Masungi Legacy Trail
by Anna Maria Cos Alcantara
The Masungi trail is most famous for its Adventure trail, that features a big cobweb-shaped net where trekkers can take their Instagram-worthy pictures. This year, the Masungi Ecopark opened its new trail called the Legacy trail, that features an experience that you won’t find on your typical hike.
The trail begins with a briefing of the restoration and explains how this is different from the Adventure trail because this is more of educating people and how they can take part in the advocacy of the georeserve. The guides explained how there were groups that illegally claimed the land and exploited it. Some even claimed lands and dug up holes in search of “Mashita treasures” – a tale of supposed hidden treasures by the Japanese during their occupation.
The hike itself was not bad at all for a beginner – it wasn’t too steep, the path was paved well enough to find yourself back in case you fell behind, and the scenic views definitely helped in managing the impending fatigue. There was even a fresh basket of duhat that was waiting for us in the middle of the hike – a simple yet delicious treat that got us going for the rest of the trail.
The Legacy trail includes a unique activity that sets it apart from the Adventure trail – the tree nurturing activity. Normally, people would anticipate a tree planting activity, but our guides taught us that saving the earth doesn’t stop after you plant the seed, but it’s an everyday activity that involves actually nurturing the seedling. The activity involved spot brushing, where you clear the grass surrounding the seedling, and mulching, where loosen the soil under so that the seedling can better absorb the moisture and nutrients.
The tree nurturing activity taught us that restoration is a continuous activity that doesn’t just start and end with tree planting. Restoring takes a lot of effort and commitment, and it made me appreciate the park’s efforts not just in the actual restoration of the mountain, but also in their effort to educate people.
The hike continued and at the peak, Minalot meals awaited all of us that had a serving of pork, rice, and tomatoes. It was a great way to fuel up and reward ourselves after hiking and taking part of the tree nurturing activity,
After lunch, we were given some free time to take relax and recover before our decent. Just like the Adventure trail, there were rope nets and even floating teepees where we got to relax and sleep for a little while.
As we were resting, it made me appreciate the Masungi Georeserve’s initiative with the Legacy trail that doesn’t just leave you at awe at the beauty of the mountainside, but it also made me realize that it is important to educate people on how they can take part in the restoration efforts. A lot of people, as much as they’d like to do their part in saving Mother Earth, do not know where to begin. Some begin by boycotting plastic utensils, some make an effort to go zero waste, and while those are great ways to start, simply wanting to contribute and wanting to know how one can be of help is already a great place to begin.
Kudos to the Masungi Georeserve for their initiative on the Legacy trail that can be a leisure and educational experience.