Itching Sole: 10 Great Trekking Sites in the Philippines

Mt Pulag by Justin Jovellanos via Flickr Creative Commons
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With over hundred of Mountains and Hills in the country, a full pledged hiker, trekker or mountaineer has plenty of choices to fill their desires to scratch their itch to walk.

Magnificent Mount Pulag by Tralphe XY via Flickr Creative Commons
Magnificent Mount Pulag by Tralphe XY via Flickr Creative Commons

Since the country is highly equipped with marvelous sceneries inside and out the trek sites, your walk, whether for a good old stamina boost, or just for pure site seeing, would always be rewarded with selfie worthy pictures.

1. Mt. Pulag

Mt Pulag by Justin Jovellanos via Flickr Creative Commons
Mt Pulag by Justin Jovellanos via Flickr Creative Commons

Famous for its sea of clouds, Mt. Pulag, the second highest summit in the country, has never failed to land a spot in the lists of several mountain climbers. It is situated between Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya thus, there are more than one way to reach its peak. Thrill seekers would of course choose the road not always taken, while people who are just in it for the experience would prefer following the easier trails.

Up in the summit you would find yourself miniature bamboos, and endless fields of grass. If you hike up there just the right month, you will be able to see the sea of clouds.

2. Mt. Apo

Mt. Apo Traverse by incrediblethots via Flickr
Mt. Apo Traverse by incrediblethots via Flickr

This mountain is listed as the highest peak in the Philippines, and it is located between North Cotabato and Davao del Sur. Hiking here would average to 3 days if you would take the Kidapawan Trail. It’s quite a challenging hike since the trail offers a wide array of environment, from rocky landscapes, to mossy forests, to large rivers, to swamps.

This hike is definitely not for the faint hearted, given that’s the highest peak, it quite does lives up to your expectations being the alpha mountain of the country.

3. Mt. Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo Trek by Artemyo Lagalag via Flickr
Mount Pinatubo Trek by Artemyo Lagalag via Flickr

Who wouldn’t know about the Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991. It’s the second biggest eruption of the 20th century and had a wide effect on the country as well as the neighboring countries. Now, while it’s sleeping, this volcano has been a tourist destination due to its crater lake, which is truly a sight to see.

Also, compared to other hiking adventures, Mount Pinatubo Trek would only take you about a day, so you wouldn’t really be worrying about additional expenses. You may avail of tour packages or just organize your own, just take note on the fees you need to pay like the Environmental Fee and the Guide Fee.

4. Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano Trek by Shankar S via Flickr
Taal Volcano Trek by Shankar S via Flickr

Taal is regarded as the smallest and second most active volcano in the Philippines. Also, it cannot be disputed that it is also one of the most prized gem of Batangas. People flock here to see the postcard worthy Taal Volcano. Also, most of these people cross the lake and hike through the caldera to see the even more breathtaking crater lake.

This site is very accessible and it would only take you 2 hours (if you’re from Manila) to get to Batangas and another hour perhaps( depending on the wind) to sail through the Volcano and hike to it’s mouth.

5. Mt. Cleopatra’s needle

Mt Cleopatras Needle photo by Palawan Ecological Adventure Trail
Mt Cleopatras Needle photo by Palawan Ecological Adventure Trail

It is known as the mystical mountain and the second highest mountain of Palawan. It’s named after the obelisk shaped formation on the summit which resembles an Egyptian figure. It’s intriguing name lives up to the label since its rich in wildlife and the trail is a bit challenging in itself.

It would take you 3-4 days to completely hike to the summit of Cleopatra’s Needle, where you will see the Sulu Sea, West Philippine Sea and the whole city of Puerto Princesa.

6. Sultan’s Peak

Palawan never fails to give you an adventure of a life time. Sultan’s Peak is also found in Palawan, particularly in Nara. The hike would average to 3 days as you would do so need to rest. The elevation of the area suddenly heightens as you progress.

In order to start you need to cross some rivers and streams, and hike through the forest. At the summit you would see the Atong Lake and some of the few endemic species of plants.

7. Aurora Province

Hiking in Dicasalarin Cove by Carlo Garcia via Flickr
Hiking in Dicasalarin Cove by Carlo Garcia via Flickr

Having located along the Sierra Madre Ranges, this province offers a lot of hiking and trekking spots for anybody out there. There are plenty of spots to visit like the Lamao Caves, Dingalan Bay and Rocks of Dingalan. There are also several bodies of waters you could dip into after a long walk which are Cunayan Falls and Dumitabo Falls.

Just a quick word of advice though, be sure to seek the advice of local government first before going into an area to ensure your safety along your trekking journey.

8. Jungle Trekking, Puerto Galera

Hiking in Ponderosa
Hiking in Ponderosa

Puerto Galera is not only a haven for beach lovers and diving enthusiasts. There are of course other things you can do here and that includes trekking around the Island. Travel Agencies would do all the tour arrangements if you want to, but if you’re not able to do so, you may try asking around your hotels if they have contacts for the trekking adventure.

Breathe in the jungle air and enjoy the wildlife. There are also plenty of streams and falls you could find here so if you are too tired of the saline water of the beach, go for a freshwater swim.

9. Batad Rice Terraces, Ifugao

Batad Rice Terraces Trek by eesti via Flickr
Batad Rice Terraces Trek by eesti via Flickr

Duly recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, and as one of the Seven Wonders of the World years back, this staircase to heaven scenery in Ifugao would never miss any hikers, trekkers or tourist’s must see in the Philippines. The best way to truly admire its magnanimous beauty is through trailing the villages.

Enjoy a panoramic view of these wonderful manmade wonder. You may hire a local guide to help you around, or you can just stick with your guts and follow the trail to set yourself on an adventure of a lifetime.

Related Article: Trekking to Batad Rice Terraces

10. Mt. Batolusong and Kay-ibon Falls

Tanay Rizal has its very own Trekking spot. It’s good for beginners as it’s only 670 meters above sea level. You will see plenty of rice fields and get a chance to cross a small stream. Fear not, there are local guides In San Andres Tanay Rizal will accompany you through your journey if you so avail of their assistance.

Upon reaching the summit you will see the Sierra Madre Ranges, and the good old grassland feature of a mountains peak. During your descend of the mountain you may have a side trip to Kay-ibon falls which would offer you a refreshing bath after long hours hike.

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