10 Famous Mountains in the Philippines

Although the Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches, another steadily rising activity for the average Philippine traveler is found a little further inland: the mountains. Over the past couple of decades, mountaineering has slowly begun to grow in popularity, and thanks to social media is now more visible than ever before. Climbing tours are now more accessible to both groups and single climbers, and even major news sites such as Rappler have posted beginners’ guides to hiking.

If you’re looking to check off a few more things on your bucket list, consider some of the famous Philippine climbs on our list below!

Taal Volcano, Batangas
Height: 311 meters above sea level (MASL)
Difficulty: 2/9
Days required: Half-day climb

One of the most iconic views in Luzon, Mt. Taal boasts a volcano inside a lake inside an island. If you fancy a closer look, the hike up to the crater is a mere 45 minutes, and is easy enough for beginners. Guides will assist you most of the way, and you’ll see the peculiar environment found on an active volcano, including volcanic rocks and steam vents. The hike can be dusty and hot, so plan for an early morning trip, and then unwind with some bulalo before heading back home!

Mt. Daguldul, Batangas
Height: 672 MASL
Difficulty: 3/9
Days required: 1-2 days

If you’re looking for a hike that’s a little more challenging but still good for a beginner mountaineer, check out Mt. Daguldul in San Juan, Batangas. You’ll start your hike from the beach and pass through tropical forest, different rock formations, and small streams. There’s a small store halfway up the trail where you can take a break and drink buko juice, and though the summit itself may not have the best view, the breeze is fantastic. Once you’ve made it back down, head straight to the beach for a refreshing, well-deserved swim.

Mt. Mariveles, Bataan
Height: 1,388 MASL
Difficulty: 6/9
Days required: 1-2 days

The next tallest mountain on our list is a little more difficult, so make sure you have enough experience under your belt before you try tackling this one. Mt. Mariveles’ summit is Pantingan Peak, the highest point in Bataan, and is also known for Tarak Ridge, which overlooks Manila Bay. Pantingan meanwhile offers a view of the dormant Mt. Mariveles’ crater and its surrounding peaks. The trail will lead you through forested cover, grassy slopes, and towards the end will get a bit steep, but the view of the mountain range is worth it.

Mt. Pinatubo, Central Luzon
Height: 1,486 MASL
Difficulty: 2/9
Days required: 1 day

The source of so much devastation after its eruption in 1991, reaching the crater of the famous Mt. Pinatubo is nevertheless a breathtaking sight. Start with a 45-minute ride on a 4×4 from Capas, Tarlac straight to the foot of the mountain, where you’ll pass a plain of volcanic sand and little streams colored by minerals. At the crater, you can take in the view, or try swimming across the lake. The barrenness that makes it so awe-inspiring may be forested in the next few decades, so take in the sights while you can!

Mt. Ulap, Benguet
Height: 1846 MASL
Difficulty: 3/9
Days required: 1 day

Mt. Ulap in the north is famous for its stunning views of pine forests, grasslands, and mountain ranges. This dayhike is perfect for tourists who want more from their Baguio trips, and is only 40 minutes away from the City of Pines. The trail is relatively relaxing, with not too many steep climbs, and the coolness of the climate makes it easygoing for climbers of any skill level. It’ll also take you past cultural sites, such as indigenous communities and the Pong-ol Burial Caves. Plan for a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Mt. Kanlaon, Negros Oriental
Height: 2435 MASL
Difficulty: 7/9
Days required: 2-3 days

Although this hike may be a little tougher for the underprepared, there’s no denying that Mt. Kanlaon is one of the most beautiful mountains in the Philippines. The Mapot-Masulog trail starts in Canlaon City, and takes around 2-3 days to complete. Though the trek may be long, you’ll find yourself satisfied with the incredible views as you make your way up the mountain, such as hot springs, tropical forests, sulphuric vents, and caves. The whole hike is chock full of incredible sights, and you might find it hard to pull yourself away!

Mt. Mayon, Bicol
Height: 2463 MASL
Difficulty: 7/9
Days required: 3 days

If there’s one iconic silhouette in the Philippines, it’s that of Mt. Mayon, the volcano with a near-perfect cone shape. While many may be satisfied viewing it from afar, adventure seekers out there can get close and personal with the country’s most active volcano. The trail will take you through forest, grassland, and rocky outcrops, where you’ll see the effects of Mayon’s eruptions on the landscape, and the view from the summit is breathtaking. Be sure to prepare appropriately and check in with PHIVOLCS before planning your hike.

Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon
Height: 2899 MASL
Difficulty: 6/9
Days required: 1-2 days

Mt. Kitanglad is one of the biodiversity hotspots in the country, and any hiker making his or her way up will find no end to the variety of plants, trees, and local wildlife. Lucky trekkers may even be able to catch a glimpse of the Philippine monkey-eating eagle, which makes its home in the mountain range. Kitanglad is also home to a communications center, which offers bunk beds at the peak for climbers who make prior arrangements with the local DENR office. Bring a map so you can play spot the city from the summit!

Mt. Pulag, Benguet
Height: 2922 MASL
Difficulty: 3/9 (Ambangeg Trail)
Days required: 1-2 days

Mt. Pulag is home to the sea of clouds, a reward for any climber making that slow trek to the top. The highest peak in Luzon is also the site of some of the most iconic, beautiful views in Philippine mountaineering, and has also been called “the playground of the gods.” The most common and easiest trail for the casual climber is the Ambangeg trail, but there are less crowded but equally stunning trails such as Akiki or Vizcaya. Be prepared for incredibly cool weather, which can sometimes reach zero or subzero temperatures.

Mt. Apo, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur
Height: 2954 MASL
Difficulty: 7/9
Days required: 3 days

Mt. Apo is often seen as the “final challenge” for Philippine mountaineers before they start looking to climb taller mountains in other countries. There are several trails to reach the top of Mt. Apo, but perhaps the two most well-known are the Kidapawan Trail from North Cotabato, which features tropical forests and hot springs, and the Kapatagan Trail in Davao, which has a rockier, more volcanic approach. The Kidapawan-Kapatagan Traverse spans two provinces and the tallest mountain in the Philippines, and any mountaineer worth their salt will want to check this off the bucket list.

Most of the information in this article is taken from Pinoy Mountaineer, which is an excellent resource on mountaineering in the Philippines, including different trails and itineraries.

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About James Gonzales

James Gonzales is a Filipino-American travel enthusiast and writer currently based in the Philippines. After living and working in New York for 10 years, James decided he wanted to see more of the world and leave the city behind. In the course of saving up for what would become an epic trip across Asia, he wrote about previous traveling experiences for various travel websites and publications based in the Lower East Side. James focused on journeying through the Philippines in the hopes of understanding his roots, and began Daydreaming in Paradise to share his thoughts and experiences. He's always looking for like-minded travelers to trade stories and swap tips with, and he hopes you'll join him on his journey.