10 Things You’ll See At Masungi Georeserve

In the mid-’90s, this area in Rizal, Philippines, was practically wiped out, thanks to illegal loggers who chopped down trees, displacing most of the wildlife. By 1996, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) decided to do something about it. They teamed up with conservationists to not just restore its natural flora and fauna, but also design a hiking landscape that’s both tourist-friendly and environmental.

After 20 years, a flourishing Masungi Georeserve opened its doors to the public, albeit with strict ecological rules, like the limited number of visitors allowed per day. You’ve probably seen breathtaking videos of Masungi Georeseve all over travel websites and Facebook pages. That’s exactly how I found out about it and booked a trip with my group this month. For those interested in visiting Masungi, here are the 10 main spots you’ll see during your hike.

1. Silungan. The receiving and briefing areas for guests, the silungan is where you’ll meet your guide, hear the history of Masungi, learn about the park rules, and pick a helmet (required for all guests). Free water refills are available in this area. Even the toilets have artistic landscapes.

Our guide, Tatay Ping (in green, left) shared the history of Masungi and their park rules.

2. Hanging bridges. I counted about four hanging bridges of different lengths and sizes.

Hanging bridge #1 with Gideon (left) and Mark (middle)
Look closely and you’ll see the longest hanging bridge of Masungi.

3. Sapot. Also known as the metal spiderweb, this is the main feature of masungi. After climbing sharp rock formations, going through caves, and crossing hanging bridges, you’re rewarded with this giant spiderweb overlooking Masungi. Fear of heights? Brace yourself! You’ll also see a lot of other mini webs (woven ropes) around the park.

Metal spiderweb, a.k.a. sapot
Kate was here.

4. Ditsey. It’s where you’ll see the cactus garden and other sprawling landscapes.

Cactus garden. Our guide gave us lessons in flora and fauna. They once had a pet monkey that they released into the wild. They named a cave after her.
En route to the next hanging bridge

5. Patak. It’s the air house located in the middle of one of the hanging bridges.

The air house
With Mark, one of my hiking buddies

6. Duyan. It’s the Tagalog word for swing, hammock, or cradle. Many international travel publications have featured this giant hammock in their videos.

Oh nothing. Just hanging with my girls on the biggest mountain hammock I’ve ever seen.
View of the giant hammock from the other side of the mountain

7. Yungib ni Ruben. This cave was named after the Ruben, the guy who discovered it.

8. Tatay. The Filipino word for father, Tatay is the first peak of Masungi.

View of Tatay from Nanay’s side
Bag art by Picasas.

9. Nanay. The Filipino word for mother, Nanay is peak #2. It features five limestone rock peaks interconnected by bridges.

Nanay (peak #2)
It was a challenge to climb Nanay’s sharp limestone rocks. I ended up with a few bruises and scratches. Shoutout to my friends Elle and Sandra!

10. Liwasan. It means “park” in English. Here you’ll find a garden, reflection pond, and as we discovered during last week’s visit, web-like structures that look like they’re set to be an adult playground. Too bad it won’t be ready until 2017.

New areas to climb and explore, coming in 2017
Liwasan, the last stop of the hike before they take you to another silungan for complementary snacks

Want to see more? Watch my video here.

Photos by Kate Was Here and Banjo Joson of Gala.