Conquering Masungi
Stop dreaming about your bucket list and start living it.
— Annette White

I don’t have a bucketlist. I’ve tried making one, but the list got ridiculously long that I just told myself to grab almost every opportunity available and say yes to new things. Experiencing Masungi Georeserve would be one of the items included in that list, if I did continue writing it.

I remember trying to come up with a group a few years ago to meet the minimum of seven (7) pax but never got around to completing it due to the complexities of everyone’s schedules. Some also backed out because of physical constraints or fear of heights.

Speaking of fear of heights, I never knew I had one until I climbed up and down the ropes and seeing the great outdoors way way way way below my feet.

Speaking of fear of heights, I never knew I had one until I climbed up and down the ropes and seeing the great outdoors way way way way below my feet.

I told myself to NOT look down so as not to get overwhelmed with the daunting view. But that’s close to impossible as you have to see where to put your feet. Oh, and here’s a tip. DON’T wear shoes with grips. Mine kept on snagging on the ropes and since the trail is pretty much manicured for the most part, even regular sneakers would be acceptable for the hike.

I told myself to NOT look down so as not to get overwhelmed with the daunting view. But that’s close to impossible as you have to see where to put your feet. Oh, and here’s a tip. DON’T wear shoes with grips. Mine kept on snagging on the ropes and since the trail is pretty much manicured for the most part, even regular sneakers would be acceptable for the hike.

So when my aunt mentioned that my cousins wanted to see Masungi, I organized the trip right away and booked the trail visit even without the guarantee of meeting the required number of heads. We were already four gunning for the trip, what’s another three heads, right? And after inviting extended family members, we actually came up with a group of eleven.

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Kuya Ruben, our OG Ranger Guide (he has a cave named after him!), said that the hike usually takes around three hours. Ummmm, it took us almost five (5) hours because our millennials kept on taking photos (no judgement, just stating a fact). Do it for the Gram! I would have taken longer also if I brought my big camera but I only dared to bring the tiny Osmo Pocket because I wanted my hands free to grab on to rocks or ropes JUST IN CASE. The Pocket was actually stuffed in my pocket for the most part because I was scared I’d drop it during the steep climbs.

YUNGIB NI RUBEN. Inside the cave that Kuya Ruben discovered, which is aptly named after him.

YUNGIB NI RUBEN. Inside the cave that Kuya Ruben discovered, which is aptly named after him.

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Masungi has been my safest hike so far because the trails are cemented and some parts of the forest are manicured, making it a relatively easy hike for the most part.

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Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a test on your endurance and leg power thanks to steep climbs and countless steps getting to the peaks of each stop. But I think the fear of heights, as well as the paranoia of being with the unknown while being in complete darkness for a few minutes when you enter one particular cave, takes over the physical component of the hike.

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Hush, hush

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Take this opportunity to slow down your mind and be one with nature. Keep the noise level down and listen to the birds and the rustling of the trees. We are visitors so let’s respect the park and its inhabitants.

“Our core commitment is to work towards a balance coexistence of man and nature in our little piece of paradise.” - Masungi Georeserve

“Our core commitment is to work towards a balance coexistence of man and nature in our little piece of paradise.” - Masungi Georeserve


Age is nothing but a number

….or so they say. I’m now 40 years old, somehow in good shape, but I must admit I’ve been feeling quite a bit of body pains recently. I started late in the fitness game, with my body being on sleep mode for the first 35 years of my life. Holy moly had I known earlier that moving my body would be an addiction, I would’ve started working out, especially hiking, earlier!

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One of the things that I try to remember all the time is it’s never too late to try something new. I believe in it for the most part . . . learning how to swim though is something that I still have to convince myself to take on. Eeeek. My kids encourage and inspire me to NOT hold back and to just do it (hello, Nike).

There is no such thing as age appropriate when it comes to a lot of things, whether it be jumping on a trampoline, doing high intensity workouts, or conquering a mountain. Exploring outside my comfort zone used to be something I’d do only when drunk so the past few years have been quite a ride with me saying yes to almost anything thrown my way.


Don’t turn around. Don’t look back. Keep moving forward. Keep pushing. The pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, not the beginning.
— Ziad K. Abdelnour
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We huffed and we puffed, excited to hit the peak of this mountain to get the best view of this beautiful gift from Momma Nature. This particular moment was close to a sensory overload — feeling the mist on my face with the roaring of the wind close to my ear, seeing this rainbow up close, with the earthy smell closing the loop of what was one of my best days (so far) this year. So will I do this again?

a big fat

yes


The only photo that I took in this article was the one with the rainbow. Thank you so much to Miko Tabuena, Justin Cabarrus, Pau Vasquez, Nina Almeda, and Lai Cervantes for sharing your photos! Thank you also to Don Tabuena for the drone footage that accompanied my video clips at the beginning of this article. And of course, thanks to my dear husband Miguel for editing the video!

Workaholic and multitasking momma who absolutely enjoys what she does as Executive Producer for OTT.  Has faulty memory so taking photos of almost everything is part of her everyday life.