It felt like a long time since we talked about mountains here that a change of scenery was in order. So in the last weekend, we decided to go east of Metro Manila to explore the mountains of Antipolo.
Yes to new adventures? Definitely!
You may have heard of them already, but this far away, secluded gem has been slowly receiving the attention it deserves. We’re giving the limelight to Mount Purro Nature Reserve.
You’ll find Mount Purro Nature Reserve (MPNR) in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range in Brgy. Calawis in Antipolo. It’s is a vast 36-hectare property that is privately owned by the descendants of Miguel Malvar. Interesting huh? Around 8 hectares of the total property was developed and opened to the public.
Today, Mount Purro Nature Reserve serves as a popular venue for team building activities, parties, and weddings. They are also open to big and small groups alike that would want to spend some quiet time away from the city.
Exploring Mount Purro for a Day
The day tour rate or what they call Eat, Hike and Swim package is at Php750 ($15) per person that is already inclusive of buffet lunch, guided hike (optional), use of the swimming pool and use of other facilities: Asian lounge, open cabanas, and public toilet and shower. You can add Php100 for the afternoon snacks if you are staying until late. Mount Purro’s day tour hours is from 7 AM to 6 PM.
We arrived at the gates of Mount Purro on a little overcast sky on a Saturday morning. The staff told us it often rains these days. It was a bit cold and windy but luckily, it didn’t rain when we were there.
The property is like a mini forest, abundant and lush with vegetation while several bahay-kubos dotted the area. The accommodations were kept simple and inspired by farm-style designs. There was no air-conditioning in any of the cottages because it didn’t need cooling. They say it can get really cold at night and in the early mornings.
Apart from the brown cottages, mini doses of blues interrupt the bursting flow of greenery albeit in a very welcoming way. The swimming pool near the open field and bonfire area might look small at first glance because the whole property is just huge, but their pool is big enough for several groups visiting. There is also a kiddie section of the pool for your toddlers.
*Mount Purro requires its guests to wear the appropriate swimwear in the pool area.
Day tour guests can also use the toilet and shower near the pool for free. Though you have to bring your own towel and toiletries.
If I can go back here in the near future I would definitely choose to just lounge around and read a good book. It’s very easy to get lost in the pages of a book with the sounds of birds and crickets in the background. I can stay all day in one of their lovely cabanas which are free to use by the way.
Buuut. When we went to Mount Purro we were very excited to try all the activities, hiking Mount Purro, included. And this particular hike, I totally underestimated.
From what I gathered earlier from various reviews on the internet, the hike was an easy one and lasts only about 2 hours. It was fairly easy, to be honest, however, that’s only applicable when it’s dry season! During these months when it’s rainy (July to October), the trail is damp and muddy. This makes it more difficult to climb steep, slippery trail especially if you are not wearing the right shoes.
Me? I wore a 60-peso flip-flop that I bought in a market in Tagaytay. See how I totally underestimated this trek? Lol.
But yeah, it’s a stunning view up at Malvar’s peak.
At the top you get a view of the vast Sierra Madre mountains and farther out you can see the windmills of Pillila, Rizal.
The guide will actually give you three options when you go hiking, those were the easy hike, medium and full hike.
We completed the easy hike in less than 30 minutes. It is quite near the base really, then from here you can choose to go medium or full hike. The medium hike has a different trail so I cannot really tell.
Here is what you see at the end of easy trail.
If you plan go hiking at Mount Purro, the full hike to be exact, here are my recommendations:
- Wear the right shoes for hiking.
- Cover-up either with pants and long-sleeve shirts or put on lots of mosquito repellent spray/lotion.
- Bring water. There are water dispensers at the reception and mess hall.
- Use a walking stick. These are available at the reception and you can use them for free.
- Bring a mask or antihistamine with you if you are allergic to pollen.
The younger guides get a very minimal fee per day for their services. If there are a lot of guests at a certain day, these guides can hike twice or more than that to accompany different groups. It can be tough, because they carry your things, take your photos, and pull you up if you need help, the least we can do is compensate with a tip. We gave our guide an extra Php100.
Let’s talk about the food. Took me long enough, no? 😀
The day tour package includes buffet lunch that is served from 12 PM to 2 PM. They serve everything in the mess hall that is right across the reception.
There was an assortment of meat, fish and veggies in their menu. My friend particularly liked their dinuguan and fried fish while I was surprised to find their pako salad to be tasty. LOL. My friend says it’s like you’re eating grass but I find it good. It was like chewing crispy grass with boiled egg and tomatoes. Though they ran out of salad dressing when we arrived. That, in the picture is vinegar and not the actual salad dressing. 😀
The buffet lunch was served with pineapple juice that I found too artificial for my taste. Though I think the other table has orange juice, we didn’t get to try it but instead chose to drink water.
How to get to Mount Purro Nature Reserve
Mount Purro Nature Reserve
Purok 5, Barangay Calawis, Antipolo City
Click on the marker and the arrow to get directions.
According to their website, MPNR is 1.25 hours drive from Quezon City but if you are commuting, it would take around 2 hours without traffic (and without getting lost!) coming from Cubao in Quezon City as well.
A good meeting place is Gateway Mall or Araneta Center in Cubao. From there simply, follow these directions:
1 | Look for the PUJ terminal that is near Araneta Center. There are road signs there that says PUJ Antipolo. Ride a jeepney going to SM Masinag. You can also take a jeepney along Aurora Boulevard or Marcos Highway.
2 | From SM Masinag, ride a jeepney with a signboard that says Paenaan then tell the driver you are alighting at Kanto Veterans. Fare is 30 pesos, you can assume that is quite far, so don’t forget to tell your driver that you are going down at the tricycle terminal at Kanto Veterans.
3 | The first tricycle ride is from Kanto Veterans up to Brgy. Calawis welcome arch. Fare is 75 pesos.
4 | The second tricycle ride is from Calawis to Mount Purro gate. Fare is 60 pesos.
Tricycle fares vary depending on the number of passengers. They usually split the fare if there are other passengers.
Also, the tricycle fares can vary when going back to Kanto Veterans.
Was it worth it?
Definitely worth it. In just around 2 hours you are already transported in the mountains where no traces of Metro Manila stress can follow you. And no matter how many guests there are in Mount Purro, you are sure to get that quiet, alone time that you deserve. You can even extend your stay overnight if you want to.
The staff are also very accommodating. You can approach them anytime if you need to ask something but they also make sure to give you the privacy.
Lastly, there is no network signal in the area except for Smart but whatever reception you get is still not that strong. I suggest you prepare to disconnect before coming here. Anyway it’s a place that is best explored by connecting with yourself and nature.
Have an awesome time in Mount Purro!