Top things to do in the Philippines
Discover all the adventures you can experience in the Philippines
Aside from the world-famous Philippine beaches found in Boracay Island and Palawan destinations like El Nido and Coron, travelers can also explore another side of the country's beautiful outdoor spots by hiking in some of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines.
The trails leading up to some of the most stunning Philippines hiking spots pass through areas teeming with life, such as forests and rivers, giving you glimpses of its rich biodiversity. While the best mountains in the Philippines are scattered throughout the three island regions (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao), more than a handful of them are located in Luzon tourist spots and are great spots for hiking near Manila, capital of the Philippines.
Thanks to their proximity to Metro Manila, which comprises 16 cities, including the country's capital city of Manila, these mountains make for perfect day hikes for those spending a day or two in the metro. Read on to check out where you can find some of these peaks for day tours near Manila and what they offer to help you decide which ones to include in your vacation in the Philippines.
Mt. Sipit Ulang stands at 252 meters above sea level in the mountain ranges of Rizal, a province that is also home to caves, waterfalls, and lush forests to name a few of the many Rizal tourist spots. It is about 38 KM from Manila City, making it a popular destination for a road trip near Manila.
To reach its summit, you may take different trails, with the most popular one being the Banayad trail. As you make your way to the peak, you will initially pass through an open field before the path gradually becomes steeper. The trail also cuts through forests with tall, thin trees to help shield you from the sun.
Along with the greenery, you will also come across several rock formations and large boulders that you may need to squeeze through to continue on the path. By the time you reach the summit, you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the nearby mountains. As the journey here only takes about 3 hours to finish, Mt. Sipit Ulang is a perfect mountain for beginners.
Mt. Gulugod Baboy is located in the province of Batangas, a seaside destination that is also home to several beaches and diving spots like Anilao diving. Like most tourist spots in Batangas, the Mt. Gulugod Baboy hiking tour is popular among day tours near Manila as it is only 131 KM away from the city.
Although it stands at about 470 meters above sea level, a Mt. Gulugod Baboy day hike tour will pass through a trail that is generally considered an easy climb suited for newbies wanting to overcome their first summit. The mountain is mostly covered in grass with only a handful of trees, so remember to wear the proper gear and bring water to keep yourselves cool throughout the trek.
On the plus side, not having to pass through groups of thick trees allows you to admire the scenic view of Batangas Bay and the ocean as you climb. After reaching the summit and making your way back down, you can take a side trip to more tourist spots near Manila, such as Tagaytay City. If you wish to spend more than a day in Batangas, you can also choose from the many affordable resorts near Manila.
When looking for Bulacan mountains to hike, a perfect option for beginners is Mt. Manalmon. Apart from this towering mountain that is about 196 meters above sea level that you can explore when you join a Mt. Manalmon day hike tour, travelers can find several historical sites and nature parks that compose of the many tourist spots in Bulacan as well. For those coming from Manila, Mt. Manalmon is only about 86 KM away and can be reached via land transportation.
After registering at the jump-off point, the trail will take you through a forest and a few rivers. Coupled with the sounds of the water and the local fauna, several limestones are also located along the path. At the end of the trail, you will find yourself at the summit and face-to-face with a fantastic view of the nearby hills that are covered in lush forests.
Photo by Tanay Tourism
About 59 KM from Manila, Mt. Nagpatong or the Nagpatong Rock Formation in Rizal has become a go-to attraction for budding climbers thanks to its beginner-friendly trail. The rock formation at the end of the trail consists of two tall limestone cliffs that appear as layers of stone stacked together, hence the name. In Tagalog, the word “patong” means “to put on top of.”
The Mt. Nagpatong Rock day hike tour to the rock formation only has a few ascents and passes through groups of trees that provide shade from the sun. For beginners, the only challenging part of the climb may be the wooden ladders positioned at the side of each cliff that allows you to get on top of these limestone formations. Upon reaching the top, however, you will have a panoramic view of the verdant greens and other mountains to hike in Rizal.
Mt. Maculot is one of the best mountains to hike in Batangas for first-timers as the trail is considered among the easiest in the province. It has also turned into a popular day trip activity since it is only about 92 KM from Manila City. While the mountain has three destinations, most travelers only make their way to the Rockies, which stands at about 706 meters above sea level.
On the way to the Rockies, you will pass by a handful of rest stops as well, where you can buy drinks and snacks. As you get closer to the Rockies, you will have to pass by parts of the trail that have ropes anchored onto certain spots to assist you.
When you finally get past the final portions of the trail, you will be rewarded with a scenic view of Taal Lake, which is among the reasons this spot has become so popular. You may also stand or sit on a rock here that overlooks the lake, making for a great photo to commemorate your climb.
Another mountain in Batangas that is suited for beginners is Mt. Batulao, which is only about 87 KM from Manila. Its peak is about 811 meters above sea level and offers a breathtaking view of the adjacent hills and slopes covered in lush greenery. The trails leading to the summit are mostly straightforward, with only a few steep ascents and descents scattered throughout.
For the most part, the path is bordered only by tall patches of grass that allow you to glimpse at the surrounding hills as you make your way to the top of Mt. Batulao. The open trail also welcomes winds that help keep you refreshed despite the lack of trees to shade you from the sun.
Should you want to rest, there are several camps or rest stops along the trail where you can take a moment to catch your breath. Some of them also sell refreshments and snacks to keep you energized during your journey. At the summit, make sure to take photos with the scenery before wrapping up your climb.
Only 64 KM from Manila, Mt. Daraitan is known as one of the best places to try hiking in Rizal for beginners as you can conquer this summit during a day trip. This is a perfect experience for anyone wanting to immerse in the outdoors, as the trail involves a trek through a shallow river. A Mt. Daraitan day hike tour also passes through tropical forests teeming with plants. In addition, you will come across several limestone formations jutting out from the mountain as you make your way to the top.
Although it is still considered a good climb for novice hikers, the trail may still prove to be challenging at times, so make sure to eat properly ahead of the hike to have enough energy. The trail gets progressively harder the closer you are to the peak that stands at over 600 meters above sea level. However, by the time you get to the summit, you will find a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape.
Mt. Daraitan is also a great spot for Tanay hiking overnight as you have the option to pitch a tent by Tinipak River before or after climbing to the peak. Along with the Tinipak River, there are also other nearby peaks and a cave that you can explore when going on Rizal tours.
Photo by Fresno Agro Forestry and Eco Tourist Campsite
Mt. Kulis is among the newer peaks in Rizal that were opened to the public but has easily become a popular beginner mountain to hike in the Philippines. Aside from being just around 55 KM from Manila, this summit stands at about 620 meters above sea level. A Mt.Kulis day hike tour has also stood out from other attractions in Rizal thanks to the sea of clouds you can see from its peak in the early mornings.
The best spot to view this natural phenomenon from is on a wooden boat-like structure called Noah's Ark. This boat sits atop a limestone formation by the peak and gives you an unobstructed view of the clouds if you arrive before daybreak. If you choose to climb after the sun rises, you will instead be greeted by the green landscapes that become visible as the clouds fade away.
Aside from being a frequented spot for a day hike near Metro Manila, travelers can also spend the night at a campsite by the peak or try out nearby activities such as ATV adventures Rizal.
Mt. Makiling has attracted groups of hikers and scientists over the years due to its rich biodiversity. Its peak is located about 1,090 meters above sea level in the province of Laguna, a province well-known for serene lakes, majestic waterfalls, and several hot spring resorts that compose other Laguna tourist spots.
Mt. Makiling is also a famous place to go hiking in Laguna since it is only 77 KM from Manila and boasts an impressive array of flora and fauna. However, the trails leading to the peak feature steep ascents, making it a climb better suited for those with experience mountaineering in the Philippines.
Along with the many animals that call the forests home, hikers may also come across leeches as you make your way up, so make sure to be alert and wear clothes that can cover your forearms as well. On the other hand, the forests are also home to a species of Rafflesia. The Rafflesia flower is endemic to the Philippines and can only be spotted in the area of Mt. Makiling from March to April.
Towering over Pampanga's vast plains is Mt. Arayat, which stands at about 1,026 meters above sea level. Apart from Mt. Arayat, Pampanga is also one of the entry points to the famous Mt. Pinatubo. However, the province's main draw is its culinary scene which has earned it the title of "Culinary Capital of the Philippines."
Mt. Arayat is situated around 97 KM from Manila and is easily among the top mountains to hike in Luzon. The trees that cover this mountain are home to a variety of plants and animals, with some of the noteworthy being groups of monkeys and native birds.
The majority of the journey of a Mt. Arayat day hike tour to the summit will have you overcome steep ascents, so this is a more ideal hike for experienced climbers. At the peak, travelers will be welcomed by a breathtaking view of the Pampanga River and the green fields that border it.
Situated about 47 KM from Manila, the Masungi Georeserve is a nature conservation area that offers travelers hiking trails and other outdoor activities. It is also one of the most popular places to go hiking near Quezon City, making it a great option for outdoor activities near Manila.
Since it is a well-protected and managed area, most of the trails feature ropes to assist you as you climb. It is also a perfect climb for beginners since steady metal bridges and webs were built above complicated terrain to make the climb easier.
The most visited attraction in this georeserve is a metal netting shaped like a spiderweb that is suspended above a limestone formation. On top of this spiderweb, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Sierra Mountain range. Aside from being recognized as a hiking spot, the georeserve and its surroundings are one of the best bike destinations near Manila and among the top Luzon tourist spots.
Initially known for its massive eruption in the 20th century, Mt. Pinatubo has eventually become one of the top Zambales mountains for hiking years after the natural disaster. This volcano also sets itself apart from the sandy beaches and azure waters Zambales tourist spots are famous for, thanks to its stunning crater lake. You can find this natural pool filled with turquoise water at the peak, which stands at about 960 meters above sea level.
Despite its intimidating reputation as a volcano, it has been mostly quiet since the 20th century. Now, it offers a great opportunity for newbie hikers as the trail to the summit only consists of minimal steep ascends. You will also pass by volcanic formations, streams, patches of greenery on the way up.
Along with its natural beauty, Mt. Pinatubo is only about 92 KM from the country's capital, making it a popular and accessible destination for hikes near Manila. Coupled with its historical significance, Mt. Pinatubo has easily become one of the Philippine volcanoes worth seeing.
Reach the Summit of the Best Day Hike Spots Near Manila
Explore forests, trek through rivers, and enjoy picturesque views by hiking these most popular mountains near Manila when you tour the Philippines. Coupled with some of the best beaches in the world, the mountains in the Philippines are among the top reasons why you should visit the Philippines.
Many well-known hiking activities can also be added to your Manila itinerary as the peaks in this list can all be conquered in a day, giving you more time to try out popular things to do in Manila and check out the best places to visit in the Philippines. Among them are relaxing in a beach resort near Manila and getting a taste of the local cuisine.
Whether you plan on sticking to the mountains or seeing more of our tropical nation, make sure to check out the Philippines travel requirements before your adventure. For a more convenient trip, it's best to opt for online trip bookings and look for Philippine tour packages that already include transportation. Some travel booking websites like Guide to the Philippines also offer stays at hotels near Manila airport to ensure that you won't have to travel far if you're coming in via a flight.