Masungi Georeserve (Rizal), Part II

Let me start this entry by stating that I am afraid of heights, I dislike stairs, and I have plantar fasciitis. Moreover, Aunt Flo was visiting the day this happened. Curses! @&*%^$#%&@!!!

 

In the previous entry, I wrote about the first part of my and Juan’s experience during our six-hour shared trail in Masungi Georeserve in Rizal.

It includes Masungi Georeserve highlights Silungan, Sapot, Patak, Ditse, and Duyan. To read it, please proceed here.

This post focuses on the remaining main features of Masungi Georeserve: Yungib ni Ruben, Tatay, Nanay, Bayawak, Liwasan, and Sawa will be featured in my next entry.

Yungib ni Ruben (Ruben’s Cave) is a cave formation that is part of a karst landscape. Within relatively cavernous entrails, stalactites, stalagmites, columns (when stalactites and stalagmites meet or when stalactites reach the cave floor), and flowstones (rock deposited as a thin sheet by precipitation from flowing water) are found. The walls are cool to the touch and water droplets make rhythmic sounds when they hit the surface.

In the middle of Yungib ni Ruben, there is a round table with single support. It was filled with cool water that was a little bit too tempting for someone who had less than a glass of water in three hours and 15 minutes (yes, I checked the time on the photos). Unlike the other caves (like Sumaguing Cave) I have visited, Yungib ni Ruben lacks unwelcome noise from human and smaller animals.

Our group in front of Yungib ni Ruben (Ruben’s Cave). The guy in blue shirt and red helmet wins most imaginative pose award.

The round table inside Yungib ni Rube (like King Arthur’s round table? Hehe)

Juan and I inside Yungib ni Ruben

Our group inside Yungib ni Ruben

Not far from Yungib ni Ruben (or on top of Yungib ni Ruben?) is Tatay (Father), the first and the taller of the two peaks found in Masungi Georeserve. If I recall correctly, Tatay stands at around 600 meters. The viewing deck at the top of Tatay gives trekkers a 360-degree view of all the greenery and other rock formations in the vicinity. However, on our way to the summit, it drizzled. Our guide, Rheynan Lecis, distributed colorful ponchos. I welcomed the rain because it provided a great respite from the heat, but it also meant that the concrete blocks became slippery as eels.

As mentioned at the top of this post, I am afraid of heights and I dislike stairs, and the combination of the two was a crackerjack! Let me say that the climb to the summit was almost a crawl with me holding on to the railings for dear life. It did not help that it was windy. The wind and the rain also took away most of the enjoyment of looking at the scenery. It reminded me of all the people that blemished the “sea of clouds” in Mt. Kiltepan. But it is what it is.

Tatay, the tallest peak in Masungi Georeserve

Juan and I on our way to Tatay

Our wet group near the summit of Tatay

Juan and I at the summit of Tatay. Is it Bayawak (Monitor Lizard) in the background?

Our group on our way to Nanay after we conquered Tatay. Yes, the rain stopped and traces of disappeared like a momentary blur.

Nanay (Mother) is fittingly the smaller peak. It features five limestone rock peaks interconnected by bridges. The beauty of Nanay is better appreciated from afar because the width is more pronounced. Yet, up close, Nanay looks motherly (can one say that about a limestone formation) and less foreboding than Tatay – like most Filipina mothers.

Our group photo in one of the bridges interconnecting the limestone rock peaks in Nanay

Because one group photo is not enough

Juan showing off his aerial skills with one of Nanay rock peaks in the background

Juan again because I really do not have a lot of photos left for this entry. ☺

Me in the laziest pose ever because Aunt Flo was visiting and I was too bloated to jump.

Bayawak (Monitor Lizard) is the longest rope course in Masungi Georeserve. Looking down Bayawak from the top made my heart jump in my throat! It looked neverending and almost standing upright with only my hands and feet to guide me to safety. But, I had no choice; that was the only way to get to the finish line.

This bridge leads to Bayawak (Monitor Lizard)

Bayawak rope course as seen from the summit of Tatay

As I climbed down a quarter of the way, I felt my legs go numb and that numbness slowly but surely crept up my thighs. I immediately thought, “Oh, dear Lord, please do not let me die here!”, and I clamped my hands to the ropes. Juan stayed with me, but I could not ask him to climb down in my stead. Using my eyes as my main conductor, I just moved one foot over the other without me feeling anything. It was such a relief to reach the bottom of Bayawak!!!

Me near the top of Bayawak rope course. I was still all smiles because I felt fine.

Juan and I climbing down Bayawak rope course

Juan making his way down Bayawak

There are hanging seats near Bayawak. Juan and I chose the largest. I stretched my legs and rested for a bit.

Group photo at the resting area near Bayawak. The spherical basket in the background is where I rested.

The final push to the Liwasan (Park) was the worst! Juan and I had to let the others go ahead because I still could not move my legs. It took us a while to get to the snack area.

The snack area

The snacks. These belonged to the group next to us. Our snacks were already partly consumed by the time we arrived.

The drinks. I was over the moon to see some form of liquid!!! I must have swigged (yes, in a very unladylike manner) two glasses of water (not from that glass jar but from a clay jar) right after I set foot in the area.

The group trying to share the group photos (we all used Juan’s camera). I was in another table putting my feet up to improve blood circulation.

The Sawa (Snake) is the last of the highlights. It really looks like a giant snake, with its mouth as the opening and two eyes adorning the top of the wire. I was a little disoriented after I emerged from the other side of Sawa. Everything looked familiar again. It was because we were back near the Silungan area. OMG. I survived!!! We survived!!!

Sawa (Snake)

I have to say that the trek was not difficult. It was a mind-over-matter kind of thing because the highlights and other parts of the trek are safe (unless one is stupid enough to take a selfie at the edge of a rock or something) and the guide emphasized safety over anything else. I just had a hard time towards the end because I had cramps (I also had cramps while in Sagada), but I enjoyed the trail nonetheless.

This Legacy Tree Project Certificate belongs to me and Juan. We have a tree, named Alaala ng 111617 (Memory of 111617), which will be planted, taken cared of, and loved by the people of Masungi Georeserve on our behalf. I assume that 111617  stands for November 16, 2017, the date we visited Masungi Georeserve.

 

– Masungi Georeserve Conservation Fees for the Full Trail Visit is P1,500.00 (US $30.00)

 

– Individuals or small groups below seven interested to join the Shared Trail Visit must send a request and the following information to sharedtrail@masungigeoreserve.com at least 72 hours (3 days) before the desired visit date. Our team will review the request and send approval email or an alternative date if the schedule is full. Reservations are first come, first served with a maximum total of 15 persons per group.

 

For more information, please visit www.masungigeoreserve.com.

 

The following are lifted from the attachment we received from Masungi Georeserve:

Some reminders for Masungi Georeserve Guests:

A. What to Bring

• Kindly bring only copy of proof/s of payment, valid IDs, extra clothes, and valuables inside the georeserve. We can also provide you small bags to secure these items during the trail. We highly discourage bringing of large bags and unnecessary items inside that may make the trail less comfortable for you.
• Please bring your water jugs/tumblers – there are refilling stations the starting and end point of the trail. Typically, guests would consume a litre of water. This is at the Silungan (briefing area) and Liwasan (final rest stop). For the Summer Season, 1.5 to 2L was observed to be ideal for the trail.

Juan and I did not follow this particular number. We thought that since we had breakfast and we would be trekking for three to four hours only, 500-mL of water and four 20-gram bars of Snickers and some Mentos would be enough for both of us. Of course, we were so wrong!!! I was so thankful to see water at the end of the trek. #WaterIsLife

 Meals are not allowed to be brought inside. For your comfort, please eat a sufficient meal prior to the trail. The georeserve can allow trail food such as peanuts, chocolate, trail mixes, and biscuits. Complimentary light snacks will be served near the end of the trail.
• As there may be a couple more roads to get to the reserve, we strongly recommend you to bring a private vehicle.
B. What to Wear
• Do wear comfortable hiking attire and non-slip, closed shoes suitable for a hike. Slippers are not allowed inside the reserve. For added comfort, you may also bring gloves.
• There may be bouts of drizzles and rain from time to time. We recommend bringing extra clothes. Ponchos will be freely provided.
C. Policies
• Please review the reserve’s policies (i.e. no smoking, no littering and noise is prohibited, etc.) and waiver/health form with the entire group, including drivers, and aides. Policies apply to the whole georeserve, including the trail, the provided parking spaces, and the road/roadside fronting the gate.
• Please note that a penalty of PHP 3,000.00 automatically applies for the first non-compliance to littering, smoking, and picking/collection of animals, plants, and rocks policies.
• Omit personal tipping among park rangers. This ensures non-interference of visits to priority conservation work, and encourages consistency in experience among guests. These are critical from a holistic perspective. Should there be an absolutely inevitable need to tip, there is a communal bucket located in Silungan and Liwasan. This ensures equitable distribution among rangers doing guiding, maintenance, and protection work​s​.​

​ ​Please note that non-compliance may lead to the dismissal of the staff involved.

D. Others

• Guest restrooms are located in Silungan (briefing area). This is a quick 5-minute walk from the parking drop-off area.
• Expect the trail to slow down at two particular stops – Sapot and Duyan. There are time allotments for these stops to observe. Kindly listen to your park rangers and observe their instructions so as to maximise your time and visit.
• While trail visits are a rain or shine activity, cancellations due to extreme weather conditions may be made to ensure safety. Similarly, paths or stops may be diverted for critical concerns.

E. How to Get There

Via Private Transport
Route 1 via Marcos Highway (RECOMMENDED)
Cruise through Marcos Highway. You will pass through Masinag, Cogeo, Boso-Boso Resort, Foremost Farms, and Palo Alto. Slow down at Garden Cottages along Marcos Highway. The entrance to Masungi, signalled by its logo, will be on your right.
Route 2 Via Sampaloc in Tanay, from the Manila East Road
Take Sampaloc Road. You will pass by the street to Daranak Falls. Go straight until you arrived a junction. Turn left. Follow this scenic road. It’ll be a 45 minutes to an hour ride. You will pass by Sierra Madre resort on your right, and Ten Cents to Heaven. Kilometer 47 Masungi entrance, signalled by its logo, will be on your left when taking this route.
Via Public Transportation (JEEPS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL 6:30 PM)
Route 1 Via Cogeo
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. It’ll be the same route as Route 1 in private transportation.
Route 2 Via Tanay
Take a jeepney to Tanay town proper. Hire a tricycle to take you to Garden Cottages. Fare is P500 one way but can be haggled down to P350. Alternatively, you can hire up to the Sampaloc junction. There are jeepneys going to Antipolo/Cogeo that will pass by Kilometer 47 Masungi entrance.
**Things to account for: Jeeps and vehicles in general, are difficult to find once you get to Garden Cottages. You can spend up to an hour waiting for a jeepney. Added to this, jeeps are often filled to the roof when they pass by the area.**
**For guests coming from Metro Manila, kindly stay on Marcos Highway/ Marikina-Infanta Road up to Kilometer 47 (do not use the Manila East Road or Baras-Pinugay Road) to avoid getting lost or taking a significantly longer route.**

**While the location is on Waze, please note that it only gives the approximate location of the entrance (+/- 3 km, from observation). Kindly refer to the materials herewith for your peace of mind. Should you have companions taking a different vehicle, kindly share this with them as well.**
We strongly suggest that you familiarise yourself with the location of Kilometer 47 via Google maps and print our the location map below ahead of time. Signal is often very weak or non-existent in the area. Please take note that there are no grand entrances or signages. The entrance to the georeserve is signalled by a simple logo marker by the highway.
Masungi Georeserve Location Map: Use Marcos Highway route coming from Metro Manila. CLICK FOR GOOGLE MAPS
Masungi Georeserve Entrance Signage: At the right side of the road. For early morning guests, please note that the gates open at 5:00 am to 5:30 am.
Thank you and we look forward to seeing you around soon! Safe travels to the georeserve!

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