5 Mountains Near Manila For Your Next Weekend Getaway
Explore the great outdoors and climb these mountains just a couple of hours away from Manila!
By Raphael Mones
September 20, 2016
We all have different ways of coping with stress like shopping, eating, going to the gym, doing yoga, or even finding new hobbies. But have you ever considered hiking? Many have found conquering mountains to be such a fulfilling activity since it is both a form of exercise and a chance to travel.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go to faraway provinces to hike since there are many mountains near Metro Manila that you can visit. Gather up your friends and take a look at this list of nearby mountains for your next exciting weekend getaway.
Mount Daraitan is located in Tanay, Rizal, about two hours away from Metro Manila. If you’re commuting, there are jeeps and vans headed for Tanay in Shaw Boulevard. Once you’ve reached Tanay Public Market, you can take a jeep or a tricycle to Barangay Daraitan, where you can find the jumping-off point to the mountain.
Mount Daraitan is classified as a minor climb, with a difficulty level of four out of nine. Even beginners would be able to climb this mountain, though it could get very challenging due to some muddy parts of the trail and slippery slopes. It should take around three to four hours to reach the summit, where you’ll feast your eyes on a spectacular view of The Sierra Madre Mountains, Daraitan River, and the neighboring Laguna de Bay.
- Specs: Minor climb, 4/9 difficulty
- Budget: About PHP 700.00 to PHP 800.00 for a day hike
Perhaps one of the more famous mountains in the Philippines, Mount Pinatubo spans three provinces: Pampanga, Zambales, and Tarlac. The jumping-off point to the mountain, however, is located in Capas, Tarlac, which is about two to three hours away from Manila.
Many travel companies offer tour packages to Mount Pinatubo, often inclusive of transportation from Manila. You can also DIY the trip if you wish: Take a bus bound for Tarlac from Manila and get off at Capas Public Market. From there, you can take a jeep or a tricycle to Santa Juliana where the climb begins.
Mount Pinatubo is considered a minor climb. The journey to the top includes a thrilling 4x4 ride and a two-hour trek. Once at the summit, you’ll get to see its majestic crater lake. Its color is said to change, depending on the season. Swimming and kayaking in the lake used to be allowed, but it has been prohibited due to safety reasons.
- Specs: Minor Climb, 2/9 difficulty
- Budget: PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00 for a day hike
Mount Maculot is located in the town of Cuenca in Batangas, only two to three hours from Manila. To get there, you can ride any Lemery-bound buses from either Cubao or Buendia and ask to be dropped off at Cuenca. From the town center, you can either walk or take a tricycle to the jumping-off point.
Mount Maculot has become a favorite among newbie hikers due to its short distance from the metro. But more than that, the mountain also offers a breathtaking view of nature, stunning sunrises, and romantic sunsets as well. Hikers have three destinations to choose from when climbing Mount Maculot: the Grotto, the Rockies, or the summit. Most hikers head to the Rockies where you can enjoy a view of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano. If you’re up to the challenge, you can try to reach the summit, which is 930 meters above sea level.
- Specs: Minor Climb, 4/9 difficulty
- Budget: PHP 600.00 to PHP 900.00 for a day hike
Mount Manabu Peak
Mount Manabu Peak is located just an hour away from Mount Maculot. If you want to try a twin day hike from Maculot, you can take a jeep back to Lipa, followed by a tricycle ride to Barangay Santa Cruz. If you’re coming from Manila, hop on a bus bound for Lipa and get off at Fiesta Mall. From there, take a tricycle to Barangay Santa Cruz.
Like Maculot, Manabu Peak is classified as a minor climb, but it is much easier. Manabu Peak is considered the highest mountain in CALABARZON.
Halfway through the hike, you’ll meet Tata Pino or Mang Pirying who will offer you free alamid coffee (made from alamid droppings, but it is one of the rarest and most expensive coffee in the country). You know you’ve reached the top once you see a huge white stone cross. From the summit, you’ll spot the surrounding mountains in Batangas like Malipunyo and Maculot. Mount Makiling in Laguna is visible as well.
- Specs: Minor climb, 2/9 difficulty
- Budget: PHP 700.00 to PHP 800.00 for a day hike
Nasugbu is more than just a beach destination; it is also home to Mount Batulao, another famous hiking spot in Batangas. From Manila, Mount Batulao is about two to three hours away. Take any bus bound for Nasugbu and ask to be dropped off at Evercrest Resort. The jumping-off point to Batulao should only be a few steps away.
Batulao can be challenging to climb: It can be hot and humid on a sunny day, while the trail becomes really muddy when it’s raining. Whether you choose to go through the old or the new trail, you’ll be greeted with verdant rolling hills, brilliant blue skies, and a sweeping view of Batangas once you reach the top.
- Specs: Minor Climb, 4/9 difficulty
- Budget: PHP 600.00 to PHP 800.00 for a day hike
Before conquering these mountains, be sure to check out these tips for a safe and fun adventure. Good luck!