Located in Rizal, Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area consisting of a beautiful rock garden where rich wildlife and plant species thrive. Masungi is derived from the word “masungki” which means spiked as various limestone formations decorate the area. Masungi Georeserve created a resounding buzz ever since it opened its doors to the public in 2015. Just like many travelers, we were very much looking forward to visit it but slots get easily full since there’s a limit to the number of guests per group per day.
About Masungi Georeserve
Before being the conservation area that it is today, Masungi Georeserve in the late 1990s dealt with rampant illegal logging and quarrying activities. The attempt to rehabilitate and protect the place started with hindrances including financial difficulties. But the pursuit of restoration of Masungi Georeserve prevailed as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources declared it as a Strict Nature Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in 1993.
Today, Masungi Georeserve is one of the popular day hikes near Manila with its rugged limestone karst peaks, lush rainforest, and abundant wildlife. I had climbed only few mountains as of this writing but Masungi Georeserve replaced Mt. Pinatubo as my most favorite hike.
What to See
As we arrived at Masungi Georeserve, we prepared ourselves for the short orientation at Silungan (briefing area). The beautiful garden with flamboyant flowers and limestone rocks instantly caught my attention. It was indeed a wow moment even before we started our trek. As my expectations grew even more, Masungi Georeserve mesmerized us beyond our wonders.
Without further ado, here’s a list of what you can see at the place:
Yungib ni Ruben
There are several caves you will get through but Yungib ni Ruben is probably the biggest and most striking. It was discovered by Ruben, one of the park rangers, hence the name of the cave was dedicated to him. Dramatic lighting inside highlighted more the stalactite and stalagmite formations.
This is probably one of the most favorite spots in Masungi Georeserve. Sapot is made of metallic platform that is shaped like a web suspended above sharp limestone rocks. The area offers a view of Sierra Madre mountain range and Laguna de Bay.
With a viewing deck at its summit, Tatay is the highest peak at Masungi Georeserve. The sight at the top is incredible that you would utter to yourself, what a wonderful world!
Nanay is the second highest peak consisting of five limestone rocks connected by bridges.
Patak, Ditse, and Duyan
Patak is an air house where you can rest.
From Patak, you will cross a hanging bridge until you reach Ditse which you will shortly climb by means of a rope ladder.
Ditse is also one of those peaks where you can get an amazing view. When you take your photo here, you will surely have a stunning nature backdrop.
As you descend Ditse, you will reach Duyan – a rope hammock slash bridge. I got a bit scared crossing Duyan as I saw beneath how high we were and it was a struggle for me to balance myself while crossing the swaying rope. Nonetheless, it was definitely another unique adventure for me!
Named after the largest lizard that can be found at Masungi Georesrve, Bayawak is another rope course challenge. After you descend Bayawak, there’s a resting area located beside it with hammocks and swings.
Finally, Sawa is a hanging bridge that will lead you back to the starting point.
Masungi Georeserve Trail
As I mentioned, Masungi Georeserve is my most favorite hike to date. The place is uniquely beautiful. The trail is recommended for beginners but even veteran hikers will enjoy it. Masungi Georeseve is a stunning combination of different things – beautiful limestone rock formations, enigmatic caves, lush rainforest, and diverse wildlife.
You will climb huge rocks, get through caves, cross hanging bridges, and try rope courses. You also get to rest in hammocks. I also love the part where our park ranger asked us to dedicate a moment of silence – no talking and use of any gadgets. For around five minutes, all we can hear is the sound of nature. Overall, the trek lasted for around 3-4 hours.
Masungi Georeserve houses a variety of fauna including monitor lizards, monkeys, snakes, and cloud rats. You can see some by chance. We just saw some birds and insects, and more interestingly, blue ants!
How to Book Directly
You can directly book your slots at Masungi Georeserve’s website for your DIY tour. Wait for their confirmation e-mail giving you instructions how to send payment. Note that minimum number of participants is 7 and maximum is 14. If below 7, you still have to pay for the 7 pax to be accommodated.
Shared Trail Visit
But wait! Masungi Georeserve has a shared trail visit. To avoid paying extra, individuals or small groups below 7 can join the shared trail visit where you will combine with other guests to meet the minimum number of participants. Just do take note that they have specific schedules for the shared trail visit (check their Facebook page for updates on schedule).
Once you have a schedule, send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 3 days before the desired visit date with the following information:
- Contact person & Mobile No.
- Desired Date (time is set at 10am)
- Number of Guests (Minimum 1 Person, Maximum 6 Persons, Cannot Change # of Persons after Request)
- Full Name and Birthdate of Guests
- Purpose of Visit
- Preferred Payment Method (Cash Deposit or Credit Card/Paypal)
Sample Itinerary (11AM Slot)
8:00 AM Meet up at 6750 Bldg Ayala Ave. Makati City
8:30 AM ETD Makati to Masungi
10:00 AM ETA Masungi
Lunch at nearby eatery.
11:00 AM Orientation and Start Trek
2:30 PM End of Trek
3:00 PM ETD from Masungi
5:00 PM ETA at Makati City
How to Get to Masungi Georeserve
By Private Transportation
Take Marcos Highway. Pass through Masinag, Cogeo, Boso-Boso Resort, Foremost Farms, and Palo Alto. Slow down at Garden Cottages along Marcos Highway. The entrance to Masungi will be on your right.
By Commute (Jeepneys are only available until 6:30 PM)
Ride a van or jeepney going to Padilla/Cogeo Gate 2. Get off at Gate 2 and from there, take a jeepney bound to Sampaloc via Marcos Highway in Tanay.
- Save or print the Confirmation E-mail they sent to you. They will ask for it after which they are going to give you the official receipt.
- There is an eatery before you arrive at Masungi, just 5 minutes away.
- Arrive on time or your visit may be forfeited or your trail may be cut short.
- Healthy snack is provided at the end of the trail.
- If commuting, take note that jeepneys are difficult to find once you get to Garden Cottages. You can spend up to an hour waiting.
- Take note of the small signage of the place as follows:
- There is a locker provided at Silungan (briefing area) for PHP20.
- Due to the nature of the trail, avoid putting stuff in your pockets especially mobile phone as it may slip away.
- There are restrooms at the beginning and end of the trail.
- Bring your own bottle as water refilling stations are available at the start and end of the trail.
- It is advisable to just bring small bags so that you will be more comfortable traversing the trail.
- Wear comfortable trekking attire and non-slip, closed shoes suitable for a hike. Slippers are not allowed inside. Bringing extra clothes.
- In case of light rain, raincoats will be freely provided.
- A free parking area is provided.
- Weekdays – PHP1,500/guest
- Weekends – PHP1,800/guest
- Local park ranger guide, use of safety protection gear, and light snacks.
Summary of Expenses
For our group of 8 persons, total is PHP2125/pax. This can be way cheaper if you meet the maximum of 14 participants. For a group of 14 persons, expense will only be PHP1858/pax (conservation fee + van rental fee).
We were supposed to avail a package tour from one of the official travel partners of Masungi Georeserve that costed PHP2600/head. But with our DIY tour, we saved PHP475/pax or 3800 for our group of 8.
We availed our van rental from Byaheng Masaya group.
Contact No.: 09322421178
Masungi Georeserve (Garden Cottages)
Address: Kilometer 45, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal
E-mail Address: email@example.com
Contact No.: (0995) 1869911