Masungi Georeserve Reopens
After more than a year of being cooped up at home, nothing beats stretching your legs, challenging your body that's been resting for too long, and breathing in fresh air from the slopes of Sierra Madre. You'll be glad to know that Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal, a favorite outdoor attraction among weekend travelers, is reopening its doors after a lot of back and forth in quarantine restrictions. In an announcement on Wednesday night, October 20, the conservation and geo-tourism site said that both Discovery and Legacy Trail visits now resume on a limited basis.
You're required to pre-register with a small group from five to eight hikers, which is a significant drop compared to their previous capacity of seven to 14 persons per private trail visit. Only one group is accommodated per time slot to ensure zero impact on the natural environment as well as for the privacy and experience of visitors. It's highly recommended that you book at least three days ahead or even one week in advance. Only day trails are open as of the moment with five available time slots (from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.) per day from Tuesday to Sunday.
Since this is an outdoor attraction, Masungi Georeserve can accept both fully vaccinated and non-vaccinated guests who are 18 years old and above. Minimum health guidelines such as submitting of health forms, wearing of masks, and social distancing are also implemented. Fees per head start at P1,500.
There are two types of trails to choose from: Discovery and Legacy. Discovery Trail, which takes three to four hours, features walkthroughs along rope courses and stopovers at viewing decks. The trail was updated in 2017 with new paths, such as the "Sawa"—a rapid exit for handicapped and elderly visitors. It could also be your much-needed tap-out route when you just can't continue on the trail anymore. The long hanging bridge safely enclosed in nets and ropes looks a lot like the belly of a giant python.
Discovery Trail also has "Barangay Dahon," a stopover for when you just need a few minutes of rest. It has hammocks and swings shaped like the leaves and fruits inside the georeserve, thus the name.
Lastly, there's the "Bayawak," which is a steep rope course shaped like the local monitor lizard. The trail may be difficult but it's worth it when you get to the top of the karst terrain of limestone rocks.
Legacy Trail, which was a new addition in 2018, features a bamboo-lined uphill path called the "Kawayan," and a series of floating huts and ropeways called the "Amihan." It offers first-hand experience in tree planting and tree nurturing, as well as the day-to-day struggles of conservation and other restoration efforts. Guests also get to share a humble minalot, a rice meal prepared and packed in banana leaves.
Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area conceptualized to fight illegal logging and land-grabbing activities prevalent in the area in the late 1990s. It was one of the 15 finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow 2019 awards by the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Masungi Georeserve is at Garden Cottages, Kilometer 45 Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal. Rates start at P1,500. For more information, visit Masungi Georeserve's website.
This story originally appeared on Spot.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.