I capped my trip to the Philippines with a “hike” at Masungi Georeserve. I added quotation marks because it was essentially an active and engaging tour of the reservation. We had a park ranger take us around and educate us on different aspects of the reservation. There was a good mix of natural and man-made spots at Masungi — it was like an obstacle course, for which reason I found my visit to be an unusual hike.
Since Masungi is a protected area, there are some rules that must be followed. The park ranger gives an orientation at the beginning of the visit, but here are some rules that stuck:
- Wear your helmet. The reservation protects, among other things, rocks that formed below sea level long, long ago. With these come interesting caves that are part of the trail. The point of wearing the helmet is to avoid scraping your head on the cave ceiling. I felt the ceiling scratch the surface of my helmet as I walked through some caves, so OK, I get it.
- Don’t make extremely loud noises. Your loud voice will echo throughout the reservation and may potentially scare off some animals that the park rangers have worked so hard to provide a sanctuary for. We had fun, bitter, and sawi (translation: broken-hearted) conversations during the visit — even our park ranger joined in — so talking is OK, being obnoxious not so much.
- Do not litter. Please. People should learn to respect and protect the environment. The Philippines is rich with natural beauty, yet so many take this for granted. This may be extreme, but let’s not let it ever get to the point of no return e.g. Pasig River.