There’s a curious cat in all of us that wants to feel something out of the ordinary. It’s the “We always want what we don’t have” syndrome that’s got us hooked in the reel of tourist attractions offering rare and unusual experiences, like freediving, riding a hot air balloon, skydiving, and even ghost hunting. But, for the lesser adventurous kind (that’s me), watching a sea of clouds linger over mountains and valleys is more than enough to take my breath away. So if you’re looking for a sea of clouds in the Philippines, this one’s for you!
Encountering a sea of clouds in the Philippines
There is something special about being up close and personal to a sea of clouds. Some say it drives your utmost excitement. So when I got to witness it for the first time, it was a surreal and emotional experience.
“Magical” and “dreamlike” probably come closest to describing the encounter I had. Standing near the clouds and feeling the breeze of a dewy morning brought a heavenly trip. The sun rays glistening between the clouds evoked memories of my father’s recent passing. Then, just at a moment’s notice, the sun was already high up, and the clouds were gone.
Watching a sea of clouds in the Philippines brings out different emotions for everyone. Yet, for people like me who are blessed enough to have seen such a beautiful phenomenon, we can all agree that it’s an experience that deserves its own journey. Perhaps in another mountain, another cliff, or in another valley. So if you’re thinking of catching a sea of clouds in the Philippines, here are ten locations to consider.
1. Mount Pulag in Benguet, Mountain Province
Let’s just put it out there: A list of a sea of clouds in the Philippines is not complete without this marvellous piece of natural creation.
Unbeknown to some, Mount Pulag is a dormant volcano. Dubbed as the “playground of the gods”, it is famous for its cold temperatures and a heavenly sea of clouds. Climb above its viewpoints, and you’ll feel like you’re a deity watching over mortals with a vast, seemingly endless blanket of clouds hovering below you.
Fun fact: Mount Pulag, with an elevation of 2,928 metres above sea level, lets you witness a sea of clouds almost certainly. The average height of low-level clouds is around 2,000 metres; when you reach the peak of this mountain, you’ll be almost 1,000 metres above the clouds.
2. Kiltepan Peak in Sagada, Mountain Province
“Until the heart is no longer pierced through the arrow.” — That Thing Called Tadhana (2014)
Kiltepan Peak may very well pierce your heart with its radiant natural wonder. Kiltepan is an oft-climbed viewpoint, made even more famous after being part of a movie set for That Thing Called Tadhana.
Located in Sagada, “where broken hearts go”, Kiltepan Peak has a sea of clouds that extends a short solace to melancholic spirits. If you can muster the patience to carry on a nine-hour drive from Manila, visit Kiltepan Peak to make your journey worthwhile.
3. Mount Apo in Davao Region
Regarded as the king of Philippine peaks, Mount Apo has a high altitude which is undoubtedly a perfect spot for viewing a sea of clouds.
While there are many trail options to reach the peak, there is no escaping the challenging trek. Therefore, good physical conditioning and strong stamina are a must. Tiring as it may be, adventurers and hikers still dare the slopes to get a glimpse of the sea of clouds on Mount Apo.
4. Mount Ugo in the Cordillera Region
When I said watching a sea of clouds is meant for the less adventurous, I didn’t mean it spares you from hiking kilometres of steep boulders and narrow footpaths. Especially if we’re talking about the sea of clouds in Mount Ugo. To reach a viewpoint where you can be closest to the sea of clouds, you will have to trek thousands of metres uphill and spend the night in a tent amid the lush wilderness of the mountain.
The climb is not easy, with every step getting heavier further along the path. Mount Ugo sounds like just another morning exercise for seasoned mountain climbers, but for me, I would be vomiting my soul out after a few kilometres.
5. Gabriel’s Sanctuary in Antipolo, Rizal
A place where the clouds feel like a few metres apart from you, Gabriel’s Sanctuary stays true to its name. The campground offers a 180-degree view of a sea of clouds embracing the Sierra Madre mountains. Their quaint camping grounds are only an hour away from the Metro. And, in case you’re wondering, there is no entrance fee for overnight campers!
6. Gerald Paradise Adventure Campsite & Farm in Antipolo, Rizal
You might think that catching the sea of clouds on a lovely morning cannot possibly be taken to another level. Well, think again. Aside from offering a 360-degree view of thick and misty mountains, Gerald Paradise Adventure Campsite & Farm has more tricks up its sleeve. To satisfy relaxation-hungry guests, they built an outdoor bathtub with a complete view of the sea of clouds.
Listen to the tunes of Pamungkas’ To The Bone and get chilled to the bones as you soak yourself in a soothing, muscle-numbing bath, al fresco style.
7. Cafe Katerina in Tanay, Rizal
Frequenters of Tanay are surely familiar with Cafe Katerina. Sitting along Marilaque Highway, the famous cafe offers sumptuous meals and overlooking views. Every morning, several travellers and group riders stop at Cafe Katerina to admire the sea of clouds of Tanay, which is easily visible from their view deck.
8. Martessem in Tanay, Rizal
Do you want to catch your first sea of clouds without breaking a sweat? Look no further, and travel no farther to Martessem Resort. You can drive right to their open garden, which boasts a perfect viewing angle of the sea of clouds in the Sierra Madre. The resort blends nature with a touch of modern architecture and landscaping. It is a crowd favourite, often visited by celebrities and group riders.
Insider insight: I used to call this “Coco Martin’s Sea of Clouds”. The long-running FPJ’s Ang Probinsiyano shot Martessem’s stunning location as a set for a few of their 1,590 episodes (as of 15 Mar 2022).
9. House of Clouds in Tanay, Rizal
Leave the sophisticated jungle that is Metro Manila and hibernate with a tantalising sea of clouds view at the House of Clouds. The House of Clouds brings its guests to an unassuming clifftop cabin deep in the forests of Tanay. Spend your day relaxing into your inner thoughts as you swing your stress away. Let your feet dangle above a sea of clouds and inhale all the positivity you breathe in.
Whether you are alone, with friends, or with your significant other, House of Clouds is the perfect getaway.
10. Treasure Mountain in Tanay, Rizal
The Treasure Mountain is one of the first accommodations in Tanay that features a sea of clouds. They offer tents and nipa huts available for rent overnight. You won’t have to worry about bringing your own food as well! They have a modest restaurant that serves delightful Filipino dishes.
Years ago, there wasn’t much hype around catching a sea of clouds in the Philippines. Back then, climbers of famous high-altitude mountains were the only ones who experienced such a beautiful wonder. But, I decided I had to see one for myself. Fortunately, there was a thunderstorm the night before my trip, so that morning’s sea of clouds was thicker than usual. Nature never disappoints.
If you haven’t been close to a sea of clouds in the Philippines, I highly suggest that you add this activity to your bucket list. Pick one from the list and plan your next trip closer to the heavens!
Featured image credit: Martin Joseph Raymundo | Official Instagram Page