Treks and Trails: The Top Seven Beginner Hiking Spots Near Metro Manila

The Philippines is an incredibly beautiful country home to over 7000 islands each peppered with diverse landscapes. Of these landscapes are a series of mountains with some of the most scenic and breathtaking views in the country that any intrepid trekker or traveler would surely want to immerse themselves in.

If you are looking for a thrilling and exhilarating adventure to try this year, it would be a shame to overlook trekking or hiking as an option. After all, there are some out of this world views in the country that are best appreciated in person. So, if you have the opportunity to see these gorgeous scenes for yourself, go ahead and take that trekking or hiking trip–and you do not even need to book a plane ticket just for it. With the country’s myriad of trekking options–particularly in Metro Manila–you do not need to travel far just to satiate your appetite for climbing mountains and discovering some of the country’s most awe-inspiring views. Below is a list of Metro Manila’s most accessible and novice-friendly hiking spots that are best taken as a day hike. These spots do not require expensive gears just to help you reach the summit and yet, they offer some of the best views that are worthy of posting in any of your social media feeds.

In any case, here are the top beginner hiking spots near Metro Manila:

Mt. Daraitan (Tanay, Rizal)

Source:  Pinoy Fitness

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Gradually Sloping Minor Hike (Level 1-2 Difficulty)

Travel Time from Manila: Two to Two and a half hours

How to get there: Take a jeep from EDSA-Shaw Crossing to Tanay. Once you reach Tanay, take a jeep going to Sampaloc and hail a tricycle going to Barangay Daraitan. Ride a raft to cross the Daraitan River then ride a tricycle to the Barangay Hall.

One of the best things about Mt. Daraitan is the fact that you can check other sights and sceneries in just one trek. Apart from getting to see the Sierra Madre Mountains, the long stretch of the Daraitan River and other nearby mountains at the summit, you can also get to see limestone viewpoints during your hike.

Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamintan (Rodriguez, Rizal)

Source: More dan travels

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Technical Ascents with rocky terrain (Minor Difficulty, Trail Class 1-4)

Travel Time from Manila: Two hours

How to get there: Ride a passenger van going to Rodriguez from Cubao. Get off at the two proper and ride a tricycle going to Wawa Dam where you are supposed to register at the Barangay Hall.

Mt. Binacayan and Mt. Pamitinan are believed to be the two rocks mentioned in the tale of Bernardo Carpio. The two mountains are split into two by the Wawa River. While many might be discouraged by the mountains’ rocky terrains, you should not deter you from climbing to a rewarding sight of beautiful clouds and nearby mountains and the Wawa Dam.

Mt. Daguldol (San Juan, Batangas)

Source: Dressed for Dreaming

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Balanced Terrain (Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3)

Travel Time from Manila: Four hours

How to get there: Take a bus from Buendia to San Juan, Batangas. From there, ride a jeep going to Barangay Hugom and take a tricycle going to Mt. Daguldol’s jump-off point.

One of the best things about climbing is that you get to treated to beautiful sceneries while you are gradually making your way to the summit. Mt. Daguldol offers you a beautiful view of the Laiya coastline every now and then as you may your way up. After your hike, you may even want to cool off at one of the Laiya beaches!

Mt. Pinatubo Crater Lake (Capas, Tarlac)

Source: Esca Etceteras

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Beginner 2/10

Travel Time from Manila: Two hours

How to get there: Ride a bus bound to Olangapo or Baguio from Cubao and alight at the Capas, Tarlac public market. From there, hail a trike and head to Sta. Juliana’s tourism office where you will ride a 4X4 jeep that will take you to the jump-off area.

Mt. Pinatubo is considered as one of the most straightforward hikes. While there may be river crossings along the way they are only ankle-deep. At the summit, you will be rewarded to a view of the scenic lake–truly a visual treat for anyone.

Mt. Manalmon (San Miguel, Bulacan)

Source: Adventurous Lens

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Flat Terrain (Minor Climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail class 1-2)

Travel Time from Manila: Three hours

How to get there: Just take any bus bound for Cabanatuan from Pasay or Cubao. Alight at Barangay Kamias where you can take a trike going to Barangay Madlum.

Mount Manalmon is not actually a mountain but a hill which makes it the perfect hiking spot for novices and beginners. Apart from being treated to riveting stories and fun facts about the destination by the guides, Mt. Manalmon also offers activities for tourists such as swimming, spelunking, river crossing, bird watching and caving–certainly an excellent way to pepper your itinerary for the day.

Mt. Romelo (Sinloan, Laguna)

Source: Sirang Lente

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Minor Climb, Difficulty 2/9, Trail Class 1

Travel time from Manila: Three Hours

How to get there: Ride a bus bound to Infanta, Quezon from Pasay and get off at the Buruwisan Falls Ecology Park Junction. Once there, you can take a ten minute walk towards the Greenhouse where the registration is.

Considered as one of the easiest climbs you will ever make, Mt. Romelo is an excellent start towards your journey of becoming a seasoned trekker. Reaching the summit does not take much effort, however, the trail can get muddy during the rainy months.

Mt. Sawi (Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija)

Source: Isla Story

Terrain Type and Difficulty: Minor Climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3

Travel time from Manila: Five hours

How to get there: Take a bus going to Cabanatuan from Cubao bus terminal. From Cabanatuan, grab a jeep or a van heading to the town’s central terminal and ask the driver to drop you off at Manilao’s barangay hall.

While relatively new to the list, Mt. Sawi is one of the emerging popular hiking spots in Luzon considering how magnificent its views are.

As the country is blessed with abundant natural destinations, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy these beautiful sights–particularly our scenic mountains. If you have always contemplated of going on a hike, then try one of the options listed above. Worry not as these are beginner-friendly hiking spots that treat you to scenic and panoramic views sans the strenuous physical activity. With the options above, you can try and dip your toes into a brand new activity that might light a spark in the inner trekker in you.  

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