Looking for an adventure? Climb a mountain! In addition to being a really great way to work out and stay in shape (think: leaner legs and tighter abs), climbing mountains can be incredibly fun especially when you’re in the company of good friends. Whether you’re in it to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, to take a breather from the bustle of the city, or you’re a hardcore climber pushing your limits, the experience of reaching the summit is exhilarating.
It's a tough list to narrow down with so many beautiful peaks to conquer in the Philippines, but ours includes some of the more accessible ones suited for both novice and seasoned mountaineers. Ready to trek? Scroll down!
Mt. Batulao (Trailhead: Evercrest, Nasugbu)
Difficulty level: 1/5
Straggling along a ridge that skirts the Taal caldera, Mt. Batulao at 881MASL (Meters Above Sea Level) is the perfect introduction to mountain climbing in the Philippines. It can be done as a day hike that combines amazing 360-degree views of the Tagaytay and Nasugbu areas with just the right amount of challenge. Enjoy the cool breezes at the peak, have a picnic at one of the campsites, and get to know the locals who sell buko and local snacks along the trails.
Mt Pinatubo (Trailhead: Capas, Tarlac)
Difficulty level: 1/5
We've been to Mt. Pinatubo! View the gallery here.
1990 was the year Filipinos experienced one of the most horrifying natural disasters to date: the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Fast-forward 24 years later, and who would have imagined that a crater lake so beautiful could have risen out of such a destructive event? The thrill of hiking Mt. Pinatubo lies in the action-packed expedition to reach its crater, from the wild 4x4 drive across lahar deserts to the trek through canyons and volcanic streams. It’s all worth it because once you arrive at the crater, you’ll be rewarded with a view of the spectacular turquoise-colored lake amid a backdrop of glacier-like peaks reminiscent of the snow-capped alps. Trust us, you will be filled with awe.
Pico de Loro (Ternate, Cavite)
Difficulty level: 2/5
Pico de Loro, named for the shape of the mountain’s summit—the "Parrot’s Beak," makes for another fantastic day hike from Manila. From the ranger station just a few minutes away from the Puerto Azul resort, a steep trail leads you through thick tropical forests and the occasional flowing river until you reach the bamboo groves of the summit campsite. What makes Pico de Loro so enchanting is the dramatic rocky tower that stands adjacent to the summit. Real adventure-seekers can attempt to scale the craggy Parrot’s Beak, but be careful as the scramble to the top is quite daunting especially without proper training.
Mt. Pulag (Trailhead: Bokod, Benguet)
Difficulty level: 3/5
This list wouldn’t be complete without including the majestic Mt. Pulag, the pride of the entire Cordillera mountain range. Rising 2922MASL, this is literally the highest anyone can get in Luzon and the coldest place in the Philippines with temperatures dropping below zero (a perfect opportunity to bring out those scarves and winter coats!). Start your trip from Baguio, which would make Pulag a convenient two-day trek, and set up camp just below the summit where you’ll witness the legendary and breathtaking sea of clouds at sunrise.
Mt. Apo (North Cotabato & Davao del Sur, Mindanao)
Difficulty level: 5/5
Finally, here we are with THE mountain of Philippine mountains! Rightly dubbed as the Grandfather of Philippine Mountains, Mt. Apo is the highest in the country at just under 3,000MASL. Be awe-inspired as you hike through mystical lakes, lush jungles abundant with pitcher plants and tasty wild berries, and rocky mountainsides. Just before the summit, get those gloves out as you’ll need to make your way up a vertical section of volcanic boulders. In the end, this expedition gives you the grandest reward yet: the pride of standing on the highest point in all of our 7,107 islands.