Every now and then, you need to take a break from the toxicity of everyday life. With Manila traffic nowadays, the heightened stress levels and pollution can really take a toll on your body. As such, it would be undeniably refreshing to spend a weekend with nature and just breathe fresh air. Go where your feet take you without having to worry about the usual city life.
Here are my Top 10 favorite mountains to climb near the Metro:
1. Mt. Pulag – Benguet Province (2,922+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Pulag National Park is the third highest mountain in the Philippines and the highest in Luzon. It is located in one of the coldest province in the country which is Benguet, a 3 and a half hour drive from Baguio standing 2,922 meters above sea level, the National Park is a favorite trekking destination and considered to have the most beautiful cloudscape and summit’s landscape of all the Philippine mountains, thus tagging it as the “Playground of the Gods”.
2. Mt. Maculot – Cuenca, Batangas (730+ meters above sea level)
For all hikers who are looking for a day-trip destination, Mt. Maculot in Batangas should be included on your list. It’s just a 2-hour drive from Manila then 3-4 hours hike up to the Rockies. Mt. Maculot features the magnificent view of Taal Lake, rock formations and lush green forests which made climbing to the top of this mountain worth every step.
3. Mt. Pico De Loro (CLOSED!)- Ternate, Cavite (664+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Pico de Loro is part of a protected Forest in Ternate, Cavite called Mt. Palay-Palay or Parrot’s Beak. At 664 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak in Cavite. North of it is the island of Corregidor. Nasugbu, Batangas in the south. Maragondon, Cavite on the east and the South China Sea on the west. It is a popular hiking site both for amateur and newbie mountaineers alike. One, at 2 and a half hour travel time, it’s very accessible from Manila. Two, because it is a minor climb, it appeals to people who are not necessarily professional climbers. In short, it is one of the easiest mountains to climb.
4. Mt. Batulao – Nasugbu, Batangas (811+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Batulao is located at Nasugbu, Batangas and is 811 meters above sea level. The accessibility, the 360 degrees breathtaking view of Batangas and the amazing landscape of the mountain makes it one of the perfect getaway from the city. It is also one of the top mountains for beginners. Climbing Batulao doesn’t necessarily need to have a guide as the trail is relatively easy. During weekends, there are a lot of mountaineers along the trails so it’s very impossible for you to get lost.
5. Mt. Gulugod-Baboy – Anilao, Batangas (525+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Gulugod-Baboy (Mt. Pinagbanderahan) is situated at the diving haven of Batangas. From a bird’s eye view, the mountain’s peak looked like pig’s spine, thus the name. According to Pinoy Mountaineer, this mountain is classified as a minor climb with a difficulty 2/9 and trail class of 1-2. It is perfect for beginners. The trail is kinda similar to Mt. Batulao, but Mt. Gulugod Baboy is way easier (though it is still challenging).
6. Mt. Pamitinan – Rodriguez, Rizal (426+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Pamitinan is located at Rodriguez, Rizal. Rizal is definitely one of my go-to-place for hiking. It’s very close to Manila and the mountains it offers are just overwhelming. When we set this climb, I have high expectations. To date, the best view I had was at the summit of Mt. Maculot in Batangas. But after climbing, Rizal has proven its worth. Mt. Pamitinan offers not only a wonderful experience but it’s the cheapest trip I’ve ever had for just only 200 php!
7. Mt. Binacayan – Rodriguez, Rizal (424+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Binacayan is considered to be the shortest among the other mountains in Brgy. Wawa. It is known for being the twin mountain of Mt. Pamitinan and bordered by a river. It features the same scenic view on summit but has a different impact when it comes to the hiking experience. It’s very much recommended for beginners.
8. Mt. Hapunang Banoi – Rodiguez, Rizal (517+ meters above sea level)
Mt. Hapunang Banoi is one of a kind limestone formations situated in Sierra Madre Mountain Range. The name Hapunang Banoi comes from its folkloric seat as the place where eagles come to dine. Mt. Hapunang Banoi was given a 4/9 classification with minor specification by Pinoy Mountaineer. It is known for its limestone formations and the 360 scenic view of Sierra Madre and Rizal Province.
9. Mt. Pinatubo – Capas, Tarlac (960+ meters above sea level)
Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines at the intersection of the borders of the provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, and Pampanga. If not for the eruption that destroyed the volcano’s original crater (June 1991) and formed a large caldera, there would be no Mount Pinatubo Crater Lake. The easily eroded lahar flows have created a stunning landscape around the volcano. A scene that looks like it came straight out of a postcard, you’ll see a range of gray and green peaks and valleys encircling a turquoise-colored lake with bright blue skies in its background. It is unbelievable that something this beautiful would come from such a destructive event.
10. Taal Volcano – Talisay, Batangas (311+ meters above sea level)
Just 50 kilometers from the south of Manila and at the middle of Taal Lake lies the smallest active volcano in the world. You can actually reach the crater by riding a horse, but me and Ashley chose to hike instead. Taal Volcano’s charm is indeed magnetic. Imagine a volcano within a lake, within a volcano, within an island. If that doesn’t confuse you, technically the Vulcan Point Island is within Taal Volcano Island, which is within Taal Lake, sitting within Luzon Island and comprised within the Philippine Islands. I guess that makes sense now?