Masungi Georeserve’s New Trail Features

Masungi Georeserve, a conservation area and karst rock garden hidden in the rainforests of Rizal, aims to protect the natural landscape through sustainable and responsible tourism. Since they opened to the public about a year ago, they’ve become a much sought-after weekend destination for those based in the metro. The Discovery Trail has visitors passing through caves, rope courses, hanging bridges, relaxing on a giant hammock and getting stunning views from a spiderweb-like viewdeck.

Those who are still planning their visit or haven’t been here yet will be happy to note that they’ve recently added new features to the eco-trail: Bayawak, Barangay Dahon, and Sawa. They’ve also opened a sustainable dining space called Silayan which is in its soft launch.

According to Billie Dumaliang, Advocacy Officer of Masungi Georeserve, the new features the park were put together using low-impact methods and materials, ensuring the least impact to the natural environment by their in-house artisans and rangers. The Bayawak (Filipino term for lizard) is a steep rope course shaped like a monitor lizard. Visitors need to crawl like one as they climb up or down its sleek and slender body.

I noticed a lot of hammocks scattered throughout the trail during my visit, where visitors could just relax and catch their breath. Now, there’s a whole area dedicated just to them. Barangay Dahon (or Leaf Village) is a collection of hammocks and swings inspired by the different leaves and fruits inside the georeserve. After your trek, you can just hang around some more, relax and catch the breeze here.

Sawa (the Filipino term for python) is a rapid exit for handicapped or elderly trail visitors. Trail guests who choose not to finish the trail route can easily stroll through the belly of the giant snake to take a shortcut back to the entrance of the Discovery Trail.

The last time I visited, the discovery trail included light snacks after the trail, but we had to head elsewhere to get a full meal. It’s good to know that Masungi Georeserve now has its own in-house restaurant, which looks like a very promising and beautiful dining destination. It’s open exclusively for confirmed trail guests.

Silayan is a sustainable restaurant that aims to help local farmers and producers around Masungi Georeserve. They serve dishes which make use of locally sourced ingredients. One of these is a special version of Sinigang that uses the indigenous Katmon, a type of fruit that tastes similar to green sour apples. It’s commonly used as a sauce or jam and is good for flavoring fish because of its acidic, juicy taste.

Meals are served with black/red/brown organic heirloom rice, salads, appetizers and signature shakes with wild honey. The restaurant, which is only currently open for trail guests, has a 360-degree backdrop of Laguna de Bay, the city and Sierra Madre mountains.

The dishes here make use of ingredients sourced within a 20 km radius of the area. Dining here is optional and costs an additional P600 per guest. Please note that guests experiencing the trail at 12 noon onwards must take their meals before the trail. Payments are to be settled in cash on site in the meantime. Check this link to see the set menu and other information about dining in Silayan.

For other information on Masungi Georeserve, including the basic trail features, rates and how to get there, please read my previous post.

NOTE: Masungi Georserve continues to be firmly committed to their conservation of land, heritage and biodiversity through research, geotourism and the development of local communities. They were recently recognized at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, accomplished a research grant from the National Geographic Young Explorers Program, conducted the first Community Conference on Conservation, Livelihood, IP Rights and Agriculture, and have an on-going Medical Mission for 2017.

All new trail feature photos courtesy of Masungi Georeserve

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