[Travel] Masungi: Where ‘Hanging Out With Friends’ Takes a Whole New Level

The province of Rizal is comparable to that of a sweet uncle who, at first glance, looked downright boring with his tweed pants and shoeshine loafers. But once you get to know him, he can fill your afternoon with great stories and jokes, drawing you in until you can't get enough. As someone who was born and raised in Marikina, then lived in Taytay, Rizal for a few years, I never thought Rizal as a treasure trove for scenic mountaineering, noteworthy museums for art and history, and thrilling adventures.

One such adventure took us to the Masungi Georeserve Park. Now even before they opened it for the public, Masungi trended in social media because of its famous "Giant Duyan" or hammock (see below)

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But Masungi turned out to be more than that place with a giant Duyan. It will force you to test your guts, your latent fear of heights and maybe your ability to take a selfie with nothing but a network of ropes keeping you from plunging to your death below. That's why they call the Masungi trek a Discovery Trail in the first place.

 

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The Park has been a center of land-grabbing issues between the owners and the government. Minor skirmishes were common and some soldiers were stationed due to the threat. Otherwise, it was relatively safe.

 

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Masungi’s name is derived from the word “masungki” which translates to “spiked” - an apt description for the sprawling limestone landscape found within.

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The famous Sapot

 

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Going down the Duyan

 

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Complimentary snacks await you once you overcome the Duyan (100% Organic!)

 

 

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So how will you plan your Masungi Adventure? It's easy. For one, you don't have to worry about the terrain that much. Masungi is for regular and beginner hikers, limited to persons 13 years and above.

First thing to do is booking your trip. The last time we went there, it was around April and we heard most of the time slots were fully booked until this coming November.You can check out the dates on this site: http://www.masungigeoreserve.com/  I don't think they would accept walk-in tours by now. They limit the guests to preserve the area and for security reasons.

I don't think they would accept walk-in tours by now. They limit the guests to preserve the area and for security reasons. See, even the name of the park has a word 'reserve' on it.

Second, plan a trip with more or less thirteen people. If you're traveling in small numbers, just join the 'joiners' package' on mountaineering groups on Facebook. If you already knew some climbers or avid hikers, you guys can create a tour of your own. You need to have a group of more than 7 hikers and a maximum of 13.

Third, know the rate so you can budget your transportation accordingly. We paid PHP1, 400.00 per head, regardless of how many we were. Since we had no idea how to get there, we decided to rent a van and that's where the beauty of traveling with a large group comes in. You can save a lot of energy and money, especially when it's time to go home and your energy is almost depleted with the hiking. Hiring a van or a jeep is not that necessary but it's a huge relief to do so.

Fourth, plan your timeslot. Most of the timeslots in the mornings are already taken, but traveling around mid-day is not that bad either (that is if you can endure the early afternoon sun) Make sure to consider the places where your fellow hikers would be coming from.

Remember that the trail will take around 3-4 hours, depending on your pace. Some people opt to have side-trips like Daranak waterfalls if they took the early morning slot.

Masungi is really an unforgettable adventure on its own. I don't think my pictures or my words can encapsulate how awesome the experience was. You have to be there to enjoy it, as cliche as this will sound.

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Locator map from the website