A couple of weeks ago, I was privileged to have visited the very famous Masungi Georeserve. Since this privately owned landscape was opened to the public in December 2015, everyone has wanted to visit and trek its huge terrain. Picturesque shots of friends trekking its trails flock social media accounts: the giant hammock and the web very famous location shots in particular.
Nestled in Baras, Rizal, Masungi Georeserve is strictly on reservation basis. Our schedule was at 1 PM but we started trekking at around 1:30 PM. Although their website said that the trek is 3-4 hours, we actually finished at around 7PM. In that 5.5 hours of exploring Masungi Georeserve, these are the things I learned:
Masungi Georeserve Is a Conservation Area
Masungi Georeserve is a sanctuary for wild animals and plants. It has been in operation since 1996 but just recently opened its doors to the public. I love that the management tries to impart environmental preservation in each of their guests. From time to time during the trek, we were reminded not to pick flowers, not to touch certain plants, and keep our voices down.
Tour guides are referred as Park Rangers in Masungi. Our personal Park Ranger, Marshal, asked us to meditate while we were in the giant hammock. In the five minutes that we had our eyes closed, I was able to clearly hear chirping birds, rustling tree leaves, and swooshing winds. Even though I couldn’t consider myself as a nature lover, those sounds painted a smile on my face. Indeed, Masungi Georeserve is a great place to practice one’s attachment with the environment.
You Will Never Get Bored in Masungi Georeserve
Apart from the Instagram-worthy giant hammock and web, there are a lot of other attractions in Masungi Georeserve. Our group saw and passed hanging bridges, rope ladders, narrow rock openings, and vast land of plants. To see the complete trail, check out this comprehensive guide from their website.
Even though the trek was lengthy, I didn’t get bored because there is always something new to see. I like the diversity of the sceneries; you’ll never know what adventure you will next encounter. My absolute favorite was Yungib ni Ruben (Cave of Ruben): a gorgeous cave formation with a very narrow passage decorated with little lamps. And we were already inside the cave, there stood a beautiful fountain with cool running water. I don’t know if I was able to give justice to its beauty; you be the judge by watching this.
Despite Its Beauty, Masungi Georeserve Has Battled a Lot of Challenges
Park Ranger Marshal told us that Masungi Georeserve faced a number of difficulties as a conservation area. The management had to combat people who commit illegal activities such as kaingin (burning of trees), logging (cutting down of trees), quarrying (stone or mineral mining), and illegal claiming and selling of land. For guests like us, Masungi is a beautiful place; it was shocking to learn how much effort is given for it to continue looking that beautiful.
Safety Is an Issue in Trekking Masungi Georeserve
In terms of scenic views and nature preservation awareness, I have nothing negative to say about Masungi Georeserve. But they have a lot to improve on in terms of the safety of their guests. There were trail parts that were extremely steep, overly sharp rock formations, and areas that makeshift steps are the only things that will keep you from falling to razor sharp rocks.
You have to be really focused on each step that you take as one wrong step could lead to fatal accidents. I bet the trail is even more dangerous if it is raining. The only protection provided to us were helmets, there were no gloves to protect our hands from the sharp rocks or stray vines from the trees. Our park ranger is also too young! Park Ranger Marshal is only 17 y/o and has been working at Masungi Georeserve for only a month. I bet if something wrong happens, he wouldn’t be able to save us.
So if you plan to go to Masungi, be sure that you are aware of the hazards that you are exposing yourself too. And we are not talking of physical safety only, also note that your valuables are also at risk. The web and hanging bridges in particular are common locations of lost gadgets when guests lost hold of them. Prior to the start of the trail, a waiver has to be signed discharging Masungi Georeserve of all liabilities in the above mentioned risks.
Here are some other tips that can help you in your Masungi Georeserve Experience:
- Restrooms and water refilling station can only be found at the start of the trail and towards the end. Do necessary adjustments. Bonus tip: there are essentials like lotion and sunblock at the ladies’ restroom #winning! LOL
- Guests should all be 13 y/o and above
- Only 15 minutes are given per group per attraction. There are a lot of trail groups so try to be sensitive.
- Bring trail snacks! This is something that we missed doing, so we were absolutely famished by the time we had our light snacks towards the end of the trail. It was our motivation that day!
- A zipline could be a great addition to Masungi Georeserve, but they have none, because they strictly want to keep the area quiet.
- Absolutely No Tipping in Masungi Georeserve. In case you are extremely pleased with their services and you want to help them, do that by inviting your friends over.