The Philippines is blessed not only with paradisiacal beaches but with mountains and hiking trails offering picturesque landscapes for every hiker to enjoy. On top of that, several of these hiking destinations are home to various species of flora and fauna making the effort even more rewarding.
Due to the abundance of hiking destinations in the Philippines, choosing the ones to explore can be a challenge. We listed the most popular hiking destinations to help you decide what to include to your itinerary when traveling the Philippines.
A view from Mount Pulag.
With its peak at 2,928 meters above sea level, Mount Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon and the third highest in the country. It is most known for its sea of clouds and the breathtaking view of the sunrise, sunset, and Milky Way Galaxy at dawn therefore attracting several mountain climbers and hikers. Not only that, the mountain is also home to a large diversity of flora and fauna so that makes the climb more interesting.
Aside from the views, another attraction of Mount Pulag is the burial caves of the Kabayan mummies, the mummified Ibaloi people of Benguet. The mummies were believed to be made as early as 2000 BCE.
Mount Pulag has easy to moderate trails but know that the peak can be reached in 3 to 4 hours so you be sure to prepare physically and mentally if you intend to conquer the country’s most popular hiking destination.
Just a few hours drive from Manila is Mount Daraitan, found along the Sierra Madre mountain range, the longest mountain range in the Philippines. Its peak is at 739 meters above sea level and has a moderate trail. Like most mountains in the Philippines, Mount Daraitan is surrounded by a lush greenery where animals thrive. Aside from the limestone cliffs and the scenic views of the Sierra Madre, hiking Mount Daraitan also allows you to see and enjoy the Tinipak River, Daraitan Falls, and caves.
Mount Batulao during sunset.
With its summit at 693 meters above sea level, Mount Batulao is a popular hiking spot for beginners as it has easy trails and also due to its close proximity to Manila and Tagaytay. Mount Batulao has 12 peaks, mostly rocky cliffs and offers impressive views of Taal Lake and Volcano, Pico de Loro Mountain Range, Mount Maculot, and the surrounding areas.
The forest of Mount Batulao covers an area of 30,000 hectares and home to at least 22 bird species including the Philippine hanging parrot, Philippine coucal, Phiilippine bulbul, and Philippine pygmy woodpecker as well as glossy swiftlet and barn swallow being the most common.
Conquering Mount Apo is probably every hiker and mountain climber’s dream. The highest peak in the Philippines, Mount Apo has an elevation of 2,954 meters above sea level. It is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna including the critically endangered Philippine eagle, the country’s national bird. Considering its elevation and difficulty of the hike, the mountain is best explored by experienced mountaineers and hikers.
Mount Apo is declared a national park and a protected area.
Mount Pinatubo crater lake.
While its 1991 eruption is considered the most destructive volcano eruption in Philippine history and 2nd largest eruption in the world during the 20th century, Mount Pinatubo is still one of the most favorite destinations among hikers, local and foreign travelers alike. Reaching the summit may take two to three hours of hike but your effort will be rewarded with the breathtaking view of the volcano’s crater lake filled with bluegreen water.
Several tour operators offer Mount Pinatubo tours and trekking packages which allow you to see the crater lake.
Beginners would love Mount Maculot as it has three trails, one of those is easy and the peak can be reached in around three hours. A campsite can be found along the way thus giving hikers a place to rest or even spend the night. Also known as Mount Macolod, Mount Maculot has an elevation of 947 meters above sea level. The peak offers great views of Taal Volcano as the mountain lies adjacent to Taal Lake.
Mount Tapulao is one of the tallest mountains in Zambales with its height of 2,037 meters, thus its other name High Peak. It is a popular hiking destination in the province considering its rolling trails and gradual terrain providing hikers picturesque views of the lush forest. The hike to the summit and down takes two to three days but all the effort will be worth it as you will get to feast your eyes on the 360-degree view of the other mountains in Zambales, the Lingayen Gulf, the South China Sea, and other areas of Zambales.
Found in the province of Rizal, Mount Batolusong is only a few hours drive from Manila. The summit has an elevation of 600 meters above sea level making it a perfect hiking destination for beginners. Additionally, its trail is well-marked thus making it easy to reach the summit in two to three hours. The summit provides magnificent views of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range and the Mount Susong Dalaga as well as the provinces of Laguna and Quezon.
Province: Batangas and Laguna
Mount Makiling is considered a sacred mountain in the Philippines as it is believed to be the home of Maria Makiling, the most popular diwata or anito (fairy) in Philippine mythology.
The country’s first national park, Mount Makiling is blessed with rich flora and fauna including pitcher plants and various species of orchids.
Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete is recognized as the highest peak in Cebu. This popular hiking destination has easy trails and a number of resting areas thus great for beginners or first-time hikers. The summit offers 360-degree view of the island of Cebu as well as the nearby islands.
If you have been to the ones listed above or nothing caught your interest, you may want to consider other hiking destinations in the Philippines including the Masungi Georeserve, Tarak Ridge, Mount Maynoba, Marlboro Country in Sagada, and Mount Kitanglad.
READ MORE: Activities & Adventure in the Philippines