Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday, August 07, 2017

It's almost impossible to have a quick getaway from Metro Manila what with the lack of appealing attractions to choose from. There are only a few weekend destinations that are both easily accessible and impressive if you're working the daily grind from Monday to Friday. Even those on freelance schedule or vacation leaves on weekdays are finding it hard to find a suitable venue for impromptu adventure and relaxation. In situations like these, Antipolo City's Mount Purro Nature Reserve (MPNR) is literally a breath of fresh air.

"Hike, Eat, Swim" Package

Nestled at the foothills of the enduring Sierra Madre, MPNR is the perfect unhurried escape for people who hustle hard. Such vacationers are starting to appreciate its native-inspired lodgings, special event facilities and secluded swimming pool. Most importantly, its day tour package called "Hike, Eat, Swim" is giving them the best value for their hard-earned money because communing with nature is actually a priceless experience. It's something that they're surprised to find less than two hours from the metro in this rural side of Rizal.

Loft Cottage
Loft Cottage
Pavilion Hostel with bunk beds
The swimming pool with a view of Mount Purro
Resort guests lounging at the property

Experiencing The Forest Trail As An Overnight Guest

I had the chance to hike the short Forest Trail within the MPNR property as part of my overnight stay while booked at the rustic Loft Cottage. My short trek was both easy and difficult in that it only took me an hour to reach the trek culmination called Malvar's Peak, but it was also a bit challenging on the way up where the elevation gain was obvious.

Get A Hike Guide

The steady and winding ascent of the four-kilometer trail to the 420 MASL-summit can easily wear down the unfit which is why a hike guide is required to make the experience safe and satisfying. In my case, my guide during my hike (as coordinated at the front desk) was a female Dumagat named Pipoy who proved to be as tough and quick on her toes as those I've seen in the Dumagat community of Maktang in General Nakar.

Pipoy was a hoot to chat with. She had a lot of stories to tell about the folklore of her tribe and how she would fix her tooth aches as a kid using the burnt fiber from a coconut husk and other natural remedies that she learned from her Dumagat parents.

The highly-vegetated scenery along the Forest Trail
Finally reaching the breezy summit with a stick and mineral water in tow
The view from Malvar's Peak
Picking ripened avocado along the trail for snacking
The Well-Trodden Trail and Steady Ascent

The hike started on a well-trodden trail with little elevation gain. After passing some impressive boulders, I braced for the ascent. From a certain elevation past the set of buho (bamboo) and anahaw-dotted trail where the avocado tree is located, I expected to make 270 steps more to reach the summit. Once there, the expansive views of Mount Purro and the rest of the Sierra Madre looked impressive on a clear day. I was so glad I postponed my original plan to do the hike a day prior due to an afternoon rainfall. The morning hike after a hefty breakfast of champorado, sardines and longganisa at Loli's Kitchen of MPNR was so worth it!

Recommended For Beginners

The Forest Trail is highly recommended for hiking beginners as the reward of reaching the summit doesn't demand much effort and time to achieve. Hikes can be scheduled at different times of the day (5:30am or 7:30am or 9:30am or 4:00pm). It's incorporated in MPNR's limited time Rainy Day Promo packages like the Family Forest Getaway, Barkada Nature Trip, and Tree Hugger's Escape. Check out the details of these promos here.

The kid-friendly swimming pool of Mount Purro Nature Reserve
The steady ascent of the Forest Trail
The expansive view of the Sierra Madre from the summit
Pipoy, my Dumagat hike guide
It's better to try it with friends or family members to make the experience more memorable and fun. See tibig or sacking trees along the way. Walk past a garden of gabi. Take your time to rest at the breezy Malvar's Peak and pick a ripened avocado for snacking on your way down. Lastly, remember to give a decent tip to your hiking guide.

Watch A Short Video of Malvar's Peak:

How To Commute For Mount Purro Nature Reserve From Cubao:

• Board a Cogeo-bound jeepney or van. Get off at the commute culmination, along the highway at the corner of the street to the Cogeo Public Market.
• Board a Panenaan-bound jeepney along the highway where the jeepney terminal is located. Get off at Kanto Veterans.
• At Kanto Veterans, cross the highway to board two succeeding tricycle rides for Barangay Calawis. Tell the drivers that you're bound for the resort. The last tricycle ride will drop you off at the resort entrance.
Note: Upon check-out or after your day tour, you can coordinate a tricycle ride out of the resort with the front desk officer.

Read more about Mount Purro Nature Reserve.

Buffet Lunch as part of the "Hike, Eat, Swim" day tour package
Rivo, the resort's pet dog at the summit

Photography by Aubrey Gacer and Karl Acepcion

Aubrey Gacer is a Manila-based freelance photographer. Check out his work at Gacer Photography.

Mount Purro Nature Reserve

Official website of Mount Purro Nature Reserve
Official Facebook fan page

Address: Brgy. Calawis, Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines
Front Desk Phone: 542-3005

More Photos Below:

Santol-picking at the resort
The start of the Forest Trail
The enchanting anahaw-dotted scenery along the Forest Trail
View of Mount Purro from Malvar's Peak


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