Top 10 Mountains for A Day Hike
Looking for some outdoorsy fun as a change in your sedentary pace? Whether you’re someone who enjoys a regular adrenaline rush from hiking, or a beginner who wants to try a new activity on a weekend, there’s nothing quite like going up a mountain and reaching its very peak—the sense of achievement is incredible. If you’re looking for some spots to try out, here are ten which are easily reached from Metro Manila!
How to Get There: Ride the Jam Liner bus to Lemery, Batangas. Let them drop you off at Cuenca, Batangas.
Mt. Maculot’s trail can be a bit tiring for beginners because it is a steady uphill, steep climb to the Rockies. However, the path is mostly covered in trees, which makes for a well-shaded and scenic route up. There are also proper rest stops so you can catch your breath. I can’t imagine what the ascent and descent would be like on weekends though, when there are lots of people. We chose to climb on a Wednesday, and luckily enough, there was no one else apart from us; we literally owned the trail and had everything to ourselves, which was perfect for taking our time and admiring the view.
Mt. Maculot will challenge people who aren’t used to outdoor activities. At some point, when you are all sweaty from the effort, you may ask yourself why you’re there, but trust me—the view of Taal Lake from the Rockies makes it all worth it! Postcards and photographs certainly don’t compare.
Guide: Php 400 for a group of 5
Log Book: Php 20/Hiker
Bus: a one way trip is Php 150
How to Get There: Go to the Coastal Mall Bus Terminal and take the bus to Nasugbu, Batangas. Get off at Evercrest
It was back in 2013 when I decided I wanted to try to climb a mountain. I had quite a few fears and apprehensions. As a newbie, I wasn’t sure I was fit enough for it. I made it my goal that year, and Mt. Batulao became my first ever hike.
This mountain is said to be a good beginner’s climb, but back then, when I had to climb 12 peaks and a series of unending ups and downs, I wasn’t quite sure if I thought it to be that piece of cake it’s supposed to be. What I appreciated, though, was that at the end of every peak, there was at least a rest stop where refreshments could be bought from the little sari-sari stores. A bottle of water or juice is certainly a welcome sight after some exercise! That did help a lot considering the hot weather that day.
Mt. Batulao is known for its beautiful rolling slopes—and I definitely felt those little dips as I climbed up and down. But they were quite a sight to behold, and the natural beauty of the mountain took the edge off my exhaustion. Despite the knives’ edge trails at the summit approach, the view from there was fantastic. Directly across, you will see Mt. Maculot peeking above the clouds. If you do the traverse route, you also have to be prepared for a 10m rappelling descent from the new trail to the old trail—which was an excellent adrenaline rush to cap off the day. Mt. Batulao was a good first climb, and I did well—so well that it has kept me climbing up to now. I would definitely recommend it as a starter mountain.
Guide : Php 300
We took our own car
MT. PICO DE LORO
How to Get There: Take a bus from Coastal Road to Ternate Cavite. From there, take a tricycle to the DENR jump off point.
We were one of the first people who experienced the opening of the new trail for Mt. Pico De Loro. They say it’s a lot easier than the old one, but I have no way of comparing since I never tried the old one. The trail was mostly covered and was a gradual rolling ascent. Again we took our hike midweek, so there were less people, which we enjoyed. Parrot’s Beak and The Monolith still await you once you get to the summit, so the hike does not end there—bring some extra water! We decided to take a breather, so we had lunch at the summit first to enjoy the view. We then embarked on a very steep climb towards Parrot’s Beak.
The main attraction of this particular mountain is The Monolith, which the guide told us not everyone climbs to because of the effort it will take, but we decided to give it a shot that day. We were lucky we met four guys en route that day who were willing to help us, as climbing the monolith requires you to hoist yourself up, carrying your own weight on a rope beside a cliff. The beginning was tough because of the physical adjustment, but the view from above was simply magnificent—not to be missed! Kudos to the friends I climbed with, who were afraid of heights, yet braved The Monolith that day.
Guide Php 1000/ party of 10
We took our own car going there
How to Get There: Take a bus at Coastal Mall heading to Nasugbu, Batangas. It will pass by Sitio Bayabasan, Brgy. Aga—get down there and start trekking!
Despite being an easy and simple mountain, this was one of my favorites. As long as you climb it on a day when the sun is not too high up, Talamitam seems like a relaxing farmland that offers incredible views. At some point, it felt like we were in New Zealand—and this is no surprise as it’s close to Tagaytay. We started hiking up the end of a rough road descent to Talamitam River. There are multiple paths which lead to the peak, all covered with talahib, which did not detract from the beauty of the trail. Once we reached the summit, we were surprised by the lovely view that greeted us—Calatagan and Nasugbu were easily visible, while barn swallows flew overhead, which made it picture-perfect. We took a little longer going back because we got a bit confused by the trails, so I recommend you keep track of which one you took because we ended up in another part of the village—not a big deal, though, as all the trails will eventually lead back to the highway.
DLTB Pasay to Sitio Bayabasan P178
SItio Bayabasan to Pasay P124
Read about our adventure in Mt. Talamitam here
Difficulty : 3/9
How to Get There: First, take a bus from Baclaran to Naic. From Naic, take a jeep to Magallanes. From the nearby Magallanes Police Station, take a trike to the trail.
Although being relatively lower than most of the other mountains nearby, one shouldn’t underestimate Mt. Marami. The magnificent 360-degree view once you reach the peak does not come easily. The hike kicks off at Magallanes, Cavite leading all the way to Maragondon (the next town), where the summit and its environs are located. By car, that’s a 15.9km distance—thank you, Google maps! Thus, the hike takes at least 5 to 6 hours to complete.
Don’t be intimidated by the length of time. The trail is composed of two parts: the trail leading to the ascent, and the trail from the ascent to the summit. The trail leading to the ascent is very straightforward—mostly a dirt road with gentle ascents and descents every so often. It does seem as easy as it sounds, and can get quite boring after a while, so I don’t recommend it for people looking for a challenge right off the bat. The second part of the hike is a little more rewarding, taking you through picturesque bamboo forests and grasslands with the view of the famous Silyang Bato. The ascent isn’t quite steep, and the path is pretty clean and easy to maneuver. The last assault to the peak, however, requires a wee bit of rock climbing, but nothing too difficult to manage. We certainly didn’t have any trouble!
Overall, the trail to the summit feels circuitous as it takes you through and around several mountains to get to Mt. Marami. At the summit, you will have a stunning 360° view of the nearby mountains in Batangas and Cavite, Laguna de Bay, and even the skyline of Tagaytay.
Bus, Baclaran to Naic P35
Jeep, Naic to Magallanes P60
Tricycle, Magallanes Police Station to trail P30
Difficulty : 2/9
How to Get There: Take a jeep or van at the EDSA Crossing heading to Binangonan Port. From the port, take a pumpboat or ferry to Brgy. Janosa at Tanim Island in Laguna Bay
It was quite an adventure getting to this particular mountain, as we took the ferry going to Brgy. Janosa, which was our start-off point for a hike set smack in the middle of the picturesque Laguna de Bay. From there, we started on the grassy trail—the surrounding water made for a cool hike up, and a relatively short one that only took us an hour and a half to reach the peak, making it a good choice for newbies. The plethora of sari-sari stores and the availability of wash-up areas definitely helped!
We were fortunate enough to have chosen to go up when it wasn’t sunny though—a local warned us that normally the trail can get very hot in the summertime, which may explain why it’s not as popular as a hiking choice despite its awesome location. From the top of the mountain, we were able to behold a prime view of Laguna de Bay, as well as all the tiny coastal towns nearby and other majestic mountains, such as Mt. Makiling. This is a highly-recommended hike for beginners, and can be combined with a tour of the rest of Talim Island.
Jeep or van, EDSA Crossing to Binangonan Port P41-50
Pumpboat/Ferry, Binangonan Port to Brgy. Janosa P30
Difficulty : 4/9
How to Get There: First, take a jeep or van at EDSA-Shaw Crossing going to Tanay. From there, take a jeep heading to Sampaloc. Then take a trike to Brgy. Daraitan, where you can then take a raft down the Daraitan River. You will ride a trike at the end of your raft ride which will lead to Daraitan’s Brgy. Hall, where you can register and begin!
We climbed during National Clean Up Mountain Day in May, figuring that it was a way to support a good cause and have a little adventure. The ascent is not for the faint of heart; it was, overall, a steady and steep uphill climb that had plenty of holds that require a bit of climbing. But with the well-maintained trail and the limestone boulders everywhere, it’s an effort that’s greatly rewarded. We took some time after the hike to explore the surroundings. Our guide told us that many people opt for an overnight stay to have time to go to the nearby caves and springs for exploration—something we decided to keep in mind for our next trip.
Instead, we decided to refresh ourselves from the long and tiring hike by taking a dip in the cool waters of the Tinipak River, bringing a wonderful close to a very arduous but rewarding climb while being surrounded by lush flora.
Jeep or van, EDSA-Shaw Crossing to Tanay P70-90
Jeep, Tanay to Sampaloc P26
Tricycle, Tanay to Brgy. Daraitan P100
Raft, Daraitan River P10
Tricycle, Daraitan River to Brgy. Hall P10
Guide P500/dayhike guide
Difficulty : 3/9
How to Get There: Take a van from Cubao going to Montalban (Eastwood). From there, take a jeep or trike going to Wawa
Now this was definitely one for the books. We left at 2:30 am and got there by 4 am; we then started hiking at 4:30 am. The early hour was worth it, though, as we got to the peak just in time to watch the sun rise. It was a steady uphill climb that was pretty easy, although we had to be careful because of all the bamboo growing around the rocks—not to mention the thick foliage! Some people recommend wearing light climbing gloves for this one, and I would have to agree as a precaution—fortunately the DENR office nearby was selling some.
Van, Cubao to Montalban P50
Jeep or trike, Montalban to Wawa P7.5-10
Difficulty : 3/9
How to Get There: From Buendia, Pasay, ride a bus going to Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Then ride a tricycle to Sta. Cruz Market. From there, ride the jeep going to Majayjay, then ride the jeep going to Taytay Falls.
This one was an easy climb. Also known as Taytay Falls, but often called Majayjay after the municipality where it’s located, it’s a straightforward hike. We were able to see thanks to the careful preservation of the local foliage and the cemented pathways that the locals really do want to nurture the growing ecotourism sector here. When you ascend the lower slope of Mt. Lukban de Banahaw, which is located at the side of Majayjay, you will reach the falls. We gave ourselves free rein to enjoy the crystal clear water there after the bit of exercise. Again, going here during a weekend means more people and a slightly noisier hike—nevertheless, with a sight like this, I would still recommend it to those looking for an outdoorsy getaway.
Bus, Buendia to Sta. Cruz P140
Jeep to Majayjay P35
Jeep to the falls P16
Entrance fee P20
Difficulty : 3/9
How to Get There: Ride a van from Cubao or Philcoa heading to Tungko. From there, ride a jeep to Licao-Licao. You can opt to take a tricycle from Licao-Licao to Sitio Balagbag.
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that this last one is many meters above sea level—we found our hike here to actually be an easy and pleasant one because of the wide trail. Just watch out for the bikers going up and down! The mountain isn’t as lush as some of the others here though, so we did sweat a lot because the heat really cranks up unless you’re climbing in the early morning or late afternoon. Choosing to go here was worth it because of its proximity to Metro Manila and the relative ease of reaching the peak, which was sufficiently elevated to give us an excellent view of Ortigas, of all places, as well as the Ipo Watershed!
Guide P300-400 for dayhike Registration P10-20