MOUNTAINS TO CLIMB FOR BEGINNERS
Jimmy Bondoc would be proud.
- •Mt. PulagLocation: Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya; Elevation: 2,922 meters; Mount Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines and has various trails hikers can choose from. The friendliest trail for beginners though is the Ambangeg trail from Benguet. Hikers climb Mt. Pulag mainly for two reasons—to experience the cold weather, and to witness the rolling sea of clouds.
- •Mt. DaraitanLocation: Tanay, Rizal; Elevation: 719 meters; More or less two hours away from the metro, Mount Daraitan is known for its limestone formations and the breathtaking view of the Sierra Madre range once you reach the summit. And a refreshing dip in the clear waters of Tinipak river after the hike? YES PLEASE.
- •Mt. SamatLocation: Pilar, Bataan; Elevation: 545 meters; This mountain is so easy to climb that you can ride your car to reach the summit. But if your New Year’s resolution is to be more fit, then ditch the car and go by foot instead. On top is a National Shrine built in honor of Filipino and American soldiers during the World War II.
- •Mt. PinatuboLocation: Pampanga, Zambales, and Tarlac; Elevation: 1,486 meters; An active volcano in the island of Luzon, Mount Pinatubo has been destructive in the early 90’s. Today, it is famous not for what it’s done in the past, but for it’s majestic crater lake called Lake Pinatubo. A nice reminder how something so destructive in the past can still be beautiful. Ganern!
- •Pico de LoroLocation: Maragondon, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas; Elevation: 664 meters; Pico de Loro is a beginner’s favorite because of its friendly trails, fantastic views, and a photo opportunity on its famous monolith.
- •Mt. BatulaoLocation: Nasugbu, Batangas; Elevation: 811 meters; If you’re in for a day-hike or a weekend camping with friends, Mt. Batulao would be a perfect hiking destination. With a few rest stops here and there, Batulao offers a great view of the Balayan Bay and a few dinosaur spine-like rock formations.
- •Mt. MakilingLocation: Los Baños, Laguna; Elevation: 1,090 meters; According to legend, the mountain’s guardian is the famous mythological figure Maria Makiling, hence the name. While going on the trail—the one from the University of the Philippines Los Baños being the easier one—hikers may spot a few wildlife creatures living abundantly here and there.
- •Mt. BalagbagLocation: Rodrigues, Rizal; Elevation: 780 meters; Another mountain near the metro, Mt. Balagbag is a part of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. The trail has a gradual ascend so it’s easy for beginners to climb.
- •Mt. BahanawLocation: Lucban, Quezon; Elevation: 2,170 meters; Mount Banahaw is an easy climb up to the peak, but what’s more interesting is that locals believe the mountain to be magical. It is believed that fairies and ghosts live in the area. Devotees also climb the mountain especially during Holy Week hoping to witness miracles and divine apparitions.
- •Mt. ManabuLocation: Sto. Tomas, Batangas; Elevation: 760 meters; Mount Manabu offers an easy, short trail—beginners can reach the summit within two hours in normal pace. At its peak, hikers can enjoy a wide, garden-like campsite where they can relax and, of course, take photos with the big white cross which marks the summit of Manabu.
- •Mt. TibigLocation: Lobo, Batangas Elevation: 563 meters Like Mt. Manabu, Mt. Tibig’s peak can also be reached within two hours. The residents are also very hospitable and offer hikers their home for when they need to rest. Classic Filipino hospitality, tbh.
- •Mt. Gulugod BaboyLocation: Anilao, Batangas; Elevation: 470 meters; “Gulugod baboy” means “pig’s spine” and it’s exactly what the mountain’s trail resembles. After a 1.5-hour climb, hikers can enjoy scenic view of the Batangas and Balayan Bay.
- •Mt. PamitinanLocation: Rodriguez, Rizal; Elevation: 426 meters; Mount Pamitinan has a little more difficult trail to go through, but if you’re up for the challenge, there are bamboo trunks which you can use to secure your grip. The trail is also made up of large rocks, which is great for hikers who’d like to try rock climbing.
- •Mt. ManalmonLocation: San Miguel, Bulacan; Elevation: 196 meters; The mountain only takes 40 minutes to an hour to hike, which leaves hikers more time to enjoy other activities like spelunking, crossing the monkey bridge, and swimming in the Madlum river.
- •Mt. TalamitamLocation: Nasugbu, Batangas; Elevation: 630 meters; Mt. Talamitam is said to be one of the easiest mountains to hike because of its flat terrain. It is also considered as Mt. Batulao’s younger sister, because, you know, even mountains are relatives here in the Philippines.
- •Mt. DaguldolLocation: San Juan, Batangas Elevation: 670 meters The beach at the foot of the mountain makes Mt. Daguldol a popular tourist spot. The trail is also lined with nipa huts as rest stops which offers cold refreshments. The friendly locals also make it easier for beginners to hike the mountain.