La Mesa Nature Reserve Hiking Trip

La Mesa Nature Reserve
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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.

Getting There

La Mesa Nature Reserve is located along Quirino Highway in Quezon City. It is easily navigable via Google Maps or Waze.

La Mesa Nature Reserve

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.

The Trail

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.

La Mesa Nature Reserve Trail Map

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.

La Mesa Nature Reserve
Bikers at La Mesa Nature Reserve

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!

That’s Interesting!

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!

La Mesa Nature Reserve

Here are some of the interesting things that we saw.

La Mesa Nature Reserve
Fallen Trees
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Colorful Berries and Giant Leaves
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Wooden Bridges – Always interesting!
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Ant Hill and Logs
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Interesting fruits and leaves
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Fungi
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Uprooted tree
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Logs, logs, logs
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Secret Garden feels!
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Lots of Bamboo!

The Reservoir

After walking about 3 km, we reached the Bangkalan Rest Station.

La Mesa Nature Reserve

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.

La Mesa Nature Reserve
La Mesa Nature Reserve
La Mesa Nature Reserve
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Beware of the ants!
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Panoramic View of the Reservoir

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.

La Mesa Nature Reserve
La Mesa Nature Reserve
More bridge fun!
La Mesa Nature Reserve
Mission Accomplished!

Watch Tower

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.

La Mesa Nature Reserve
Cheese slowly but surely climbing up the scary staircase

Hooray! Everyone made it! Also at the top is a radio repeater.

Here’s a panoramic view from the watch tower.

La Mesa Nature Reserve
Panoramic View from Top

Congratulations on the tough climb!

La Mesa Nature Reserve

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!

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