The Philippines is largely known for its beaches. The likes of the lively Boracay Island, the rustic surfing community in Siargao, and the white sands of El Nido are all too familiar to tourists and locals alike. Although it’s no question that this archipelago’s shores are extraordinary, the same could be said for its mountains and forests. In fact, there are several hikes you can go on across the Philippines, each being a unique adventure in of itself. If you tire that tropical breeze of the seaside and year more a colder whisper from the top of the world, here are some of the best hiking trails you can go on.
Pico De Loro
With only two hours of travel time from Manila, the capital of the Philippines, Pico De Loro has become one of the most prominent hiking trails for many Filipinos. It’s notable for being one of the highest peaks of Luzon, where when you reach the top of it, you’d get to see almost the entirety of Batangas and Cavite. Hikers usually start very early in the morning, both because there’s less traffic going to and from Manila, but also because of some very funny creatures. Monkeys are known to swing from tree to tree among the forests in this hike, while stray dogs are bound to hike with you all the way to the top.
Batangas is a known place for many Filipinos as home to a lot of beautiful beaches and scenic nature trails. One of the latter is Mt. Batulao, which is only 2.5 hours away from Manila. This beloved range of mountainous lands famous because of its array of hikes, both for experiences and first-timers alike. Whichever one you choose to pursue, rest assured you’ll be treated to an amazing view of vast green lands, healthy rainforests, and a stunning peak view of the entire province. Although it can be quite challenging, it’s said to be one of the neatest and cleanest trails in the entire country.
Up for a challenge? Want to test your endurance and overall capabilities through a hike? Only one trail comes to mind: Mt. Maculot. This particular hike is said to be steepest in the country, with most trails becoming more and more difficult as you attempt to reach the peak. In fact, it has three destinations: the Rockies, leading to the topmost part of the mountain, the Summit, which offers a stunning view of the Taal Volcano, and the Grotto, a beautiful trail that leads to a religious shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The first two are said to the more challenging ones, while the third is often taken by religious pilgrims.
A man-made adventure just waiting to be explored in the province of Rizal is the Masungi Georeserve. Here, vast lands of lush greeneries and exotic wildlife are preserved and well taken care of by the locals and the government, as well as offering adventurers a nice day of hiking through natural wonders. A mix of beautiful forests, various ecosystems, and man-made structures, like rope bridges, help those who are willing to spend a day in this beautiful reserve. This is one of the best places to hike for first-time backpackers, as well as those who want a calmer but still challenging route to take on.
People often hike for a cathartic challenge that’s difficult enough to make them sweat, but not so much that they get lost in the way. For this type of medium adventure, try going to Tarak Ridge in Bataan. The trail here isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but it’s not the most difficult to take on neither. The peak itself is a feast for the eyes, looking over the expanse of lands that surround the nature trail. And for those who might need a refresher, Papaya River is on the way to the peak and makes for a great spot for a lunch break or two.
Perhaps one of the most famous mountains on this list is Mt. Pinatubo. This semi-active volcano is known to have erupted multiple times, creating all sorts of tragedies for the communities that live near it. But aside from this infamous reputation, the trail of this mountain is one to go on if you’re an adventurous hiker. Since the disastrous eruption of 1991, the trail has become a challenging route with dried lava having formed in multiple parts of the mountain. Yet, when you go beyond the gray wastelands, there are lush greeneries, colorful flora, and refreshing springs. The juxtaposition is a sight to behold.
Although this is more of a hiking trail, the fame that Mt. Daraitan has formed through the years is more due to the beautiful Tinipak River that’s near the route itself. This majestic body of water, surrounded by white rock formations, is a feast for the eyes in of itself. A refreshing stop, it also features multiple caves and springs that are worth checking out. Oftentimes, hikers get so caught up with the beauty of the river that they tend to forget to continue on with the normal hike trail of the mountain. And when you see this magnificent river for yourself, you’ll understand why!
Go on an adventure the next time you’re in the Philippines. These hiking trials and more are sure to be the most memorable parts of your trip!