It came a little surprise to me hearing about this new destination in Iloilo. Bucari Pine Forest is a hidden destination in Leon, Iloilo that I consider as the Little Baguio of Panay Island.
Bucari is somewhat similar to the landscape of Baguio but not as cold as the Summer Capital of the Philippines (though it gets really cold at some point of the season). The vegetation is mostly composed of tall Agoho trees (Casuarina) and not pine trees as what others would suggest.
This place has a camping ground that is perfect for group outdoor activities, breaking free from the concrete jungle of the metro.
To fully experience the wonder of Bucari Pine Forest, one must do the 30-minute trek to the peak of the hill (Mansiga Viewing Deck) where you can have a picturesque view of the surrounding.
The lush and gigantic Agoho trees growing at the peak of the hill added more beauty to the environment. You can play around but just be cautious not to slip on the ridge. You can work your imagination to play with your ways and tricks, capturing the moments with your camera.
You can set up your camping materials here and stay overnight following the basic rules of camping to safeguard the place and to avoid accidents. Aside from camping, you can also visit a number of waterfalls at the adjacent Barangay of Camandag.
The Bucari Pine Forest has cottages (Php 1600.00) that can accommodate 8 persons. Tents are also available for rent that can accommodate 4 persons (Php 300).
Rest rooms are available in the vicinity and no need to worry about the supply of water.
You might want to bring your own food if you are a little sensitive or have a preferred meal but there are a few 'stores' in the area selling basic commodities but are a little bit pricey.
Entrance is fee in Bucari Pine Forest but it is suggested to give a little donation for the maintenance of the park.
How to Reach Bucari?
From Iloilo City you can take a jeepney that will take you to Jaro, Iloilo. At the public market of Jaro, there are public utility van that travel to Leon. At Leon, if you are in a hurry, there are motorcycles that can take you to Sitio Tabionan. In our case we paid Php 300.00 for a back and forth service.
Though there is a jumbo jeep that goes to Bucari, be sure your patience is long and strong if you choose this mode of transportation. The jeepney departs Leon in the morning (8-11) and return to the town proper at 4-5pm)
For more information you can contact the tourism staff and officer-in-charge in Bucari Pine Forest, Mr. Evan C. Calaor at these numbers : +639367464742 | +639497025758 . Just be a little patient as the signal in the area is a little bit weak.
Enjoy Bucari Pine Forest!