Back in May 2017, I joined a group for a brief excursion to Tanay, Rizal’s Mt. Masungki. The climb was very successful and in the process, I gained new friends who were more than enthusiastic to involve me in further climbs and adventures. One of the adventures that were mentioned during our climb is neighboring Baras, Rizal’s famed Masungi Georeserve. Moreover, Masungi Georeserve can be viewed from Nagpatong Rock, a part of our Mt. Masungki adventure. However, gaining admission to the private reserve is a challenge because it is fully-booked months in advance, especially weekend.

But my newly-gained friends were not ones to back down from such kind of challenges. Because majority of us agreed in form, my friend, Ryan Case, kept watch of the available dates to visit the Georeserve. Due to his diligence, he was able to lock in a date that everyone was amenable to. However, it was still months ahead in September. But now that everything has been arranged, we just have to look forward to the day when it comes.

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The perfect weather and the perfect conditions – a perfect day to get in touch again with nature.

September 10, 2017

Finally our reserved date has arrived. Thankfully, Case, has already arranged for everything, from booking our reservation in Masungi to looking for possible side trips after our Masungi adventure, to arranging our transportation going to the private reserve. Well he is cool like that. The only thing we, the participants, had to do was pay and bring ourselves at the meeting place, which, luckily is at Greenfield District, a walking distance from my home. When the day came, I was well-rested and very much prepared for the challenge ahead.

From the original Mt. Masungki crew, new faces were added to the group. Again and again, I have reiterated this – if there is one thing that I have learned to appreciate from mountain climbing it is the chance of meeting new people, gaining new friends. Mountain climbing has definitely changed the dynamics of my life. A year ago, I was just wasting away my weekends but a year thence, I have become more active physically. On top of that, I have become more outgoing. Moreover, I have opened parts of my private life to virtual strangers. In spite of these, I have grown exponentially as an individual.

When everyone in our group has gathered around, we departed at around 2 AM for Baras Rizal and reached Masungi Georeserve at around 6 AM. Everybody is rousing from their deep slumber. Even the Georeserve is slowly waking up from its torpor. The morning view, as expected, is astounding. We are miles away from the city and the sun is up – nothing could beat this combination. This is going to be a promising day. We prepared our things first before heading out to the entrance area. On our way, we were greeted by an array of fauna and karst rock formations, which combined in a harmonious display. It was all astonishing to say the least.

Our group gathered around first for the obligatory meet-and-greets. There’s quite a lot of new faces as my friends invited their friends who invited their friends – networking at its finest. It is all for the better; as the old adage goes, the more the merrier. Meet-and-greets are usually your round-of-the-mill type and our meet-and-greet is turning out to be the same. That was until someone gave a witty response to the question, “Why do you climb.” He said he climbs because he is a “social climber.” That got us all cracking up in a chorus of laughter. Of course, his answer was a pun. With the preliminaries continued with a simple prayer of guidance shortly followed by a brief orientation by our guides.

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Our first obstacle for the day. In fact, there are numerous netted areas in the georeserve. It is bound to be a test for both upper and lower muscles.

The Georeserve was once the hotbed of illegal logging activities, resulting to the fast deterioration of the once thickly-forested area. Since then, a private concerned citizen obtained ownership of the area and worked on rejuvenating it to its former glory. For years, he worked on reforesting the area and in a decade’s time, what he had begun started to bear fruits. In time, he developed the area into an outdoor nature facility where visitors can immerse in adventure and in nature at the same time. It became viral when a video of its giant “Duyan” (Hammock) was featured by an international travel blog and by local travel bloggers as well. All of these free advertisements promoted the area to both local and international travelers.

Post-orientation, we began our tour around the area. The trail is quite easy to follow because it is a paved pathway which slithers through narrow rock formations and tree-covered foliage. We simply followed our guide and in time we reached our first obstacle where we had to climb a rock using the net, which, I assume, was placed there so as not to cause further injury to the rocks. Besides, it makes the climb all the more thrilling. It wasn’t a long climb though and those with fear of heights can easily get through it. After the first climb, we came to the first highlight and first stop of the discovery trail – the “sapot” (spiderweb). We had to wait for our turn though as a group went ahead of us.

Unfortunately, we had to wait for a while because the group ahead of us were taking their time. We could hear their jeers and shouts of excitement and approval, although it did kind of annoy us (haha) because we wanted our turn already. We were that excited! But when we finally took our turn, we immediately understood why it took them a while to complete their photo session. The view and the landscape are simply amazing. It is indeed a sight to behold.

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“Ang Sapot ni Eric” is today’s first highlight. Photo by Glen Eclarino
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The spiderweb inspired structure is also one of the georeserve’s most idyllic spot. This one here is our first group shot. Photo by Glen Eclarino

 

With childlike giddiness, we all took turns in having our pictures be taken. Some of my friends even researched in advance as to the possible poses they could do at the “sapot”. Meanwhile, the naïve me simply went by my body’s instincts. Although I wanted to take a jump shot, it is prohibited by the park’s management and visitors caught violating this simple provision could be banned from gaining future admission to the park.

From the “sapot”, we proceeded to our next stops. So as to not bother you with my words, I’ll just let the following pictures relate our adventure to Masungi Georeserve.

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Towering rock formations such as this one abound the area.
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The rock formations reminded me of Sagada’s limestone rock formations.
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A group photo at the structure referred to as the bird’s nest because the structure was inspired by the bird’s lair. An overview of the structure can be seen in the piece’s cover photo. Most of the structures in the area are inspired by nature. Photo by Glen Eclarino
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Then of course, there is the famed giant hammock or “duyan” to locals.
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The obligatory group picture at the duyan. Photo by Glen Eclarino

 

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It was truly a great day to explore. Look at those limestone formations! Aside from Sagada, it reminded me of the Elephant Rock formations in Palawan.
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These rocks actually have been named. I am not sure if this rock is the mother rock or the father rock.
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Any adventure would not be complete without those high flying antics. Yeah! Obligatory jump shot!
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And thus ends our adventure in the stomach of the “sawa”, the snake-like bridge.

 

 

At the end of the four-hour course, we were treated to a snack. Please note that the snacks are part of the package availed. After our brief respite, we returned to the entrance area to prepare for our next destination. But first, lunch! We headed out to a restaurant along the highway. When we have had our fill, we proceeded to Palo Alto falls to wash up and to cap our day of fun and adventure.

Until the next climb!

P.S. Don’t bother asking me about the falls. I am not sure why but Tanay falls simply have this way of disappointing me.

Afterthought, why do you climb? Comment down your answers 🙂

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Just trying to pretend… Borrowing an idea (and a book) from a friend.
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Another adventure in the books. Now, where to next? Photo by Glen Eclarino 

 

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