The Philippines is a country known for its stunning islands and beaches, but it's also home to some of the most breathtaking hikes in the world. For hikers, the country offers a perfect blend of adventure, challenge, and natural beauty.
Whether you're seeking solitude, breathtaking views, or simply looking to conquer a feat, the Philippines has a trail for every hiker. From towering mountains to lush rainforests, the country's diverse landscape offers a plethora of options for hikers.
In this article, we've put together a list of the best day hikes in the Philippines that are both fun and challenging. So, whether you're an experienced hiker or a beginner looking for an adventure, grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore the natural wonders of the Philippines.
You can also read: The Ultimate Philippines 10-Day Itinerary
1. Mount Pulag
Located on the borders of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya, Mount Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon and the third third-highest mountain in the country. It is also one of the most popular day-hike destinations in the Philippines.
Hikers come to this mountain, not just for a rewarding climb, but also because of the view of the sea of clouds. The views literally transport you to a different world!
Considered by many as a hidden gem of the Cordilleras, Mount Pulag is also known to be one of the most challenging peaks to conquer, and only the toughest backpackers can brave the ascent.
There are four major trails to the summit: Ambangeg, Akiki, Tawangan, and Ambaguio. The most suitable one for a day hike is the Ambangeg trail as it’s the easiest. It will take 4-6 hours to complete the hike on this trail.
2. Mount Batulao
Batangas is a perfect haven for locals seeking a break from the fast-paced life of Manila and the monotony of work. With its stunning beaches, delicious cuisine, and picturesque mountains, it's a paradise that has something for everyone. One such gem is Mt. Batulao.
Mt. Batulao, seen majestically from the lowlands of Lipa Batangas, is one of the most popular hikes in the Philippines. It's a favourite among beginners and tourists because of its accessibility and open trail, which takes 5-6 hours to complete. The mountain's easy route and breathtaking views from the summit make it a favourite hiking destination for many.
At the top, you'll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of neighbouring towns, nearby mountains, and bodies of water, making it an experience you'll never forget. Whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a scenic escape, including Mt. Batulao in your itinerary is a must-do.
3. Masungi Georeserve
Nestled in Tanay, Rizal, the Masungi Georeserve is a unique geological park and conservation area that offers a one-of-a-kind hiking experience. Unlike your typical trails, Masungi Georeserve offers two distinct trails that showcase the park's stunning natural beauty and rich geological history.
The Discovery Trail is an exhilarating journey that offers hikers a chance to test their skills and explore nature's wonders. Along the way, hikers will encounter a series of obstacles, including rock scrambling, cave exploration, and structure traversal, as well as opportunities for sightseeing, meditation, and relaxation.
One of the best aspects of the Discovery Trail is the knowledgeable park ranger who accompanies hikers on the journey. As you navigate the trail, your ranger will provide fascinating insights into topics such as ecology, environmental sustainability, geotourism, and wildlife protection. This turns the hike into an educational tour that's both fun and informative.
4. Mount Pico De Loro
For those seeking a breathtaking view of the South China Sea and Cavite plains, a hike up Mount Pico De Loro is an absolute must-do in the Philippines. Rising above the town of Cavite in the province of Cavite, Mount Pico De Loro offers stunning panoramic views that will leave you in awe.
Aside from the spectacular view, there are many other reasons why trekking Mount Pico De Loro is an enticing adventure. The hike offers a range of difficulty and distance options, making it perfect for seasoned hikers looking for a challenge. Along the way, hikers will encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna, from singing birds to playful monkeys, orchids, and fruit-bearing trees.
5. Mount Maculot
Mt. Maculot is a popular day trip destination during the summer in the Philippines, located in Batangas and just a 2-hour drive from the capital. As you hike through its trails, you'll walk through lush forests and canopies and you might also be rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise view over Taal Lake.
Rising 930 meters above sea level, Mt. Maculot offers three distinct highlights for hikers to explore: Rockies, Summit, and Grotto. The Rockies section of the trail requires you to navigate through large rocks, providing a challenging but rewarding experience.
As you make your way towards the summit, you'll face steep ascents and descents that will test your endurance and hiking skills. Finally, the journey to the Grotto is less challenging but still offers a chance to rest and reflect on your journey thus far.
6. Mount Manalmon
Nestled in Bulacan, Mt. Manalmon is a perfect destination for those who are seeking a relatively easy climb, making it one of the best day hikes in the Philippines. The trail is ideal for budding adventurers and first-time hikers.
Embark on a journey to discover limestones, caves, flowers, a river, rocky formations, grassy fields, indigenous trees, and breathtaking views of the neighbouring mountains.
The hike takes around 3 hours, and Mt. Manalmon's charm lies in its unique features that captivate nature enthusiasts, despite being shorter in height compared to other mountains.
7. Mount Daraitan
Seasoned hikers love coming back to Mount Daraitan, simply because there are so many other activities that can be enjoyed here aside from mountaineering. Some come for camping, while some are interested in caving.
Mt. Daraitan also boasts a beginner-friendly hiking opportunity that is welcoming to novices. The path is mostly covered in soil and trees so it’s great for a daytime exploration.
Situated on the borders of Tanay, Rizal, and Quezon provinces, the Daraitan trail can be completed in around 4 hours at a moderate pace. The summit offers a panoramic view of the Sierra Madre mountains and river.
8. Mount Ulap
For many Filipinos, mountains like Mt. Ulap are a testament to the awe-inspiring power of the natural world and its ability to inspire a sense of spirituality. As such, they believe that these majestic peaks are evidence of a supreme being and associate them with the heavens or the skies.
Hiking Mt. Ulap can offer a profound and spiritual experience, making it a popular destination for hikers seeking a deeper connection with nature.
“Ulap” which translates to clouds in the local language is what hikers will catch sight of once they reach the summit of Mt. Ulap.
The walk to the peak takes about 4 hours following a moderate pace. Hikers need to opt for the Eco-trail if they prefer a day hike. Be mindful that due to the popularity of this adventure, there are crowds and long queues on weekends.
9. Mount Kulis
Just a short trip away from Manila, Mt. Kulis is a hidden gem for nature lovers seeking a great hiking destination in the Philippines. With its picturesque scenery, the mountain inspires younger hikers to explore its trails and immerse themselves in nature.
But Mt. Kulis is more than just a hiking destination - it's also a popular spot for camping and stargazing. In fact, many friends come here to spend a night under the stars. Mt. Kulis is also ideal for small groups of companies looking for team building and recreational activities amidst the stunning outdoors.
Things to Know about Hiking in the Philippines
The mountains in the Philippines are a beautiful place to go hiking, but there are some things you need to remember before you head out.
Make sure to bring enough water, snacks, and food.
Check the weather before you set out to make sure you're dressed appropriately.
Bring a map and GPS tracker with you, in case of emergency or lost hikers.
Bring an emergency whistle, just in case!
If you're going hiking with friends or fellow travellers, make sure that everyone has the appropriate gear for their own safety.
Be sure to bring a first aid kit, and know how to use it!
Bring something to sleep in, even if you plan to go to your hotel after hiking.
As a final note, don't forget to have fun when you go on these hikes! Whether you're exploring solo, with a partner, or with friends and family, the mountains offer a beautiful backdrop for adventure and relaxation. Just be sure to prioritize safety and follow responsible hiking practices to ensure a positive experience for everyone.
With its numerous mountains and hills, the country offers plenty of opportunities for hiking and exploring the great outdoors. So next time you're planning a trip to the Philippines, don't forget to include a hike or two on your itinerary. Happy trails!