tourist spots

Cavite opens new tourist destination Buhay Forest

Dennis Abrina
Cavite opens new tourist destination Buhay Forest

CAVITE DESTINATION. A local tourist tries out the bridge in Buhay Forest.

Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

Upland Cavite's new eco-tourism site Buhay Forest features lush greenery, a trail, a camping area, and more

Almost every day, tourists flock to upland Cavite’s Buhay Forest to experience the cool weather and beauty of nature, especially this new year.

Cavite now offers something new for tourists, especially for those who are nature lovers and wish to breathe fresh air, outside of the polluted metro.

Buhay Forest (life in the forest) is a lush greenery and forest in the upland town of Barangay San Agustin, Cavite, 71.1 kilometers away from Manila – a perfect place to commune with nature, amid COVID-19.

PATHWAY. The grounds at Buhay Forest start with 426 steps going uphill. Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

The developed Buhay Forest, with its 10-hectare breadth of thick foliage atop the Magallanes highland, is a trekking paradise. It is a two-hour’s drive from Manila via Cavitex.

Freddie Sisante, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO), told Rappler that the local government of Magallanes started developing the forest park in 2012 as an eco-tourism site. The mayor then was Napoleon Beratio, who led a massive reforestation project.

“The Buhay Forest concept offers visitors and trekkers an easy climbing adventure to the highland’s summit where there is a camping area, a hut, restroom, picnic table, benches, and an Instagram motif,” Sisante said.

ENTRY. Visitors and tourists pay a P30 environmental fee at the ground of Buhay Forest. Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

One has to ascend some 178 not-so-steep steps and 248 steps on a pathway to the cleared site with a vantage position facing a cliff.

For trekkers taking the San Agustin route, it will only take a few minutes to go uphill, while the other entry point at Barangay Ramirez will take longer.

The place has picnic tables, a playground, and ground birds nest that are perfect for souvenir photos. There’s also a bridge, view tower, and a 500-square-meter picnic area covered by trees.

The local government is also planning to put up souvenir shops, a kubo hotel, a rappelling site, butterfly garden, zip line, and more.

“Matatanaw po ninyo ang mga bulubundukin ng (You can view) Mount Gumuhong Bundok to the north on the Nasugbu, Batangas, side; Mount Marami in Maragondon, Cavite, on the northwestern side; Mount Ulila on its west; Mount Ipus on the southwestern side; and Mount Kaytalang on the southern part, including a view of Mount Palay-Palay and Pico de Loro on the Maragondon side,” Sisante said.

Mayor Jasmin Maligaya-Bautista said that under the local government’s camping and trailing rules, hikers and tourists must leave no trace of garbage in the area.

Buhay Forest is open from 5 am to 8 pm. Guests 15 years old and below, as well as those 65 years old and up are not allowed as per government guidelines. Overnight stays are not allowed yet and wearing of face masks and face shields is mandatory.

PHOTO OPP. The Instagrammable vertical and ground birds nest is found in Buhay Forest in Magallanes, Cavite. Photo by Dennis Abrina/Rappler

The forest is home to a number of wild animals, including wild monkeys, the kalaw (Philippine hornbill), and labuyo or wild chickens.

Tourists could also visit the secluded Utod Falls, which is around 17 kilometers from the town proper along the boundaries of Alfonso-Magallanes and Nasugbu, Batangas.

The new nature tourist destination tallied over 10,000 guests and visitors from January 1 to 7, 2021.

Magallanes and the rest of Cavite are under the least restrictive modified general community quarantine until the end of January. –

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