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Masungi Georeserve: What to Look Forward to

masungi georeserve

Masungi Georeserve became a traveler’s #goals almost overnight. Let’s take a peek inside this beauty and get to know not just the Instagrammable spots, but also its advocacy.

After several Facebook photos showing their iconic “rope-over-limestone” attractions, Masungi Georeserve almost overnight topped the list of go-to places for 2016. The photos went viral on December 2015, with many millennials urging their friends to visit Masungi. In no time, their reservation was fully booked two months in advance — a feat remarkable for an eco-residential site silently conserving the land for nearly 20 years.

How I Ended up in Masungi Georeserve

On February, Josh posted in an outdoor community group about the suspension of the Masungi taken from the Tanay Government website. Apparently, it was issued as early as January 26, 2016. Some issues cited behind the suspension are violations of environmental ordinances, building codes and safety regulations. The post received overwhelming response from concerned travelers, and soon, a staff from Masungi Georeserve itself.

Evelyn (not her real name), in a Facebook message, told Josh that there are far more issues that cannot be summarized in a single post. She said this info is yet to be revealed due to complicating legal and political matters. To uncover more about these issues, Josh referred Evelyn to me, and the latter invited me to Masungi Georeserve that same week.

Masungi Georeserve

Masungi Georeserve: Beyond Instagrammable

Masungi Georeserve is located on the borders of Tanay and Baras, Rizal. It only takes an hour or two of drive from Quezon City, and can be reached via public transportation. The name Masungi is derived from the term masungki or “spiked”. This describes the jagged limestone rocks that protrude from the ground.

Evelyn met me promptly at 7 AM where I carpooled with other Masungi staff to the site. Stepping inside Masungi for the first time, I can say that there is more to the place than its Instagrammable spots.

Masungi Georeserve is a 300 hectare-wide rock garden. If you have been to the mountains of Tanay such as Mt. Daraitan and Mt. Pamitinan, you can only imagine an sprawling land filled with those limestone rock exposures. Just add the blooming flowers on the wayside.

Floral and wildlife species thrive within Masungi Georeserve. Spotted here are wild monkeys, snakes, civet cats, and a variety of birds. We did the interview within one of the bamboo-roofed visitor sheds, where guests are also briefed just before the hike.Masungi Georeserve

Things to Know Before Going to Masungi

Masungi Georeserve may look like a rocky playground, but going around it isn’t a mere walk in the (geo)park. The discovery trail actually takes 3-4 blood pumping hours to complete. It also entails some rope climbing and scrambling. Here are things to consider when planning your trip:

  • What to Pack. Wear hiking clothes. Bring towels, change of clothes, and sun protection. Guests are provided a helmet and a knapsack with bottled water and binoculars for sightseeing. You can leave your bags before the hike.
  • What is Not Allowed. Loud mouths should be kept shut lest they disturb the wildlife inhabiting the place. Smoking, littering, picking of flowers, and vandalism are prohibited. For now, kids 13 year old and below aren’t allowed in the trail.
  • Pricing. From April 2016, the entrance fee will be at PHP 1,400 per person for a group of 7-14 pax. They are accompanied by a park ranger (guide). Included in the entrance fee is a complimentary snack comprised of a tuna sandwich and lemongrass drink.
  • Reservation. Only 4 groups are allowed to enter daily. Walk-ins are not welcome. Reservation, at this time, is months-long in advance. A deposit of 50% is also required to secure your spot. Email trail@masungigeoreserve.com to book your trip.

Masungi’s Famous Landmarks

Masungi Georeserve’s discovery trail is a circuit around the conservation area. It features not only natural rock formations and thick forestry. It also has man-made trails of ropes and wires. Fear not if you feel you cannot conquer the rope trails. There are alternative trails on the ground. Here are some of their famous landmarks:

  • Sapot is a circular web of steel ropes over a collection of limestone rocks. Laguna Lake is on sight.
  • Patak is a beehive-looking air house that’s a modern take on the tree house.
  • Duyan is a descending rope trail over canopies of trees. It looks like a giant hammock that serves as a bridge from one cliff to another.
  • Tatay and Nanay are two of the biggest rock formations in Masungi. Tatay is the tallest limestone peak. Nanay is composed of five limestone peaks. Both have their own viewing decks.
  • Yungib Ni Ruben is one of the many mini-caves within Masungi. Cool air circulates around here, and there are dim lights for guests to appreciate the formations within.
  • Liwasan looks like an amphitheater with clear, terraced ponds.
  • Henry will be the last encounter. He is the huge snake enclosed within a  guava-shaped cage.

Promoting Sustainable Geotourism in the Philippines

do think the PHP 1,400 entrance fee is expensive. Prior to this trip, I honestly did not plan on going here because of the steep price and the long wait. But having climbed many badly eroded mountains, I’ve come to appreciate the regulations done here. Masungi Georeserve could have lowered the price and accommodate larger groups. They will surely profit greater!

Masungi Georeserve

But with the regulations in place, guests will be accommodated at a slower pace. The georeserve will be preserved for more years. Masungi has quietly conserved the area for two decades. I was relieved they are not about to squander those years of conservation for overnight profit.

Unfortunately, there are non-environmental issues battled by Masungi Georeserve. With the recent suspension issued by the Tanay Government, the newly-opened geotourism spot’s reputation is at risk.

On the next post, we will expound more on the accusations of the LGU. We will also discuss the recent incidents that sparked the #WeAreForMasungi movement.

 

Masungi Georeserve
Kilometer 45, Marcos Highway, Rizal
trail@masungigeoreserve.com

 

How to commute to Masungi Georeserve: From Marcos Highway, ride a jeep going to Cogeo. Get down at Cogeo marketplace and ride another jeep to Sampaloc. Masungi Georeserve is on the right side of the road.

 

 

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44 Comments

  • Reply
    Yan
    December 7, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    Ganda! I’ve been eyeing this place for a barkada outing but the price (increase) and the month-long wait is mejo discouraging, but not so much cos I bet the experience will be amazing!

  • Reply
    Adelle
    November 16, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    Just went this Sunday, it really is beautiful and a great adventure for people who aren’t used to hiking but still want to experience nature. My only concern is the fee, P1,400.00. I think it is too expensive. On your post, you said that only 4 groups (of 7-14pax) are allowed to enter daily, well that’s not the case anymore. Btw, I’m not bashing Masungi Georeserve, I simply want to share our experience. We arrived there at around 11:30-12:00pm. While there, we actually encountered 4 other groups (so that’s 5 groups including us). And it’s safe to assume that there were groups that we didn’t run into since the earliest schedule is 5:30am. If you’d check their site, there are multiple schedules allowed per day, far more than 4. So my point is, if they only accommodate 4 groups per day, I would understand the P1,400.00, but since they are obviously accommodating more groups now, I think it’s only fair to lower the fee. Nevertheless, I had so much fun here and I would still willingly go back. I love that they were able to develop the place without actually tarnishing the natural surroundings. The Park Ranger did say that the DENR has released a statement, officially saying that Masungi Georeserve is under Baras, Rizal, and not Tanay, Rizal. And yes, we had to wait months for our reservation. I still want to encourage everyone to go here. You will not be disappointed!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      November 16, 2016 at 10:24 PM

      Hi Adelle!! Thank you so much for commenting on the blog and sharing your experience. I can’t speak for Masungi now what happened during the day! PHP 1400 indeed is expensive, although from our interview it was priced at the point of view of the conservation instead of the consumer. I really loved my experience there and personally, it would really take time for me to go there had I not been granted a free pass. Thanks again for sharinggg 🙂

  • Reply
    Rej Relova
    September 24, 2016 at 10:35 PM

    I’ve been wanting to visit the place since I saw the photos. I didn’t really know that it is expensive and that a visit to it should be by group. You were fortunate enough to get invited to the place. I hope they resolve (or have they resolved it already?) the issue soon enough.

  • Reply
    Chhavi (Mrs_daaku)
    May 28, 2016 at 3:13 PM

    Great post. Generally u don’t get a detail overview of the place along with instructions like what to pack and how reservations are done. Its great to have all info in one post. Keep them coming.

  • Reply
    Karla | karlaroundtheworld
    April 16, 2016 at 10:46 PM

    Been wanting to go here. Too bad I am leaving for awhile and won’t get the chance. I wanted to go on my birthday. Well, when I get back its something I hope to do .

  • Reply
    Neri Ann
    April 15, 2016 at 7:02 PM

    I watched this on Jessica SOHO! Wow ang ganda! Ang saya siguro jan sa duyan! So relaxing! Oh and its in Rizal lang! Im from Antipolo!

  • Reply
    siniciliya
    April 15, 2016 at 4:56 PM

    Sam, why didn’t I come across your blog before I came to the Philippines? I would love to visit Masungi. It looks really great! I miss Philippines so much!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 1:42 AM

      Hello!! Well at least, you got here!! Hope you can revisit PH 🙂

  • Reply
    Richel V.
    April 11, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Been planning to go here for my birthday, but, eh, the price is really high. I thought the initial 1K was high; didn’t even heard of the price increase until now. But the place really does look majestic and well-maintained! Your photos look amazing, Sam!

  • Reply
    JONtotheworld
    March 21, 2016 at 10:40 PM

    The entrance fee is quite pricey but hey looking at your pictures, it seems worth it.

    I’ve heard the issues about Masungi recently, and I am amazed at how many travel bloggers are making a stand. Salute to all!

    By the way, I hope I could visit the place soon, maybe within the year.

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    March 20, 2016 at 9:19 PM

    The place looks interesting but I don’t think I’ll be visiting that place in the near future as it does not look baby-friendly

  • Reply
    miss happyfeet
    March 19, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    Looks interesting! I would definitely go with my friends, but i think elderly won’t like it that much…. thanks for all the tips and information, they are very useful!

  • Reply
    millette05
    March 19, 2016 at 4:48 PM

    It is amazing how they we able to preserve Masungi. I do hope they get support from the LGUs to help preserve such beauty.

  • Reply
    maerose007
    March 19, 2016 at 4:40 PM

    Nice!! Nature is really my thing, and I enjoyed looking at your photos. They really captured the place, and now, i’d love to go and be there on that spiderweb thing. 😉

  • Reply
    Dorothy Mae C. Torretijo
    March 19, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    Wow! What a beautiful adventure! Wanna try soon xx

  • Reply
    Arlyn Peralta ⚓️ (@ariane_peralta)
    March 19, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    Love the photos girl! Awesome adventure. I wish to go to Masungi very soon :>

  • Reply
    mirandamiller03
    March 18, 2016 at 11:13 AM

    WOW!! That looks gorgeous and I never knew it existed. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Dunja
    March 18, 2016 at 5:45 AM

    It looks breath-taking! Such a wonderful place, i hope that i’ll have a chance to go there one day 🙂

  • Reply
    A Busy Bees Life
    March 18, 2016 at 5:36 AM

    Wow, I never knew of this place but the information presented here and the pictures are beautiful, Thank you.

  • Reply
    Cai Dominguez - Travelosyo
    March 18, 2016 at 4:13 AM

    Wow! Awesome place. You’re lucky to visit it before the issue. I hope that Lgu will be in favor for the environment.

  • Reply
    Arrianne Guzman
    March 18, 2016 at 12:52 AM

    Walk-ins are not welcome!!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 We planned to visit this on the first weekend of April. Hopefully we can get a slot (though it already looks quite impossible T_T ). Thank you for the helpful tips! Will keep those in mind 🙂 Sana may slot pa (fingers crossed)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Reply
      Sam Coronado
      May 27, 2016 at 2:10 AM

      You’ll get there!! But it does take a significant amount of time given its popularity 🙁

  • Reply
    Maria Teresa Dumadag
    March 17, 2016 at 11:51 PM

    This place looks interesting. But definitely not for the faint of heart. 😉

  • Reply
    Yami
    March 17, 2016 at 10:50 PM

    Wow! This is an interesting place. I will surely enjoy the adventure that place is offering. I’ll put it on my bucketlist.

  • Reply
    TRAVELING MORION
    March 17, 2016 at 8:21 PM

    OMG, I should include Masungi sa listahan! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Marjorie
    March 17, 2016 at 6:09 PM

    Wow the entrance fee is expensive, and it’s always booked? Dang, maybe I should book now so I can go there in two months time.

  • Reply
    Stargazer Writes
    March 17, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    Shoot! This place is so beautiful! I’ll definitely include this to my must-go-to places. Thank you so much for your very informative post. The future post is quite intriguing. I’m going to follow this blog. 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle
    March 17, 2016 at 9:39 AM

    Wow. Such a beautiful place! I can’t wait until I can travel more and see places like this.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    March 17, 2016 at 7:17 AM

    This looks gorgeous! I’ve never seen any park like this ever before. It’s like there is a big spider web across the trees. I wish I will visit this place at some point.

  • Reply
    Fred Erick (FredExperience)
    March 17, 2016 at 4:14 AM

    I wanna go here the soonest but I guess I have to wait for a month then. My goal for this year is to start trekking so definitely will visit here.. thanks for the post

  • Reply
    Alison
    March 17, 2016 at 2:55 AM

    This is a beautiful place. I would be a little nervous about the rope canopy over the trees but I think it is amazing to be able to have that opportunity! Thanks for sharing this spot in the world.

  • Reply
    Milton Coyne
    March 17, 2016 at 12:57 AM

    I really want to visit this place but I never thought that it would be that expensive haha…but t’s nice to hear that there is a guide included contrary to what I have read before na there is really no guide at all and there were some safety issues involve din.. anyway, i’m sure you had a blast here … I wanna try the Sapot one

  • Reply
    Riley Reign
    March 17, 2016 at 12:55 AM

    This is so beautiful!!! This beauty is going onto my bucketlist for sure. Thank you for ll of the lovely tips and info!

  • Reply
    Franc Ramon
    March 16, 2016 at 11:16 PM

    My sister has been asking me to visit the Geopark. It’s a really beautiful place and I hope to visit it soon.

  • Reply
    MELISSA U
    March 16, 2016 at 10:30 PM

    Huhuhu I’m so jealous you already got to go to Masungi. My friends and I tried reserving this March last month kaso puno na lahat ng slots. We’re waiting for July nalang 🙁

  • Reply
    Jojo Vito
    March 16, 2016 at 10:14 PM

    wow, beautiful place…I would like to try that sapot, duyan and patak 🙂

  • Reply
    Milet Miranda
    March 16, 2016 at 9:48 PM

    Wash gusto ko din puntahan to! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE
    March 16, 2016 at 8:41 PM

    Masungi looks like a nice go to place. Isn’t the entrance fee a little steep though? Photos are very nice and the place really does look amazing.

  • Reply
    firsttimetravel
    March 16, 2016 at 8:40 PM

    This is beautiful and it’s my first time to hear of such place. I hope to be able to visit Masungi Georeserve one of these days. I’m glad I read your post.

  • Reply
    ROBERT LEE
    March 16, 2016 at 8:38 PM

    Masungi looks like a nice go to place. Isn’t the entrance a little steep though? Photos are very nice and yeah, the place looks amazing!

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