Bucari is an upland region situated on the highlands of Leon, Iloilo. Due to its geographic location, the place has a cool climate all year round that’s being compared to the climate in Tagaytay and Baguio. Bucari is being tagged now as “Iloilo’s Little Baguio” or “The Summer Capital of Iloilo” and a popular destination for anyone looking for an easy day trek or overnight camping.
Bucari Pine Forest and Campsite
Bucari Pine Forest and Campsite is located in Sitio Tabionan, Bucari, Leon, Iloilo. This is where the famous Mansiga view deck and pine trees are situated that resembles those pine trees that can be found all around Baguio City. You can enjoy here by having family picnics, trekking to Mansiga View Deck or an overnight camp to clinch an adventure trip.
How to get there?
Ride a jeepney bound to Leon, Iloilo (jeepney terminal can be found on Jaro Market or on Robinson’s Place Pavia Transport Terminal). Fare is P40 (from Rob Pavia) and travel time is about an hour. From Leon town proper, you can either ride a jeepney bound to Bucari for P50 or charter a motorcycle that will take you directly to Bucari for P250 good for 2 pax or P200 for 1 pax. Take note that as of now, the Bucari bound jeepneys doesn’t have a fix schedule of departure. On our case, we opt to rent a motorcycle for faster trip.
Leon Tourism and Information Center
With the recent re-opening of the Bucari Campsite after a series of restrictions, I learned through Leon Tourism and Information Center official Facebook page that tourists are encouraged to book prior to their visit in accordance to the guidelines set by the Department of Tourism. You can book your visit by messaging their official Facebook page here. On the date of your visit, please drop by on their office at Leon Tourism and Information Center across Leon Municipal Hall for the payment of fees and confirmation slips.
P50 (non-residents of Leon)
P30 (residents of Leon)
P30 (Campsite and Mansiga)
P30 (Imoy and Kataw Falls)
*Guidelines may change from time to time so it will be better to check Leon Tourism and Information Center Fb page for recent announcements.
*If you opt to ride a motorcycle to Bucari, the tourism officer might ask you to drop off again on their office after getting a rider so they could record the details of your driver to ensure your safety.
Arrival at Bucari Pine Forest
It took as around 45 minutes from Leon Town Plaza to reach Bucari Pine Forest. You would know that you’re already in Bucari with the sudden change of climate. You’ll feel the cool breeze of air as an indication that you’ll already stepping foot to Iloilo’s Little Baguio. Upon arrival they just checked our slips, registered our visit and immediately started our trek to Mansiga View Deck.
They managed to have a hiking trail stairs also known as “The Mansiga Steps” so trekking could be easier even for non-hikers. You’ll pass through stations of the cross while being charmed by the different Flora and Faunas along the way to the top. After 30-45 minutes (depends on your pace), you’ll be greeted by the foremost scenery from the view deck. There are three distinct crest the view deck can offer. The first one has a flat land overlooking the mountains of Iloilo Province.
Take a few meters ascent and you’ll reach another view deck where the famous inclining pine tree resides. The leaning pine tree was caused by the calamitous Typhoon Frank way back 2008. They put a support so you could walk up to the edge of the tree. Carrying capacity is 2-3 persons and it is now a famous photo spot on Bucari.
Just beside the view deck is a garden and a sari-sari store where you can eat snacks and take a rest after a tiring trek. We followed the trail after the second view deck that leads us to the rock formation of Bucari Pine Forest. Please be mindful of your steps as the path could be slippery and muddy during the rainy days. Also, one misstep could make you stumble on the pointy rock formations and no one wants that to happen.
Reaching the rock formation is my favorite part of this trip. You’ll be served by the splendor of the view from this high point. You’ll feel reaching the top of the world by just staring on the stunner that surrounds you. It was really worth the hike and sweat!
Going down from Mansiga View Deck
Going down from the view deck could take you another 30-45 minutes but before going home, don’t forget to drop by on the vegetable stalls settled by the locals. Just go straight from the entrance of the Bucari Pine Forest and on your right, you’ll see the locals selling fresh vegetables on a very cheap price. Bucari, like Baguio, is also known for their fresh and cheap vegetables as the crops grow suitably due to the cool climate of the highland.
If you wish to do picnics, sheds and chairs are pretty much available on the area. There are also stores where you can buy foods and stuffs. If you wish to camp overnight, you can coordinate with the tourism office first so they could offer you their available setups.
There are also nearby waterfalls (Imoy and Kataw Falls) that would require additional slog that we didn’t able to visit (maybe on my next visit).
Have you been to Bucari? Share your experience below!