Memos from Asia

6 Best Day Hikes in the Philippines

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The Philippines’ natural landforms and stunning island formations are definitely something to behold. They give you an off-the-path view that provides a bird’s eye peripheral of the country’s greenery and landscapes untarnished by buildings and the smog of the main cities. But the Philippines is simply teeming with all of these amazing sights that it can be hard to choose which ones to visit – so here’s a guide to help you make the most out of your explorations with the some of the best hikes in the Philippines….each of which can be completed in just a day!

Mt. Daraitan

Mt. Daraitan in Rizal is a great day hike option especially for first-timers as the trail to the top only takes around three to four hours and the route isn’t very hard to traverse – a good starting point for the beginner hikers. The trail to the summit is full of adventures – not just trekking. There are plenty of activities available and made safe by the guides at the waypoints. Some of these include swimming, cliff diving, and caving. If you want, overnight camping is also an option! The summit of the hike gives you a view of the Sierra Madre mountain range in the distance, made all the more refreshing surrounded by the cool fresh air exuded by the nearby forestry. All in all, Mt. Daraitan provides for terrific hike especially for the capital city dwellers considering that Tanay, Rizal is just a short few hour drive away from Metro Manila. A great hike you can travel to – and complete before the day comes to an end.

Mt. Batulao

Mt. Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippines (Credit: Biag arnel, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Another beginner-friendly hike is the trek to Mt. Batulao in Batangas. It’s filled with a variety of terrains to explore and climb, views marked by grassy slopes and boulders as far as the eye can see. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll be greeted to the sight of not only the landscapes and fellow mountains in the distance, but also of the beautiful Taal Lake. Traversing the path to the summit of Mt. Batulao takes an estimated three to four hours in total one way.

Marlboro Hill

Marlboro Hill in the Sagada Mountain province is a quick day trek that will take you two to three hour to reach the summit. Sagada is rather far from the capital but it is frequently visited by tourists either way because of the stunning view from the top – where hikers can be immersed in an amazing sea of clouds and verdant knolls that span miles and miles away. It’s a great getaway from the heat and loud bustle of the city, a calm, cold and serene alternative to the business of everyday life. Marlboro Hill is also a great kickoff point or warm up for the exploration for the rest of the stunning peaks in the Sagada Mountain Province.

Masungi Georeserve

Masungi Georeserve (Credit: Bien Orellana Bacarra Jr, CC BY-SA 4.0)

The stunning Masungi Georeserve in Tanay, Rizal, is a terrific day trek destination for those who want to squeeze in as much breathtaking nature sights and exploration as they can within a single day. The reserve is nationally and internationally acclaimed for being the hotspot for hundreds of Philippine native species and wildlife, protected and guarded so that responsible tourists may still be able to catch a glimpse of them to this day. The trail takes around three to four hours and consists of not only flat terrain but also areas with rope nets, spider web paths made from coiled metal, rope walls, and even stone paths! So visitors should be prepared for cardio and to sweat quite a bit – be sure to bring along good rubber shoes for the trail. The Georeserve is by reservation only, however, so it’s good to plan your trip well in advance.

Mt. Maculot

If you’re looking for a good view of the famous Taal Lake, then Mt. Maculot is one of the best day hike options you can take not too far from Metro Manila. It’s a four to six-hour trek with sights that are well worth the sweat – you’ll get to climb the mountain lined with verdant greenery and lots of indigenous fruit trees and shrubs. The great part about climbing Mt. Maculot is you can choose from a variety of trails depending on your personal preferences and limits – there’s the Summit, the Rockies, and the Grotto. The Rockies, true to its name, is a rather intermediate climb considering all of the rocky paths you have to work past – be sure to wear very gripping shoes here because a misstep can lead to a fall. The Summit and the Grotto are still rather arduous but are thankfully lined with lots of ropes and branches to help you keep your grip across the slippery paths.

Mt. Pinatubo

Mt. Pinatubo (Credit: Lemuel Salibio, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Last but certainly not least is the famous mount Pinatubo. The mountain is actually also an active stratovolcano, the origin of one of the most violent eruptions not just in the Philippines but the entire world. The trek to the crater takes four to six hours but the sight is well worth the hike. The trail features amazing sandy white walls and rock formations but the highlight of the trail is definitely the endpoint: The crater lake that features stunning, crystal-like vivid aquamarine waters that seem as if they’ve just popped out of a detailed storybook. The lake is all the more accentuated by the mountainous knolls and rocky formations in the background. Without a doubt, a visit to Mt. Pinatubo makes for a memorable day trek to such an iconic location in the Philippines.

When visiting the Philippines, the striking landforms and mountain areas are frequently underrated destinations when compared to all of the famous sandy white beaches in the country. But a visit to the listed day trekking destinations will give you a newfound appreciation of the natural wonders that the landscapes of the nation have to offer – and to top it all off, each is within a single day itinerary’s reach!

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