Think the Philippines is all gorgeous islands and amazing beaches? Nothing bad about it at all but if you are more of a mountain person, then this country also offers a lot of spots for the adventure junkie and active trekker in you. And while you are in Manila, spend a day in these mountains and trekking trails not very far from the metro:
Mt. Maculot is fast becoming one of the most popular day hike destinations in the country as it is just at the heart of Batangas, which is relatively near Manila. On weekends though, Mt. Maculot becomes heavy with people so it is advised to avoid such time. There are three main destinations in the site: the grotto, the peak, and the Rockies. It is considered to be a tiring and challenging trail for beginners as it involves a cliff and steep climb. But once you reach the Rockies, you will be rewarded with a glorious view of the entire Taal Lake with, of course, the world-renowned Taal Volcano. The path is covered in lush greens providing a scenic walk and the mountain is interestingly shaped like an igloo making the trip worth all the sweat and effort.
Guide: Php 400 for a group of 5
Registration Fee: Php 20
Bus: Php 150 one way
Getting There: Take a bus bound for Lemery (bus stations: Kamias in MRT Kamuning or Buendia in LRT Gil Puyat) and get off at Cuenca Town.
Pico De Loro
Perhaps the most iconic peak near Manila, pictures of which are flooding Facebook timelines in recent years. The Pico de Loro trail starts at Magnetic Hill in Ternate but the ultimate goal is to reach the summit popularly known as the Parrot’s Beak, the highest point in Cavite. From up there, stunning 360-degree views welcome you and take your breath away: Caraballo Mountains in the North, Batangas to the south, Maragondon at the east, and the West Philippine Sea to the west. The trek up to the summit takes around 3-4 hours but as the mountains are a DENR Protected Area, interesting flora and fauna accompany you along the way.
Registration Fee: Php 25
Bus: Php 82 (one way)
Tricycle: Php 250/ride (one way)
Getting There: Take a bus to Maragondon, Cavite from the Coastal Mall Integrated Bus Terminal. From the Ternate Terminal, ride a tricycle to the DENR Station in Magnetic Hill.
Rolling slopes and grassy open trails has earned Mt. Batulao its spot as one of the hiking crowd’s most favorites. Its terrains have become a popular spot not just for trekkers but also for trail runners. The fantastic sights really make up for the exhausting way especially at the steep ascent up to the summit via the old trail. But you can choose to take the new trail, which they say is a much easier climb. The trail starts at Evercrest Golf Course in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Guide : Php 300-500/day
Registration Fee: P30/trail (Php 60 if using both trails)
Bus: Php 104 (one way)
Tricycle (optional): Php 25/person (one way)
Getting there: Take any bus bound for Nasugbu or Calatagan at the Coastal Mall Integrated Bus Terminal. Drop off at the Evercrest Golf Course and walk or ride a tricycle to the trailhead.