Located a couple of hours away from Manila, in a dense forest in Rizal, lies thousand-old rock formations and a plethora of animal and plant species conserved and protected within the Masungi Georeserve.
With pointed and jagged limestone formations sprawled across the landscape, the georeserve derives its name from “masungki” meaning “spiked”, which aptly describes the area.
The georeserve has been consistent in their efforts in protecting the area from illegal loggers, mining and quarrying activities, and land-grabbing activities for over 15 years. Committed to sustainable development, conservation, and geotourism; as well as their values of Discipline, Cleanliness, and Pride of Our Own, the Masungi Georeserve has created a sanctuary where individuals can peacefully coexist with nature.
Just recently, the Masungi Georeserve opened another trail experience that highlights the importance of their on-going restoration projects and we were lucky enough to be one of the first people to try out the Legacy Trail.
The Legacy Trail
At its very core, the Legacy Trail is an advocacy project. Its goal is to educate and inspire the guests to appreciate and love nature.
During the hike, our tour guides would talk about Masungi Georeserve’s experience with reforestation and conservation. They would show dug up holes from illegal treasure hunters, cut up trees from illegal logging efforts, and signs and posts from professional land grabbers trying to steal away areas of the mountain.
Hiking uphill was a challenge but it was worth it when we felt the cool breeze and saw the scenic view atop the mountain overlooking Laguna de Bay, Metro Manila, and Sierra Madre. At that moment, I fell in love with the beauty of the Philippines!
When we arrived atop the mountain, we were given freshly picked duhat ( Java Plum ). It was my first time to try it and I found the sour taste very interesting!
While we were enjoying our duhat, we were already being briefed for the next activity: Tree Nurturing.
I think that The Tree Nurturing Activity is what makes the Legacy Trail so unique. The rangers and tour guides showed us the important steps needed to care for a tree. There’s spot brushing which is the process of clearing out the grass from the tree, mulching where we loosen the soil in order for soil to retain moisture, and covering up the area with the cut up grass to prevent the soil from drying up.
I enjoyed the whole experience! I also realized that planting a tree is not enough to care for the environment, but nurturing a seedling is part of it too. It takes a lot of effort and years of commitment to take care of the environment. I think that’s my biggest takeaway from this trip.
The hike made us all very hungry and we were excited to see a table with food on banana leaves. They call these Minalot meals. Each minalot had a serving of grilled pork, rice, and tomatoes. It was delicious! It was also our first time to try the Gumamela tea and it was a sweet addition to our flavorful lunch.
After eating, we explored Amihan and enjoyed climbing up the floating teepees and letting the rope nets cradle us to sleep. We were provided pillows and blankets so we had a quick siesta to rest from all the climbing.
Soon, it was time for us to go down the mountain. When we arrived back to where we started, we were provided with a certificate for completing the trail and a tree planted dedicated to our group.
It was my first time at Masungi Georeserve and I had such a blast! I was able to go here thanks to my internship at Choose Philippines and I truly feel lucky to have this experience. I learned so much and I would love to take my family there!
The Masungi Georeserve’s initiative with the Legacy Trail opened our eyes with the responsibility that we all have in caring for the environment. The experience is truly value adding and a perfect bonding activity. It’s definitely a place to visit!
To request a reservation, please go here.
How to Get There:
Taking Marcos Highway is the recommended route. As you drive through the highway, you’ll pass through Masinag, Cogeo, Boso-Boso Resort, Foremost Farms, and Palo Alto. Slow down once you see Garden Cottages along Marcos Highway. Make sure to be on the lookout for the Masungi Georeserve logo, right by Kilometer 47. Once you see it on your right, you’ve made it to the main gate.
Do you have a wonderful travel experience to share? Write about it on #choosephilippines