After years of quarantine, we’re finally able to go out! (**insert celebratory song**) Yahoooo!!!
I saw a fellow homeschooler’s FB post about their trip to La Mesa Nature Reserve and it seemed perfect for our first trip outside. It’s a protected area of around 2,000 hectares of forest cover and is the last remaining rainforest of its size in the metro. And of course, it houses the only major watershed in Metro Manila, the La Mesa Watershed, the source of potable water to the 12 million++ residents of Metro Manila.
La Mesa Nature Reserve is located along Quirino Highway in Quezon City. It is easily navigable via Google Maps or Waze.
Reservation and Fees
Reservation beforehand is required. To reserve, we sent a message to Gino Gutierrez at 0908-798-5698 the day before. Upon arrival at the site, we went to the front desk to pay for the entrance fee. It’s P1000 for a group of 5, or P200 per person. We were then assigned to Kuya Ronald, our guide for the morning. Yes, all tours, whether on foot or on bike, must be guided. This is so that no one gets lost and also to protect the rainforest from potential harm like smokers accidentally burning the forest.
For the morning’s hike, it was suggested that we take the 6 km trail, which has a stopover at the Bangkalan Rest Station to see the reservoir. If the kids get tired along the way, we can always choose to take a shortcut back, Kuya Ronald said.
Off We Go!
We were the only ones on foot. All the other visitors were bikers. Hikers and bikers share the same trail so if there are bikers, we’d have to step aside to let them pass.
What’s There to See?
Truth be told, the trail does not hold any animal magic (as zoos/farms do) to keep little kids interested. We can hear the sweet songs of birds while walking but didn’t see any. There were monkeys and snakes deep inside the forest but none were visible from the trail. The guide also shared that in his previous tours, kids would often cry midway along the trail, disinterested and tired. Gulp! I wondered how the kids will fare for 6 km!
Well, I’m so happy to report that all three were such troopers! They enjoyed every minute of the hike, with no sign of boredom or tiredness!
Here are some of the interesting things that we saw.
After walking about 3 km, we reached the Bangkalan Rest Station.
And there it is, the La Mesa Water Watershed. As per the guide, it is as deep as the height of a grown tree. Large fishes like pla-pla swim in it. At the bottom are pipes leading to the waterworks and sewerage system.
The Rest of the Way
The rest of the way is another 3 km. Somewhere towards the end, the trail forks off. The Kawayanan trail is for those taking the 13 km way.
After 2 hours of hiking, everyone seems to still have the energy afterwards so we went on to climb the watch tower at the trail entrance. It has 3 sets of metal stairs that are pretty scary to climb up and down on. There’s Cheese conquering his fear of heights.
Hooray! Everyone made it! Also at the top is a radio repeater.
Here’s a panoramic view from the watch tower.
Congratulations on the tough climb!
So that’s the end of our fun fun trip! It was a no-frills trip, no animals, no pony rides, no gadgets, and yet even the littlest one had fun! We’re all glad to have spent time outdoors, breathing Mother Nature’s fresh air. Try it too!
What to Bring?
- Water to drink
- Sunblock – although most parts of the trail are shaded, there are still some parts that are sunny
- Insect Repellant
- First Aid Kit – in case someone trips
- Extra Clothes
It’d be fun to come back next time when they’re bigger — with mountain bikes!