“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”-Andrew Gide.
To get out of the daily grind and the city’s seemingly unending perpetual hustle and bustle, many of us crave an adventure that takes us outdoors.
That said, many of us crave an outdoor excursion that allows us to explore our surroundings, be one with nature and get much-needed exercise as well. If this sounds like your kind of fun, then hiking may just be an activity you want to try (or get back to). After all, there is nothing better than getting your feet moving and seeing various beautiful places as well.
Hiking trips do not necessarily require an entire weekend to execute. If you do not wish to commit to an overnight trip, there are several hiking trails nearby that would make for excellent options for day hikes. So, if you have been looking for hiking trails near Metro Manila, below are just some of the few options you can go with on your next excursion:
a.) Tarak Ridge
While Tarak Ridge does not exactly make for the easiest day hike—particularly for beginners, it is certainly worth the effort. Apart from the feeling of fulfillment hikers get in conquering the trail, Tarak Ridge offers you a scenic 270-degree view of the province, which includes the historic islands of Corregidor and Manila Bay and portions of Cavite as well. Keep in mind, however, that this hike will take most of the day just to reach the campsite at Tarak Ridge. That said, it may be a good idea to start early and perhaps stay for the night.
Towering over a thousand meters above sea level, this often-visited wonder in Mariveles, Bataan, is noted for its sharp rocks, craggy landscape, and steep trail. Local folks have dubbed it Tarak Ridge specifically for those characteristics, as “tarak” translates to hitting someone with a fine, sharp object.
Hikers that start their climb in the morning can reach the campsite by afternoon, which is the perfect opportunity to catch the site’s majestic sunset. Be prepared to cross a river, dense grasslands, and woodland trails.
b.) Mt. Kulis
Hikers with a penchant for iconic locations often featured in their favorite local TV soap operas and movies will love Mt. Kulis in Rizal. Consider this excursion as the ideal all-day-long getaway, as you will wish to stay for a bit. Dubbed “Bahay ni Cardo,” the house sits on the summit of it. Kulis is now a tourist attraction by itself. However, do not let the house distract you from the magnificent natural wonder that is Mt. Kulis.
Here, you can easily experience a sea of clouds, making the summit a perfect campsite for an overnight stay. Campers and hikers are also given a generous view of the beautiful mountain ranges of Rizal, and at night, stargazing is a must when there are clear skies.
c.) Mt. Maynoba-Cayabu Loop
Another hike that outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy is the Mt. Maynoba-Cayabu Loop in Tanay, Rizal. Each mountain takes less than a day to hike, but if you wish to do the loop and reach the summit, it is recommended to stay for the night. One of the best things about this hike is that the two mountains offer fantastic views of the Sierra Madre mountains. Apart from the Sierra Madre, it also offers views of other must-climb peaks around the province, such as Mts Banoi, Irid, and Tukduang.
However, the most striking view is the river valley of Sta Ines, which looks like a gorgeous painting straight out of the canvas in the morning. Rise early and view the morning sun shining over the valley. If you are lucky, a sea of clouds may descend over the mountain ranges for a truly otherworldly and magical view.
d.) Mt. Lumot
Located in Doña Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan, Mt. Lumot is considered one of Bulacan’s eco-tourism attractions. It offers an expansive view of the Sierra Madre mountain range and is perfect for a day hike. Apart from hiking, other activities that can be enjoyed in the area are rock climbing, bird watching, and camping.
It is also reachable by bike, which will make your trip even more exciting. One campsite you can choose to set up camp at is where the historical Candle Monument stands, commemorating the sacrifice made by Filipinos during the battle against guerillas in 1938.
5.) Mt. Sipit Ulang
If you are looking for an easy day hike, Mt. Sipit Ulang in Rodriguez Rizal is an excellent choice. With the name translating to “crab’s claw,” Mt. Sipit Ulang is a limestone-trailed mountain that takes approximately two to four hours to hike, depending on weather conditions. Thrill-seekers may opt to tread Paniki Trail, named after the bats that dwell inside the cavernous structures. Keep in mind, however, that this rocky trail will require scrambling for the hiker, so proceed with caution. Alternatively, you can traverse Banayad, which is the easier trail and is a shorter route that leads you straight to the summit.