Best hiking trails in the Philippines

Surprised to hear about a list of best hiking trails in the Philippines, the archipelago of sun and sand? The Philippines is actually one of the best destinations to visit for nature lovers and adventurous travellers. The islands, to many people’s surprise, are so much more than just beaches and scuba diving, though all credit is due to their white sands and coral reefs. It has everything, from bright green hills and dormant volcanoes to limestone cliffs. And all this terrain makes for some great hiking trails! Read on for a list of the best hiking trails in the Philippines.

best Hiking trails in the Philippines Set up a tent when hiking in the Philippines to wake up to unforgettable views- Photo Credit Kenneth-gaerlan

Mt. Pinatubo

Undoubtedly one of the best hiking trails in the Philippines, Mt. Pinatubo should be on everyone’s list. The sight of the crater lakes during the short hiking trail are sure to take your breath away. The best part? It’s just a day-trip away from Manila. Getting from Manila to Mt. Pinatubo is fairly uncomplicated – you’ll have to go from Manila to Capas, then to Santa Juliana. You’ll have to register at Santa Juliana before finally making it to Saito Daipilli. 

To hike up to the summit, we recommend taking the ‘Skyway’ trail where you’ll need to take a 45-minute jeepney ride. The ride takes you through a gorgeous landscape, most of which was formed by an eruption. It was known to be the second largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century, blowing off Mt Pinatubo’s peak. Once the driver drops you off, it’ll take around 2 hours to get to the top. Non-hikers can also easily undertake this trek. 

trekking in the Philippines The Philippines is as good for misty hikes as it is for sunny beaches – Photo credit Darwin Dela Rosa

Mt. Kanlaon

This is one of the best hiking trails in the Philippines for the adventure-junkies. Mt. Kanlaon stands tall at 2435 mts above sea level. It is considered to be the highest point of the Visayas region, while also being the largest active volcano in the Philippines. But since Mt. Kanlaon is an active volcano, we highly recommend taking the right precautions and seeking advice from the authorities before going for the trek. 

A 3-day long trek, Mt. Kanlaon is certainly not for the beginners. At the lower elevations of the hike, you might come across some exotic endemic bird species. If you’re really lucky, you might even come across the Negros Fruit Dove and the Negros Bleeding Heart Pigeon. But the chances are very low as both these species are considered to be critically endangered. 

best hiking trails in the Philippines, Mount Ugo Want to walk among pine trees? Head to Mount Ugo – Photo Credit Bill Ringer

Mt. Apo

There’s no better reward than reaching the top of the tallest peak in the land, which grants Mt. Apo a spot on our list of best hiking trails in the Philippines. Mt. Apo stands tall at around 9600 feet and is located in the southern Mindanao region. It is known for having 3 trekking trails and a gorgeous crater lake called Venado. The journey to the top is a 3-day long exhausting and challenging trek, where you pass mossy but scenic forests, climb boulders and experience the foul smell of sulphur on the way. But it’s all worth it when you reach the top. 

Do pack some warm clothes as the mornings and nights are chilly. The trek requires good stamina and we recommend it only to those who have some trekking experience or high fitness levels. Mt. Apo is a few hours from Davao, which is one of the major cities of the Mindanao region. 

Mount Ulap Tuba Benguet- Photo Credit Ehmir-bautista

Mt. Mayon

Known famously across the Philippines for its perfect conical structure, Mt. Mayon is also one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Mt. Mayon does have 2 trails to reach its summit but we strongly advise to take caution and find out the volcanic activity from the authorities before going on the hike. Mt. Mayon is next to Legazpi City, which is around 9-10 hours away from Manila by bus or a quick flight. 

The summit to Mt. Mayon is pretty challenging and it takes around 2-3 days to complete the trek. But the views are one in a million, and the thrill of summiting an active volcano puts it among the best hiking trails in the Philippines. 

Tall grasses swaying by the strong winds- Photo Credit Bill Ringer

Mt. Pulag

Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon but this trek is good for those without experience too. The trek up to the summit of Mt. Pulag is relatively short, action-packed, cold, and filled with amazing views throughout the trail. Depending on which trail you take, it’ll take an average of 2 days to get to the top. The easiest one is the Ambangeg trail, which leaves you feeling like you’re walking among a sea of clouds. The cold weather can make it somewhat challenging so don’t forget to bundle up. But once you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the whole region. 

Guides are required for all hikers and it’s around 500 PHP for 1 guide, for a group of 5 people. Since this is a popular trek, we suggest booking everything in advance and paying the hiking fees too at the ranger station in Babadek or Ambangeg. It’s easy to get here from Manila. You can take a bus/car to Baugio and then take a local jeepney towards Kabayan. The best time to do this trek would be in the summer but it’s open throughout the year.

Witness the beauty of the sea of clouds- Photo Credit Joanne-caselyn

While these have been handpicked to be on our list of the best hiking trails in the Philippines, there are several more trails to discover. Quite a few are also off the radar, away from the hoards of tourists. Reach out to us if you’re looking for a personalized trip to the Philippines which includes such experiences and activities.

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