Friday, April 7, 2017

Mount Purro Nature Reserve: A Place to Commune with Nature

I have been living in Rizal province for more than 30 years, but there are a lot of places here that I still need to discover.  Rizal province is also rich in history, having lots of old churches and historical sites and rich culture as it has lots of talented artists.  It also offers wonderful views of nature overlooking Metro Manila and Sierra Mountain Range.  Rizal province is considered your short getaway from the Metro since it is the nearest province from National Capital Region and you do not have to pay toll fees just to get here.

Recently, I was invited to go to Mount Purro Nature Reserve together with my son. It was located on the mountainous part of Antipolo going towards to Cogeo.  I drove going there, thanks to Waze.  There are also directional signages going to Mount Purro along the way and you can even look at Mount Purro's website for the directions.  Mount Purro Nature Reserve can also be reached via public transportation; however, you need to make several transfers going there.





Mount Purro Nature Reserve's main gate

Reception area

This is where the adventure starts


Mount Purro Nature Reserve is owned by Alberto 'Toto' Malvar and his family.  You guessed it right, Mang Toto is one of the descendants of General Miguel Malvar.  They originally hail from Sto. Tomas, Batangas.  They have a family home in Quezon City but since he really loved nature, he spends most of his time in Mount Purro.  The 35-hectare property has been acquired by the family in 1990s because Mang Toto has this desire to plant trees (btw, Gen. Malvar is considered the Father of Reforestation).  At first, the property is only exclusive to family members, relatives, and close friends, but eventually they shared the property to the public so to educate the people about the importance of preserving nature.  Mang Toto is very much active in promoting reforestation and he gives back to the society by providing jobs to the people who are living near Mount Purro and by sending deserving children to school for free.  Indeed, he has a heart of gold to serve the people and nature!


Alberto "Toto" Malvar and his youngest son TJ.  TJ is the one managing the operations of Mount Purro Nature Reserve

Baby Malvar, Mang Toto's wife, the chef behind Loli's Kitchen


Mount Purro Nature Reserve is proud to showcase a variety of plants and trees.  Their cottages and function halls look like a traditional bahay kubo.  Since they are most proud of showing God's wonderful creation, they do not offer modern facilities such as TV, Wi-Fi, karaoke (they used to have this but they felt it disturbs the serenity of the place so they decided not to offer it anymore), aircon, and even telco signal, having a 'fasting' on these modern entertainment will make you appreciate nature more.  Just like what Mang Toto said, "disconnect to connect," this is your opportunity to disconnect to the digital world and get connected with the environment.


Our temporary home for the weekend.  It is loft-type, with two bathrooms, can accommodate up to 12 people.


So spacious inside!  The whole house is covered with net and the only ventilation available is electric fan.

The loft has 3 beds

There is a private room in the loft which has its own T&B


Some of the open cabanas for people who are not staying for the night

Pavilion for groups

Function hall

Other cottages



While Mount Purro offers cottages to families and groups, you can also pitch your own tent at the tent area if you want to have a camping-style of stay there.  


Tent area


Don't fret, Mount Purro still offers activities that will make your stay in this place worthwhile and memorable.  It has an activity room where you can play sungka, table tennis, billiards and foosball.  They also offer traditional hilot massage, mini-zipline, and rope course.  It also has a large swimming pool where you can have a dip and relieve yourselves from the scorching heat of the sun.  They also have horseback riding around the area and you can even hike around the area (they have trails so you can survey the area), go to the summit of Mount Purro (it's a two hours' hike) or go to the Kabunsuran falls (you can go there by foot from Mount Purro Nature Reserve or rent a tricycle and have a short hike going there).  However, Kabunsuran falls doesn't have much water during this time, so if you want to see overflowing water there, you should go during -ber months.  At night, you can have a bonfire activity, cooking your favorite hotdog and marshmallow while enjoying the warmth of the fire.  They also offer teambuilding activities to companies.


Bonfire area

Swimming pool

Mini-zipline area

Rope course

Activity area for teambuilding



The pathways/trailways inside Mount Purro Nature Reserve 

Activity/gaming area just after the reception hall




Bonfire at night

Short hike going to Kabunsuran Falls

Kabunsuran falls.  Water is not overflowing, better to visit during -ber months

Mount Purro's summit.  It takes two hours to hike going to the summit

Kib wading at the fresh water at Kabunsuran falls






Mount Purro is also open as an events venue.  You can have your weddings, birthdays, or even workshops/seminars at Mount Purro, just inquire for the rates.

One of the things that I enjoyed during our overnight stay there was the interaction with the Dumagat people.  Dumagat is an indigenous tribe from Sierra Madre.  They showed us how to cook rice and sinigang in bamboo.  They also demonstrated how to start fire by putting friction on two dried bamboos.  At first, it seem to be very easy, but actually it's a bit painful to the hands because of the sharp edges of the bamboo.  It's difficult to put friction on the same spot to produce fire because the bamboos are a bit slippery.


Making fire by putting friction on two dried bamboos


In cooking sinigang, they used binukaw leaves to make the soup sour.  I tasted the raw leaves and indeed they taste sour, just like a fruit of kamias tree.  Kib also enjoyed eating the leaves of binukaw.  I asked for some leaves to bring home so that I can try cooking sinigang using binukaw leaves.


Pork sinigang, Dumagat-style

Pandan leaves were used to cover the hollow bamboo

Cooking starts now!


Steamed rice cooked in bamboo

Bamboo spoons

Pork sinigang sa binukaw.  It didn't have much soup but when I had the taste of the soup, it's heavenly!

Kib enjoying the pork sinigang

He loved munching on the binukaw leaves!

Kib ate the rest of the sinigang



When you will go to Mount Purro, include the interaction with the Dumagat as part of your activity.  It'll help the tribe by giving jobs to them and it'll also help in preserving their culture as well :)


Photo op with the Dumagats.  Thank you for the extra binukaw leaves!

Mount Purro Nature Preserve also offers wonderful and delectable dishes to their guests.  Loli's Kitchen offers breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner at an affordable price.  You can bring your own food though, but they charge a corkage fee of Php150/head per meal.  Light snacks and liquor are allowed to be brought inside as well with no extra charges.  If you are staying in a cottage, eating inside is discouraged as leftover food will invite rodents and insects inside.  Footwear is also not allowed inside the cottages, there is a special place for your shoes and slippers just outside your cottage.  Each cottage is provided with drinking water in a jug and glasses.


Loli's Kitchen from the outside, it is located just across the reception area


This is what you will see first as you enter Loli's Kitchen.  The mess hall has lots of interesting stuff inside, there are books, some historical artifacts, and plaques received by Mang Toto





The buffet table


Brewed coffee at Mount Purro Nature Reserve is a must try!  



Mount Purro Nature Reserve aims to preserve the environment, so as responsible guests we should also be responsible in taking care of our trash.

I really enjoyed our short stay at Mount Purro Nature Reserve, and my son is already asking me when are we going back there.  Being a nature-lover, I enjoyed listening to the sounds produced by the nature and enjoy the cool temperature provided by the trees.  

The place is really promising and it can offer more to their guests in the future.  I suggested that since this place aims to educate people about the importance of conserving the environment, they should have some signages/trivia posted all over the place so that there is something people can see and learn during their stay there.

For sure, Kib and I will be back there!




For more information about Mount Purro Nature Reserve, you may visit their Facebook and Instagram accounts.  You may also visit their website at http://www.mountpurronaturereserve.com/ for other details.  Advance booking is recommended before going to Mount Purro Nature Reserve.  You can reach them at  0921-442-7337 (Reservations), bookings.mpnr@gmail.com and for groups more than 30, send an email at sales.mountpurronaturereserve@gmail.com.   

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