney G., @Joycoconut, & Idge P.
When: January 2019
What: Georeserve Conservation Area in the mountains of Rizal a nice trek.
We had a truly beautiful morning hike at a geopark in the Philippines, - Masungi Georeserve conservation area. Rustic rock garden tucked in the rainforests of Rizal.
How To Get There:
Just more than an hour drive in the hustle and bustle of Quezon City you would get to the province of Rizal, which is where the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre that goes up very long way to the province of Cagayan so basically, almost the whole East side of the Luzon Archipelago is protected (from powerful storms and surges) by this mountain range, that is how important it is.
Going back to the topic of getting there, we just honestly followed waze and google maps "Masungi Georeserve" and because we scheduled a 6:30am schedule so we woke up at like 3:00am to prepare and had to leave at before 5:00AM so we have extra time if we get lost. Got there
Where To Stay:
The place being just an hour and a half drive from Manila, you can finish the activities before the day ends. But if you want to stay near the area, my google powers says there are a couple of laid back hotels/resorts a couple of miles from the area so just do a little search see which ones you like.
1. Quick Briefing while Learn About The Surroundings
The georeserve has a lot to offer, flora and fauna, geological formations, caves and there will be climb up and down from ropes, and many crossing from hanging bridges, with other scenic views. There will also be a briefing from the Park Ranger who will introduce your guide and also do a little introduction about what to expect etc.
All are required to wear helmets to avoid bumping head on the low hanging rocks that you will encounter. Also, claustrophobic people and those who are afraid of heights are encouraged to tell their guides beforehand to avoid any problems.
2. Enjoy the Trail and the Views from Incredible Heights
Acrophobia is the fear of heights, and a trip to Masungi will surely make you want to face this fear head on. There are a couple of rope courses and are quite a distance from above the ground, and viewing this from a hanging bridge or an artificial material built to supposedly protect you is still scary.
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.
Seeing georeserve but not ready to face your acrophobia? No worries as rope courses have other route but may be a bit longer walk..
3. Cut Off yourself from work and social media for a few hours.
Disconnecting from the outside world is a guarantee because as you go deep into the trail, majority of its parts will have no more cellular signal. Even going to the gate, part of it has no signal, so we were waiting before 6:00am for the gate to open.
Masungi georeserve still have problems with land grabbers and illegal loggers in the area, but still safe for visit, although you have to book in advance.
No walk ins allowed, and as of Jan 2019, Masungi accepts groups of 7-10 persons at a rate of P1,500 per person. Click here so you may check their website for direct booking and FAQ
Note: All bookings to Masungi Georeserve are either done directly through their website, or their official accredited partners, and do not easily accept just random tour groups for their reasons to quote them:
1. Mass booking done by unauthorized organisers/agencies, especially on weekends, does not give a fair chance for all to go on the trail and racks up prices significantly. The georeserve is designed for an intimate experience with nature and loved ones, not as a mass tourism destination.
2. Consolidating multiple smaller groups without a clear program risks personal safety and security, and detriments operations on the ground. These people usually do not know each other, and are more likely to wander on their own.
3. Unauthorized agencies and organizers has been observed to set different expectations and values for the georeserve. This leads manifests into conservation and guest experience issues on the ground. The georeserve is first and foremost a conservation area and not a tourist destination.
4. Huge added fees are sometimes charged to guests without clear or just breakdowns – the value of which is unfairly imposed on the georeserve and local rangers to deliver on.
5. We have received reports of unauthorized agencies or persons reselling non-existent slots and implementing other fraudulent schemes, much to the inconvenience and hazard of guests.
If you have any more questions, you may always check their website's FAQ
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