With the La Mesa Nature Reserve hiking experience still fresh from our minds, we decided to try a more interesting hike for the kids. We found Education Explorations/Forest School Philippines’ Nature Walk. It’s actually facilitated by the latter but some dates are blocked off for the former. As in our case, April 2 was blocked off for Education Exploration so we had to book through them. (Ouch! Read till the end to see why.)
The Nature Walk takes place at the Canopy Farm in Indang, Cavite, a 1.5-2-hr drive from Manila. Our schedule was 9:30AM-11:30AM. We got there right on the dot (we had a motion sickness problem along the way) but it’s suggested to get there 15 minutes before the time.
This was our group of 5 kids, 3 families – L-R: Luke, Skye, Walker (LOL!), Cheese, and Melon. The boy on the rightmost is one of Canopy Farm owner’s son and he joins the walk too. The one in blue on the left is Sharon Cortez, Forest School PH coach and she’ll be leading the nature walk.
Once we’re all settled, the kids were given the Young Eco Explorers Manifesto to read aloud. A short Q&A about taking care of nature followed. After this, it was time to go!
Off We Go!
The forest, a public area, was way below the Canopy Farm. We went down 3 flights of stone stairs, very (insert your favorite jungle movie) feel. Best to guide younger kids down the stairs as some had big steps.
At the bottom, we were met with a bamboo bridge to cross to the other side.
Here’s a better look at that bridge.
From the bridge, we turned right and it wasn’t long before we were met with the most exciting thing – the brook! Well, we all know the equation there: water + kids, definitely = fun!
She just loved to gather what’s down there!
It was mostly shallow water but there was this pit where they actually got all drenched.
Here’s what the trekking looked like. The kids just led the way! Hey, wait up!
Try here. Try there.
There were a lot of spider webs! And we saw and tried pipinito or baby cucumber. See those tiny seeds?
We eventually reached the end of that trail where Ms. Sharon said the next of which was already inaccessible. We headed back where we came from and proceeded to go to the left side of the bridge this time. Yey, there’s more!
Left of the Bridge
The left side was a harder trek. It had huge boulders all over the place. “It’s like an obstacle course!”, was what the littlest one said. The rocks were mossy and slippery.
There were sights also that you don’t see on the other side like this cave-like structure. There was also a deep curve with water about 4-5 feet deep.
Up the mossy rock. Tough one!
The floor here was also softer that at one time Melon’s shoe got stuck! Help!
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Yahooo!
There was no more time to explore further. Awww, too bad! We went back towards the bridge, crossed it, and went back up the flights of stairs.
After the Trek
After cleaning up, we were met with a table full of yummy snacks. Nom nom nom!
After feasting on the sumptuous snacks, the kids ran off to the playground.
All in all, it was a great experience. It had a touch of fun and a dash of danger. Yes, we all had our fair share of embarrassing falls and of cuts and scrapes. 😛 Though it was great, I would have loved to have extra information about the place though, like talking about the water forms, where the water came from, where it leads to, the local plants and insects there. That would have been a more complete “forest education”, I believe.
What to Bring/Wear
Should you choose to try it for yourself and your kids, here’s my list of what to bring/wear.
- Hiking Sandals – Though Crocs and slippers are okay, they were very uncomfortable. The boys were wearing Crocs and had to keep stopping to remove the rocks and sand that have gotten inside. With sandals however, you can just shake them off. The grip on hiking footwear is also helpful against slippery surface. Strapped sandals are also best so they don’t get off your feet and risk getting lost in the current, as what happened to Cheese’s. Good thing Ms. Sharon was able to retrieve it! Whew!
- Extra Clothes – Needless to say, a full change of clothes is a must-bring! Leave it in the car or in the waiting area. You might fall and get everything wet if you bring it along.
- Sunblock – For the most part, we were shaded with trees. There were parts however, where the sun shone brightly.
- First Aid Kit – Falls are inevitable, especially with the slippery rocks. Ms. Sharon does have her own arsenal of medicine for first aid, in case you forgot yours. Luckily, no one got seriously injured to need one.
- Chill Attitude – This one is for the parents/guardians. The natural reaction for parents is to always keep the kids safe, not let them do this, not let them go there. Here though, it’s ok to chill. Let the kids do their thing. It’s a comfort to know that a knowledgeable guide is there the whole time.
Through Education Explorations
- P1950 – 1 Adult 1 Child
- P1350 – Additional Child
- P1550 – Additional Adult
Through Forest School PH
- P1500 – 1 Adult 1 Child
- P1000 – Additional Child
- P485 – Additional Adult
- 2-hour session with qualified forest school leader
- Free-flowing coffee during your stay
- Farm freebie (to be provided by The Canopy Farms)
**As per Ms. Sharon, the reason for the price difference is that in Education Explorations, they use the difference to plant a tree under your child’s name in an Eco Park.
The rates are a bit steep. You see the reason for my ouch in the first part. Oh well, it was well worth it anyway.
I’ll just add in a quick info about the Canopy Farm as we met the lovely owners Melanie, Chloe, and Marissa.
The Canopy Farm PH is located in Indang Cavite Philippines. It’s a sprawling 4 hectares of rich farm land and coffee trees. In between lies a majestic forest stream area where one can enjoy communing with nature. (from Canopy Farm PH FB Page)
There were constructions underway when we were there as they plan to make it into a Bed and Breakfast. They also plan to offer coffee farm tours in the future with matching cable car ride! Wow! Can’t wait to try out that pool!