This weekend, wander into the nearest hidden gem and probably the most affordable trekking destination in the city. Experience the soft breeze playing with your hair as it calms your breath while your eyes feast into the amazing view of Bacungan River winding down to meet the salt water from Honda Bay. Take a fresh air in the spectacular view of endless verdant forest after an easy hike up. Sweat and jump-start your weekend right – chase the sunrise at the Magarwak, Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City.
How to get there
Sitio Magarwak is located at Barangay Bacungan, 15 kilometers north of the city proper. Get there via vans and buses for 20.00 to 30.00 that leaves San Jose Terminal from 5:30 AM onwards. Get down at the Bantay Gubat Monitoring Station after the 15 km marker and take the feeder road to the right. From there, the trek will last for an hour to 30 minutes – depending upon how often you take the pictures along the way. If you have a private vehicle, navigate the feeder road until the intersection near the old glass house, turn left and…park, you’ll know it when you get there unless you’re the first one to arrive.
If you opted to begin the trek at the Bantay Gubat Monitoring Station, the ascent to the intersection via the feeder road will last for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn left after the uninhabited glass house and take the trail to the left. It is easy to navigate the trail to the communications tower, the highest peak of this mountain, without a guide since the path is already paved by trekkers and adventurous cyclists who brave this terrain. It will take an easy 30 to 45 minutes from the intersection to the tower along the ultramafic forest with small loose rocks. The view of the white healing cross perched between the trees, of the zigzagging vehicles going in and out of the city, the endless lush forest and the bay bathing in the early morning rays will greet you along the way.
Hydrate, relax upon reaching the tower, take more pictures but do not stop. 20 minutes of another trek will take you to a more rewarding view. Take the left side of the tower and walk along a narrower path to the kubo – you’ll know it when you get there. Continue right until you reached the rocky cliff and slowly, carefully thread it… until there’s nothing to step into. Enjoy the astonishing scene. Breath in, breath out. Shout if you want to, dream, be one with nature, appreciate the beauty of our island and embrace the silence.
The descent is faster because you can easily jog down the rocky terrain. The sun is piercing hot by 10 AM – that’s why it is advisable to begin this trek by 5: 30 AM. Bring a liter of water and light snacks… please do not leave the wrappers in the area. Wear shoes and light comfortable clothing. So far, there is no entrance fee and no known guides – but you can look for me on Facebook(Sheena Karen Madarcos) and message me if you want someone to accompany you – this place is worth a return hike, I would gladly go.
And hey! Thanks for my weekend travel buddies — Ate Jun, Ate Recca and Ate Ems 🙂 Until next adventure!