“Ain’t about how fast I get there / Ain’t about what is waiting on the other side / It’s the climb”
I’m sure you know the song The Climb by Miley Cyrus. It mirrors the struggles in life that any hiker can relate to. Reaching the peak of a mountain gives every hiker a sense of fulfilment, as they have managed to ace the obstacle courses that nature has prepared. That said, hiking places in the Philippines are varied, and there is definitely a trail for everybody!
One of the most definitive experiences provided by mountain hiking and climbing is the views from high above. Good thing these mountains in the Philippines offer awe-inspiring views — aka the pinnacle of any mountain climbing journey.
Famous mountains in the Philippines for every type of hiker
1. Mount Apo
This is the country’s highest point at 2,954 metres, and this isn’t the only thing that is awe-inspiring about Mount Apo. Located between the provinces of North Cotabato and Davao, this mountain showcases terrain that is well-laden with moss and nourished by ample water flowing from the Agco River.
Mount Apo is not the easiest summit to climb, but the reward of conquering the country’s tallest point makes the experience worth it. It is also deemed the Pinoy Mountaineer’s Finale after conquering other major summits in the Philippines. After this, the climber can fly to nearby countries for even more challenging treks.
2. Mount Kabunian
This mountain, which is located in the Northern Philippines, offers a unique hiking experience aside from the incredible views that await the travellers who will reach the summit. Mount Kabunian is considered a sacred ground, and numerous hanging wooden coffins can be viewed on the side of the steep walls up to the summit. The starting point already offers an amazing panoramic view, and that is just the beginning of the journey that reveals a summit that is like touching the heavens.
3. Pico de Loro
Pico de Loro translates to “Parrot’s Beak,” which is exactly what the place resembles. This is one of the highly recommended summits to climb as its track is not as difficult compared to other mountains in the Philippines. The trail to the summit is about five kilometres long, which is a bit shorter than that of other summit choices.
The summit offers exquisite views of the mountainous terrain, as well as of the nearby province of Batangas and the West Philippine Sea. The historic island of Corregidor and Manila Bay can also be viewed from the summit, where you can also find a monolith, which is a natural rock formation that stands more than 60m tall.
4. Mount Pulag
Another revered mountain in the north, Mount Pulag is extremely popular even among those who are not really into mountain climbing or hiking. This is because it offers an experience of literally walking in a sea of clouds, which is something that not every hiking experience can offer. The sea of clouds is not a permanent feature, and it is highly dependent on the weather and a bit of luck.
5. Mount Ugo
Mount Ugo is one of the most picturesque destinations on this list. Located in the Cordillera Region up north, it showcases a great view of the tree-lined mountainside. It is one of the more challenging summits to reach, taking about two to three days depending on the pace and endurance of the hikers. There are points here that are a bit difficult to traverse, which is why it is very important to prepare for the hike.
6. Mount Kanlaon
Considered the highest point of the Visayas archipelago, Mount Kanlaon is an active volcano which is more than 2,000 metres high. When traversing the recommended trail, which is the Mapot-Mananawin trail, reaching the summit will take roughly three days. It is important to reach Makawiwili Peak, as it serves as a vantage point to monitor the volcano’s activity for safety precautions. The upper portions of the mountain can provide excellent views of the Margaja Valley, as well as an aerial view of Canlaon City upon descent.
7. Mount Batulao
If you’re hiking near Manila, you can try scaling Mount Batulao. It is one of the easier summits to climb because of its gentle slopes. The mountain offers great views of the Cavite and Batangas provinces, including the nearby mountains and coastlines. This is one of the mountain destinations highly recommended for beginners to mountain climbing and hiking because it only requires an average level of skills and stamina. It will only take about three hours of trekking to reach the well-equipped campsite.
8. Mount Talinis
Mount Talinis offers a unique experience in an eerie kind of way. Some of the trees here are covered in white due to the sulphur-rich ground that “cooked” the trees. This complex volcano is being protected by the locals because of its natural charm and the abundance of wild orchids and edible berries that grow around the mountainside.
There are also twin crater lakes: Lake Nailig and Lake Yagumyum. Mount Talinis offers diverse flora and fauna that photographers can appreciate behind the lens. Located on the same island as Mount Kanlaon, Mount Talinis is the second highest peak in the Visayas region, towering over 1,900 metres.
9. Mount Pinatubo
Famously known for the 1991 volcanic eruption that claimed thousands of lives, the now peaceful Mount Pinatubo is among the most popular mountains in the Philippines. Its highlight is the crater lake that features white sand and clear turquoise waters. This can be reached after a couple of hours of trekking or after approximately half an hour by trying the 4×4 ride for first-timers. Climbers would appreciate a glimpse of this sleeping giant’s hidden beauty.
10. Mount Manabu
This mountain is part of the Malipunyo Range located in the province of Batangas. The summit of Mount Manabu will welcome mountaineers with great views of the lowlands, and there is a simple white cross waiting to greet you when you successfully reach the summit. This inactive volcano is gaining popularity due to civet coffee: the excrement of civets that eat coffee beans and one of the most expensive coffee variants in the world.
11. Mount Daraitan
Rizal is often considered the Pinoy mountaineer’s haven because of the innumerable mountains found at almost any point in the province. One of them is Mount Daraitan in Tanay. While this mountain possesses considerably tough slopes, its peak boasts an extraordinary view of the Sierra Madre mountain range along with a sea of clouds for early hikers. Upon descent, the scenic Tinipak River awaits, where you can clean yourself of mud or refresh with its waters after the hike.
12. Mount Gulugod Baboy
If you are looking for casual hiking near Manila, Mount Gulugod Baboy will help you kickstart the hobby. Also known as Mount Pinagbanderahan, this mountain is situated in Mabini, Batangas and is great for beginners. It begins steep but gradually becomes easier as you inch near the summit. From there, you can get beautiful views overlooking Batangas Bay and Balayan Bay.
There are also a number of nearby beaches that are famous for their white sands. So, you might want to extend your trip for some fun in the water!
13. Mount Mariveles
Mount Mariveles possesses the highest peak in Bataan and has a reputation for being among the most difficult hiking places in the Philippines. Its summit is known as Pantingan Peak, which is possibly a standout on this list. Instead of a sea of clouds and other mountain ranges, this trail has a beautiful view of the mountain’s caldera. Another famous highlight is Tarak Ridge, where the summit gives you an expansive view of Corregidor, Manila Bay, and Cavite.
Both hiking trails will take you through dense forests, steep cliffs, and possibly vicious leeches. Hence, make sure to prepare before scaling this mountain!
14. Mount Guiting-Guiting
Mount Guiting-Guiting is as tough to climb as it looks. Located on Sibuyan Island in Romblon, this mountain is known for its jagged ridge, earning the nickname Saw-tooth among locals. As its shape implies, the slopes are steep and, combined with its thick forests, will test your resolve to the limit. If you’ve come to look for a challenge that will demand a lot of skills and up your respect as a mountaineer, consider Mount Guiting-Guiting when hiking in the Philippines.
Mountain climbing is one of the most physically exhausting activities out there. It is an activity that serves as a reflection of your own life: To reach your personal summit, you have to trek your way to the top. There are no elevators or convenient tracks, and you should rely on your own pace. In the end, an awesome summit awaits. Remember, it is not the mountain that you conquer, but yourself.
So, which of these mountains in the Philippines are you planning to explore first?
This article was originally published on TripZilla.