Ngiting Ngiti sa Masungi

 

Visited Jan 21, 2017 Saturday. Appointment time 730AM. Time of actual hike 830am to 1230pm.

 

 

 

I’m one of those people who was fairly intimidated by all the pictures of this place posted by bloggers online. Isn’t it scary to cross some steel wire ropes with God knows how high above with nothing to hold on to? Or that you have to ascend and descend a number of rope nets without a harness…but all that with a helmet so that at least was comforting.  But everything looks fun and finally reservation was made and paid for like since April 2016. I’m not kidding it’s hard to get a slot on a weekend!

 

 

I’m not going to spoil the place for you. We all need that element of surprise anyway. I’ve come up wth a list of tips and some tricks to prepare you on your visit.

 

 

  1. Reserve as early as possible. They accept groups minimum of 7 to maximum of 14 person. Stop asking kung pwede ang 6! haha! Well pwede but you have to pay for the minimum number which is 7pax. Hindi pwede ang 15!!! I think that 10 is a good number. Kasyang kasya kayo sa Sapot for group picture without being too crowded. Rates: 1800 for weekend and 1500 for weekdays.
  2. Masungi Georeserve is located in Km 47, Marcos Highway Marikina-Infanta Road, Baras, Rizal. Just put that address in waze and you won’t get lost. Cellphone signal is scarce to almost none in the area so better load it up before you go.
  3. Their visit schedule  starts as early as 530am with a 30 minutes interval per group. Last visit is at 130pm. 3-4 hours per group to complete the whole area, picture taking and rest stops included.
  4. Wear your most comfiest sporty attire. Dri fit shirt, leggings or shorts and closed hiking or rubber shoes.
  5. Bring sunblock, shades, cap, trail food and camera.  They will provide you with a drawstring backpack to put your necessities plus 2 500 ml bottled water. You can bring your own bag if you prefer not to use theirs. Any other things you brought like change of clothes you can leave in the briefing area.
  6. There is a 7-10 minute walk from the parking area to the briefing area (Silungan). Consider that as your warm up.
  7. Their restrooms are clean and nice with almost complete amenities (there’s sunblock and insect repellant BUT walang mirror!). Be mindful that they can only be found at the start and end of your visit.
  8. The time of our visit was perfect. January weather is really the best. Sunny but breezy. Sadly hindi kinaya ng drone.
  9. Make sure all your gadgets even your shades have a strap attached. Because when it slips down, it may be gone forever.
  10. Sandwiches, banana and calamansi juice will be waiting for you at the end of your visit. After eating you may still hang out and rest at the hammock place beside it. You need to regain your strength going up the stairs back to Silungan or the briefing area where you will return the helmets and bags. They wash the helmets after every use.
  11. I handed my pocket camera to our park ranger Carlitos. 90% of my pictures were by him. Thank you Carlitos! A pocket camera is all you really need. Mine’s a Canon S90. If you have a Go Pro, That’s perfect for those wide angle shots.
  12. The park rangers were constantly updating their positions by radio. The 15 minute per group per site were mostly followed. You will feel that you’re the only people inside the park. For the above price per head, I’d say take all the pictures that you want. Yun lang if you take too long, the next group won’t have a choice but to close in on you. Photobombers alert haha!

 

 

So GO.FOR.IT.

 

 

YOU.CAN.DO.THIS.

 

 

I think that even the unfit or a 13 year old can do it (that’s their minimum age to join btw). The hike is actually fairly easy. The trail even the stairs are all cemented and well maintained. What slowed us down was of course the picture taking, as expected.  No harness going down? Kapit na lang. Hands and feet nakakapit sa rope haha.

 

 

 

 

xoxo,

Mitzi

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Photo Diary : Batad

Aerial view of the amphitheatre like terraces of Batad

The journey to Banaue took 8.5 hrs. Our guide met us at Banaue bus terminal then brought us to some random nearby resto for breakfast. After eating, we bought water, snacks and other necessities at the market. Everything is cheaper here in Banaue than in Batad. Travel time is 1 hour by jeep. She said it’s a must that we ride it toploading style. Ooohhh! It was the best experience ever! Zigzaging downhill road with the majestic view of Banaue rice terraces and the fresh, cold morning air. Anlamiiig! Still kapit lang. We toploaded for like 45 minutes!!! Bad for our butts but we did enjoy every minute of it.  The new saddle point was maybe 1 km down the old one. We registered and rented a walking stick (must!) and went down for a 45 mins downhill walk to Batad town. Our guide said we are lucky because we had good weather that day. The sun peeked out after it rained the past 5 days. That explains the muddy trail. It was an exercise just to reach our homestay. Downhill stairs and boulders. Mud. I cringed at the thought of going uphill at these trail tomorrow when we go back.

We stayed at Ramon’s homestay and after putting down our things we trekked the terraces best view deck and nearby Tappiyah Falls. Balancing yourself walking around the terraces was definitely not easy. You have to choose where you’ll fall.  Muddy water halfway to your leg on your left or 7 ft down on your right.

After 25281229 steps later…We arrived at Tappiyah Falls. The trek to and from this falls is exhausting that one of my friends loudly asked why are we doing this to ourselves hahaha! After the balancing act we did on the terraces, we now faced uneven stairs and boulders going down and lunged at the same going up. Too much exercise in 1 day! Too bad the water is freezing cold, feels like we will die of hypothermia if we try to take a dip. Not one of us even dared put our feet to the water. Bring lots of energy, water, walking stick and a drone. The view is so worth the body pains we felt the next day 🙂 .

After 3.5 hours trek roundtrip,  we are back to our homestay woohoo!  That was around 2pm already. We pre-ordered lunch (lunch and early dinner na yun)but surprise surprise it still took nearly an hour to be served. We assumed after our shower we won’t have the energy to go out again and eat so we ate like a king lol. All we wanted to do at this point is collapse into bed. Oh but we have to shower first. In freezing water! The bathroom near our hut doesn’t have hot water. You have to go all the way up the main house (it’s way way up) if you want bathroom with water heater. I braved the cold water. After 5 mins I’m done haha. Some of my friends had a massage at our hut at 300/pax. We slept soundly that night haha.

Here’s some of our pictures on this trip…

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VIP seats
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Many say that Batad Rice Terraces is the best among the 5 rice terraces included in the Unesco World Heritage Site because of it’s ampitheatre like structure.
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Pilapil walk
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Pilapil walk

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too many stairs going to Tappiyah Falls
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25281229 steps later…Tappiyah falls – Freezing water!

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Pilapil walk again going back.
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our accomodation for the night.
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Igorot costume for the ladies. (credits to Allan Geraldez for this photo)
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our view while having breakfast 🙂

xoxo,

Mitzi

 

Read more tips here :

24 hours in Batad

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Mt. Batulao Photodiary

Last June, as our last hurrah of summer,  we did a traverse day hike of Mt. Batulao from the new trail to old trail. The new trail is harder but with 360 view. Old trail is easier but the soil are more loose and no view. It rained the day before and as expected the trail going up was muddy which kinda slowed us down. Arrived at the summit at 6am. We stayed for a max of 45 mins at the top. At 10am we’re back at the base with many 5-10 mins rest in between. I Paid 40 pesos for 2 pails of water for bathing. Omg the best 40 pesos I spent! It’s sooo hot going down that I didn’t even rested much when I arrived. All I want is to shower. And not with hot water. Take note that there’s no decent food to eat at the base, just a few sari sari store. Puyat, gutom at pagod! Bad combinations. We were all so cranky and would like to get out of there as soon as possible. Good thing Tagaytay is just a few kilometers away.

Ready to hike at 3:30am.
Ready to hike at 3:30am.
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One lane only.
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headlamp is a must.
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Bangin sa kanan, bangin sa kaliwa 🙂
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Posing at sunrise 🙂
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Kaya pa ba?
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Almost there!
811 meters above sea level
811 meters above sea level
Team Berks at the summit.
Team Berks at the summit.
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Pause-ing.
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Magtiwala sa lubid.
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Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. – Ed Viesturs
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What goes up must come down.
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Hi-king and queen.
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While resting in one of the camp site, we overheard another hiker said: sabi nila pag nareach mo ang summit at nakita mo ang magandang tanawin mawawala ang pagod mo. Parang hindi naman, pagod pa rin ako. Hahaha!
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Old trail
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Can’t wait to take a shower lol

Must bring:

Water at least 2 liters per pax
Snacks (we have jelly ace, chocolate, cookies, boiled egg and sandwiches)
Head lamp or flash light
Shades
Cap
Change of clothes
slippers (you will need these during your shower and after)

Our Mt. Batulao Travel Video

 

Thanks for dropping by!

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