Guest Post by Gem Muzones – Co-Founder and Writer @ Travels with a Hobo
For most of us who hustle throughout the week, we want to escape the noise of the city by looking for new places to go or activities to try after a stressful work week. If you’re looking for a fun and adventurous escape near the city during the weekends or if you’re a tourist visiting the country, why not try mountain climbing? The Philippines is blessed with a multitude of hiking trails, from beginner-friendly hiking spots to massive awe-inspiring mountains. There’s nothing like challenging yourself to reach the peak and the sense of achievement that is felt after seeing the wonderful views from the summit. If you’re looking for a new hiking spot, check out this must-climb list below.
1. Mt. Pulag
Ranking as the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines at 2,922 m, Mt. Pulag in Benguet is one of the best hikes in the country. There are a few different trails to choose from, with Ambangeg being the easiest and most beginner-friendly, and the Akiki trail for the more adventurous. Note, though, that hikers are required to submit a medical certificate by the DENR to ensure that they are fit for the climb.
PS. The sunrise from this mountain is amazing!
2. Mt. Pamitinan
If you’re up for a challenge, try hiking Mt. Pamitinan in Rizal. Standing at 426 m, the mountain trail is mostly made of large rocks, perfect for those who don’t mind rock scrambling. It usually takes only 30 minutes to 2 hours to finish the trek but still could be a bit challenging for first-timers. It is best to wear gloves to protect you from sharp rocks for the bouldering part of the hike. Other activities can also be done after hiking Pamitinan such spelunking at the Pamitinan Cave, visiting the Wawa Dam, or twin hiking the nearby mountain, Mt. Binacayan.
3. Mt. Pico De Loro
If you ask most mountaineers in the Philippines what their first mountain was, most of them would answer Pico De Loro. This mountain is a beginner’s favorite because of the moderate trail and fantastic views. Standing at 664 m, this mountain is Cavite’s highest point. It would usually take hikers 3-4 hours to finish the trek. The picturesque view of Batangas and other neighboring provinces is a priceless reward.
4. Mt. Ulap
Photo Source: PinoyMountaineer.com
A newly opened hiking destination in Itogon, Benguet is Mt. Ulap. Towering at 1,846 m, this hiking spot easily made our list because of its grassy pine-ridged trail, cool weather, and scenic views of the Cordilleras. Mt. Ulap is only 40 minutes from Burnham Park, and is the perfect day hike from Baguio City.
5. Mt. Kupapey
Photo Source: PinoyMountaineer.com
Located in a small upland village in the town of Bontoc, Mt. Province, Mt. Kupapey is yet another breathtaking mountain towering above a sea of clouds and a scenic view of the Maligcong rice terraces. At an elevation of 1,539 m, the trail is considered beginner-friendly and would only take you 2-3 hours to reach the summit. If you’re a fan of dogs, then you’re in for a treat because guide dogs actually go with hikers, either owned by the guides or homestays. One of the famous guide dogs in Mt. Kupapey is Kunig, a sweet, brown dog who accompanies hikers during the trek.
6. Mt. Ugo
Another popular hiking spot among mountaineers is Mt. Ugo. It is one of the highest mountains in Benguet with an estimated elevation of 2,150 m. This one is also one of my favorites because of the enchanting forests, beautiful trees, and breath-taking views that this mountain provides. If you’re a beginner, it might be a bit more challenging since the trail is fairly difficult; however, the scenic views of the Cordillera make it worthwhile.
7. Mt. Isarog
Photo Source: Wikipedia
Located in Camarines Sur, Mt. Isarog is actually a dormant volcano standing 1,966 m. It is a long, strenusous climb, and would take you 10 hours to complete the hike. This mountain is often called a “paradise at the heart of CamSur” because of its rich biodiversity, mossy forests, abundant rivers, and a beautiful view of Bicol.
8. Mt. Balingkilat
In the Aeta language, Mt. Balingkilat literally means “Mountain of Thunder.” It is one of the highest peaks in Zambales at 1,100 m and is fast becoming as a hiking hotspot for residents of San Antonio and other neighboring towns of Subic. Like most mountains in western Luzon, Mt. Balingkilat offers the same rocky, grassy features with very little tree cover. The challenge is mostly battling with the heat of the sun and strong winds. The best strategy to conquer this mountain is by hiking early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The breathtaking view from the top includes the coastline of South China Sea, the coves of Zambales, and other mountain ridges.
9. Mt. Amuyao
Photo Source: Trover
Mt. Amuyao is the 9th highest mountain in the country, standing at 2,200 m. Although, you should be aware that this is a very challenging mountain that is popular among seasoned mountaineers. Located in the Mountain Province, it would take at least two days to conquer Mt. Amuyao. The journey to the top isn’t easy, but upon reaching the peak, you will be welcomed by a display of rich flora and breathtaking scenery of the Cordilleras. A view of the surrounding mountains, the world-famous rice terraces, and the famous sea of clouds can also be seen from the top of this mountain. The sunsets and sunrises are magnificent, and will surely make you fall in love.
10. Mt. Sicapoo
Known as the roof of Ilocos, Mt. Sicapoo is the most challenging mountain in this list. Standing at 2,354 m, Mt. Sicapoo would take you 14-20 hours to conquer. It requires a lot of stamina and physical strength to reach the summit, also known as the “Penguin” because of its shape. Perhaps the most difficult part of the trail was the Gasgas River crossing, but it was also one of the most breathtaking. Despite its difficulty, Mt. Sicapoo is also popular among seasoned mountaineers because of its beautiful view and challenging trails. Conquering the penguin rock was definitely a big achievement.
Climbing a mountain is one of the most exciting and rewarding activities you can engage in. So, what are you waiting for? Get going and conquer that mountain this weekend!