Silayan Dining Room: A unique dining experience inside the Masungi Geo Reserve.

The Masungi Georeserve is a vast conservation area located in the eastern part of Luzon, in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range in Baras, Rizal. It is a privately-led organization and scenic trail that goes through one of the most pristine landscapes and protected areas in the country. Which grew in popularity a couple of years back due to its world-famous “Discovery Trail.” And sitting on top of a hill, overlooking the Metro Manila skyline is one of their latest effort in sharing with you their hard work and lifetime commitment in nature conservation. The Silayan Dining room, a restaurant like no other serves seasonal menus inspired by its surrounding landscape. Join me as we taste our way to learn more of what the Masungi has to offer one unique local dish at a time. SILAYAN RESTAURANT KM 47, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal, Philippines, 1970 Website: https://www.masungigeoreserve.com/dining/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masungigeoreserve Contact: +63 929 13 23531 | +63 995 186 9911 Email: trail@masungigeoreserve.com Operation: 8am to 5pm | Reservations Only HOW TO GET THERE DJI_0028 Located just 1 hour and 30 mins away from Manila. The Silayan dining room is accessible through the same route you’ll be taking to get to the discovery trail, along the Km47 in Marcos Highway. https://flic.kr/p/2dQFLro It is located on top of a hill overlooking the Metro Manila skyline on one side and lush green scenery of Baras, Rizal on the other. https://flic.kr/p/24kb2b8 Looking at it from the outside, the restaurant itself is built in such a way that it would blend well with its surrounding nature and landscape.   WHAT’S INSIDE https://flic.kr/p/2dxQhGv The cogon roof and all glass walls were designed to complement the panoramic view on top of the hill. Its interior explicitly blended with nature to immerse the guests with the geo-reserve’s raw beauty. https://flic.kr/p/2eWD616 Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by this high ceiling cone roof and a fresh cold breeze to match which acts as a natural air cooling system to this relatively small space. https://flic.kr/p/2dQGCv1 Not to mention, all the ornaments, light fixtures and some of the furnitures were designed and created by local folks from the area that also happens to work for Masungi.   THE VIEW https://flic.kr/p/2dxPB4x Stepping outside, you’ll see an outdoor dining area flourishing with green ivy’s that covers the roof and pedestals of this garden-like patio. https://flic.kr/p/2dxNZtK Here, guests can enjoy the magnificent view of the metro manila skyline in the distance. https://flic.kr/p/Rbe2Ct And on the other edge facing Tanay, you’ll observe a doric pond accentuating the breathtaking background.   COOKED WITH LOVE https://flic.kr/p/24kaDGM Silayan Dining Room has this fine dining and farm-to-table concept that serves course set meals to both trail visitors and non-trail visitors. https://flic.kr/p/2eS2oyQ Most of their dishes rely heavily on locally sourced seasonal herbs and garnishes that are harvested from within the Masungi Georeserve. Hence, expect Silayan’s menu to be perpetually changing as their ingredients is dependent on whatever’s available in the environment within Masungi Georeserve. https://flic.kr/p/2eWCY88 But don’t worry, guests will always have a choice between meat (chicken), fish, and vegetarian dishes for your main course in their 4-course set menu. https://flic.kr/p/2dQGQjG For starters, they served us with their very own healthy and refreshing tea which of course were sourced locally. https://flic.kr/p/24kaaKe Hand-picked from their very own garden within Masungi Georeserve, the fresh tea leaves poses this fragrance that hints a citrusy aroma. https://flic.kr/p/2eS2u2o When we visited, the soup of the day was this creamy squash served with mushroom and dill. https://flic.kr/p/2dxPX5z The mushrooms came straight from the local producers/communities for Silayan and the dill was handpicked from their greenhouse. https://flic.kr/p/RbJXWR All of their dishes are beautifully crafted by Chef Ezekiel Macadangdang. https://flic.kr/p/2eS2hZy The appetizer is no exception. It’s amazing that this appetizer alone has various local herbs from the local community. Ingredients like sweet potatoes, soft boiled egg, root crop chips, ube (purple yam), cucumber dressing, pickled onion, basil leaf, cream sauce, salted egg, and a locally sourced white cheese with cosmos (edible flower). https://flic.kr/p/2eWCmW6 For the main dish, they served us chicken confit with liver sauce and a special Silayan tomato sauce that they themselves make in-house. Topped with burned coconut meat which adds a smoky flavor to the dish. https://flic.kr/p/24k9EFc The chicken itself was tender, according to “Ate” the dish was inspired by Masungi’s dark past of “Kaingin” hence, the burned coconut meat and burnt leaf. https://flic.kr/p/Rbe9Ck We also tried another main dish, the seared “Maya-Maya’ with pumpkin mash and a spicy dipped ravioli. Like most of their dishes, this main course is served with mostly locally harvested herbs and garnishes from their greenhouse garden. https://flic.kr/p/2eS1pkm For the dessert, they served us this mouthwatering double chocolate mango tart. https://flic.kr/p/Rbdz6R Double, because it comes with both yellow and green mangoes as well as dark and white chocolates. https://flic.kr/p/Rbe6Hx To wash it all down, we were served with another locally produced wine or “pink wine” that is induced with local dragon fruit farmed in the area. https://flic.kr/p/SNtv6U Overall, I really liked the concept of using locally sourced ingredients from nearby local communities and using them to create uniquely crafted dishes that are also prepared and served by the locals. A valiant effort and an exquisite concept that influences guests to value the essence of sustainability and supporting the local community in ways that impacts them the most. Dining at Silayan restaurant is truly a unique experience with an awesome 360 view to top it all off. But most importantly, food that is both healthy and cooked with love for everyone to enjoy. I highly recommend visiting this one of a kind dining experience whenever you get a chance. It’s best if you book around 4 pm onwards in order to witness the amazing sunset from the comfort of your tables. Note: It is open for reservations ONLY for confirmed trail guests with visits until March 2019 and non-trail guests until February 2019. Starting April 2019, Silayan will be committed to hosting private dining and intimate, special events of a minimum of 20 persons while a new dining option will be available for guests inside the Discovery Trail.   SILAYAN RESTAURANT KM 47, Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal, Philippines, 1970 Website: https://www.masungigeoreserve.com/dining/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masungigeoreserve Contact: +63 929 13 23531 | +63 995 186 9911 Operation: 8am to 5pm | Reservations Only Email: trail@masungigeoreserve.com Live an Awesome Life,

abi signature NICO of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our experience at the Silayan dining room was courtesy of Masungi Geo reserve. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

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