Photo (right) by @sherriegarcia on Instagram
While the Philippines is blessed with divine white sand beaches and tropical islands, adventure seekers will be happy to know that the country also has plenty of mountains for epic hiking trips. The Philippine archipelago is tucked within the Pacific Ring of Fire. Its proximity above the equator explains the presence of volcanoes and mountains around the three main island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
For a fun-filled vacation in the Philippines, hiking in the Philippines should be included in your travel itinerary. Aside from conquering the highest peaks in the country, joining hiking tours in the mountains of the Philippines will treat you to stunning mountain views, golden sunsets, and panoramic sunrise views underneath a sea of clouds.
We’ve listed below the best mountains to hike in the Philippines to help you plan your adventure:
Rising at 1,013 meters above sea level, Osmeña Peak is considered the highest peak in Cebu and a popular hiking spot in the Philippines because of its breathtaking mountain views. It is located in Dalaguete municipality or the Vegetable Basket of Cebu. Surrounding the rocky summit are rugged hills reminiscent of the famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol.
Overlooking the summit of Osmeña Peak is the panoramic view of the Southwestern coastline of Cebu. According to the Pinoy Mountaineer difficulty scale, Osmeña Peak has a minor hike classification with a rating of 3/9 in which the established trails are easy to navigate even for first-time hikers.
There are instances where you’ll climb over some rocks, but it’s not too challenging. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow for beginners. Situated near Osmeña Peak are several enchanting attractions in Cebu, including Kawasan Falls and Lambug Beach, less than 30KM away.
Deemed as the highest mountain in the Visayas mainland, Mt. Kanlaon majestically stands in Negros Island, the 4th largest island in the Philippines. Its peak stands 2,435 meters above sea level. Mt. Kanlaon is under Trail Class 4 with up to 4 days climb, according to Pinoy Mountaineer.
Beneath Mt. Kanlaon lies an impressive lunar-shaped crater summit. Surrounding the volcano are lush forests, lagoons, and waterfalls. It serves as a biodiversity haven featuring 200 species of flora. Mt. Kanlaon is also home to various endangered species, including the Philippine spotted deer and the Visayan Warty Pig.
Since it has a major hike difficulty rating of 8/9, intermediate-level hikers used to attempt the summit. The trail is difficult to traverse, mainly because of the high probability of encountering extreme weather conditions. Aside from the steep climb, you’ll also pass through different vegetation zones, from agricultural lands to thick rainforests.
Most of the breathtaking mountains in the Philippines stand majestically in Northern Luzon particularly on the Cordilleras, the country’s largest mountain range. One of which is Mt. Kabunian, a mystic mountain part of the Bakun Trilogy, alongside Mt. Lubo and Mt. Tenglawan in Bakun town, Benguet.
Its name “Kabunian” pertains to the highest deity of the Kankana-ey tribe in Mountain Province. Mt. Kabunian’s rocky mountainside also used to be a burial place with wooden coffins hanging on the cliffside.
Overlooking the Bakun Rice Terraces, Mt. Kabunian rises over 1,789 meters above sea level. During rainy days, it transforms into a crying mountain as the waterfalls cascade down the verdant landscape.
The Bakun trio is usually climbed in an average of 3 days to maximize the trip. Each has a minor climb classification, 5/9 difficulty rating, and between trail classes 1 to 3. Expect to traverse raging rivers, dense forests, and foggy grounds.
Photo by Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park
Mt. Kitanglad is the 4th highest mountain in the country. It is among the protected natural landscapes and hiking spots in the Philippines. As one of the top 5 tallest mountains in the Philippines, Mt. Kitanglad boasts a summit with an elevation of 2,899 meters above sea level in Bukidnon province, the Food Basket of Mindanao.
Mt. Kitanglad Range National Park is one of the few remaining flourishing rainforests in the Philippines. As a biodiversity haven, it is home to the rarest plant and animal species, including the Philippine Eagle. Being one of the abundant landscapes in the region, it also serves as the headwater of the three main river systems in Mindanao.
For its hiking specs, Mt. Kitanglad has a major climb classification with a difficulty rating of 6/9 and a trail class between 2 to 4 based on the Pinoy Mountaineer guide. Despite having well-established terrains, the path going up is extremely challenging, and only the most veteran hikers can surpass it.
Tucked within the Kitanglad Mountain Range is another breathtaking peak in the country with a beautiful mountain view on top. Mt. Dulang-dulang, the 2nd highest mountain in the Philippines, rises 2,938 meters above sea level. It possesses dense forests covered with thick moss and fog.
Emerging from the lush rainforests are a variety of landscapes, tall pine trees, and dense jungles that resemble a mystical vibe. The ancient trees that surround the forests are spiraling, and some even have convoluted branches. If you get lucky to see a clear summit, you might even get a glance at the majestic Mount Apo.
Given its major climb classification and a difficulty level of 6/9, those attempting to reach its summit should have prior hiking experience and extensive preparation. You must have yourself physically and mentally conditioned to traverse moss-covered jungles and slippery slopes.
Photo by @sherriegarcia on Instagram
Another magnificent hiking destination in the Philippines, known as Mt. Guiting-Guiting, lies at the heart of the Sibuyan Island in Romblon province, between Luzon and Visayas mainlands. It stands majestically at around 2,058 meters above sea level.
As shown in the difficulty scale of Pinoy Mountaineer, Mt. Guiting-Guting is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the Philippines. It falls under trail class 5 with a difficulty level of 9/9, which means the hike involves rock climbing wherein ropes are required. The climb will take you an average of 4 days to reach the peak.
Mt. Guiting-Guiting, along with Mt. Halcon and Mt. Mantalingajan, is under the Knife Edge Trilogy because of its steep and highly technical trails that only seasoned hikers can survive. Despite the challenging paths going to the summit, the mountain serves as a peaceful sanctuary of diverse flora and fauna with 54 endemic plants, including the rarest rodent and bat species.
Comparable to Mt. Guiting-Guiting because of its extremely difficult trails, Mt. Halcon is one of the toughest hikes in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,582 meters above sea level. Situated in Oriental Mindoro, this magnificent mountain features steep paths that would require advanced hikers to pass dense forests and cross raging rivers.
Mt. Halcon is home to a large diversity of flora and fauna, including the critically endangered Mindoro Tamaraw. Similar to Mt. Guiting-Guiting, it is also coined as a “Knife Edge” because of its challenging trails. However, Mt. Halcon is easier to navigate except for the wooden ladder you’ll have to climb.
With Mt. Halcon’s major hike classification and difficulty level of 9/9, it takes an average of 3 to 4 days to get to the summit. Upon reaching the peak, breathtaking views of the entire Mindoro Island await you. On a clear day, you might even have a glimpse of the nearby Mt. Banahaw in Quezon, Mt. Maculot in Batangas, and Mt. Mayon in Albay from the summit.
Less than 100KM away from the Philippines capital, Manila, is Mt. Pinatubo, an active stratovolcano that used to be a dormant volcano 500 years before it erupted in June 1991. Majestically tucked in Zambales province, it is one of the sought-after day hike mountains near Manila that attracts many local and international travelers.
Photo by Department of Tourism
Mt. Pinatubo’s devastating eruption is considered the 2nd largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century. Decades after the disaster, it is now a majestic attraction. A rewarding view of the stunning turquoise-colored crater lake awaits mountaineers on top, making it one of the best hikes in the Philippines.
There are two options to explore Mt. Pinatubo. When you book the Mt. Pinatubo day tour package, you may opt to ride a 4x4 vehicle and go on a short Mt. Pinatubo hike to reach the crater lake. Another option is to trek the Sapang Uwak Delta-V trail, which is a lot steeper because you’ll climb up rocks, cross rivers, and rappel down with ropes to get to the crater lake. After your hike, have a relaxing spa day tour at Puning Hot Spring Resort, one of the best natural hot spring resorts in the Philippines.
Bordering the Northernmost provinces of Benguet and Ifugao in the Cordillera region, Mt. Pulag is the country's third-highest mountain and Luzon's highest peak with an elevation of 2,922 meters above sea level. It is one of the most popular destinations for a major hike in Luzon.
It is called the Playground of the Gods because it offers breathtaking such as one of the best sea of clouds in the Philippines views. The temperature here can even drop to -2 degrees Celcius. Surrounding the trails are vast vegetable gardens and mossy pine forests.
Hikers should expect rugged paths with somewhat steep slopes when traversing the trail via the Ambangeg hike. It has a difficulty level of 3/9, so it is beginner-friendly and mildly challenging for first-timers.
But, if you’re going to pass through the Akiki-Ambangeg trail, you might conquer extreme weather conditions and treks that are only for intermediate-level hikers. The Akiki-Ambangeg trail has a difficulty level of 7/9 and major hikes that require an average of 5 to 9 hours.
The highest in the country and undeniably the best mountain to hike in the Philippines is Mt. Apo with a summit towering 2,956 meters above sea level over Southern Mindanao. It is located west of Davao City, home to the critically endangered Philippine Eagle.
It exhibits a multitude of landscapes, from mossy swamps to craggy rocks and lush forests. One of the many trails you’ll encounter during a Mt Apo trekking package is the Kidapawan trail, which belongs to trail class 4, having a difficulty level of 7/9 with steep slopes and cliffs.
Photo by Department of Tourism
Getting to the first campsite will require you to cross the Mabel River by walking through coconut logs. At the Mainit Hot Springs, you can take a short soothing dip before heading to the second campsite at Lake Venado.
When traversing the Kapatagan and Sta. Cruz trails, there are gigantic volcanic boulders with sulfuric vents that spew fumes. From there, it will take you three hours to reach the summit.
Aside from hiking the summit, travelers can go on a Mt Apo National Park day tour for a short trek and fun activities like cable riding and zipline adventures.
Explore the Breathtaking Peaks in the Philippines
When planning a vacation in the Philippines, don’t forget to consider the popular mountains in the Philippines for hiking. For nature lovers, you can visit Mt. Makiling in Laguna and Masungi Georeserve in Rizal. If you've been to an exhilarating Mt. Makiling hike, you might want to go hiking in Batangas to the adjacent mountains of Mt. Batulao, Pico de Loro, and Mt. Maculot.
For those who like to bask in a sea of clouds, head over to Mt. Ulap in Benguet where you’ll feel like you’re soaring in the high heavens. You can also fly to the northernmost tip of the country and go on a hiking tour to Mt. Iraya in Batanes to capture sweeping sea views.
For more pulse-rasing activities, explore the perfectly cone-shaped Mt. Mayon in Albay. Take an exhilarating Mayon ATV ride when you book the Mayon Volcano tour. It comes with a Mayon Volcano ATV tour price that fits your budget. In Northern Mindanao, Camiguin's Mt. Hibok-Hibok is a sight to behold along with White Island and other nearby spots included in the Camiguin tour package.
Whether you’re a hiker or a beach lover, the Philippines has so much to offer! Conquer your fears and start planning your mountain climbing Philippines adventure! Bookmark our collection of Philippine travel packages and check out the best hiking spots in the Philippines.