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10 Must-Visit Hiking Trails Near Manila

10 Must-Visit Hiking Trails Near Manila


Kamusta, fellow adventure seekers! I bet you’re just like me, always on the lookout for that perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. We all know the Philippines is blessed with some of the most jaw-dropping beaches and outdoor spots on the planet (Hello, Palawan and Boracay!). But let’s not forget about the beautiful mountains that are just begging to be explored.

Ah, hiking in the Philippines – it’s like enjoying a piece of heaven right here on Earth. Picture this: lush forests, singing birds, the sweet scent of nature, and panoramic views that’ll make your heart sing! And the best part? You don’t have to travel far to experience these breathtaking spots.

You heard that right, my friends! Manila, our very own bustling metropolis, is just a stone’s throw away from some of the most picturesque hiking trails you can imagine. It’s almost like Mother Nature is calling us to take a break, tie up our hiking boots, and head for the hills.

So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a newbie looking to conquer your first summit, this guide has got you covered. Keep reading to discover the top hiking spots near Manila, and get ready to embark on an adventure you’ll never forget. Tara na, let’s go!

1. Mt. Daraitan (Rizal)

Located in the heart of Rizal, Mt. Daraitan is just about 85 kilometers away from Manila. It’s a playground for adventure junkies, featuring stunning forests, river crossings, and even some good ol’ boulder climbing!

When you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a view that’s so amazing, it’s as if nature took a selfie. The best part? Mt. Daraitan is beginner-friendly, so even if you’re a hiking newbie, you can conquer this beauty. Just remember to pack your grit and determination!

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can opt for an overnight camping trip on the mountain. And don’t forget to check out Tinipak River and its picturesque rock formations nearby. You wouldn’t want to miss that, would you?

2. Mt. Pinatubo (Zambales)

Ready for a blast from the past? Head over to Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales! This volcanic wonder is located approximately 150 kilometers northwest of Manila, making it an accessible destination for a weekend getaway or an epic day trip.

For all you history buffs out there, Mt. Pinatubo is the place to be. This volcano made headlines in 1991 when it erupted in a spectacular fashion, causing widespread destruction and dramatically altering the global climate. Nowadays, the volcano is much more peaceful, sporting a stunning crater lake that looks like it was plucked straight out of a postcard. Just imagine the selfies you could take!

While the eruption may have been no walk in the park, hiking Mt. Pinatubo is a different story. This adventure is suitable for hikers of all levels, as the trail consists mostly of flat terrain, with only a few moderately steep sections. The 4×4 off-road ride to the trailhead adds an extra dose of excitement to your journey. Just make sure you hold onto your hat during the ride, or you might end up with a case of “hat hair” in all your photos!

3. Mt. Manalmon (Bulacan)

Looking for a hike that’s closer than your mom’s nosy neighbor? Mt. Manalmon in Bulacan is just a hop, skip, and a jump away, roughly 90 kilometers from Manila. It’s the perfect day trip for city dwellers in need of a breath of fresh air and a chance to stretch their legs.

Get ready to channel your inner Tarzan or Jane, because Mt. Manalmon’s lush forests and rivers will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a tropical adventure. Swing from vine to vine (figuratively, of course) as you navigate the verdant greenery, and keep an eye out for the majestic Madlum River, where you can cool off and practice your best “I’m the king of the world!” pose.

Good news for hiking newbies: conquering Mt. Manalmon is as easy as pie (well, maybe not that easy, but you get the point). The trail is beginner-friendly, with a manageable elevation gain and a series of wooden bridges that make you feel like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie. And the cherry on top? The panoramic summit views that are totally worth the sweat and potential mosquito bites. So go on, grab your hiking boots, and let the adventure begin!

4. Mt. Arayat (Pampanga)

Craving a hike that’s close enough to Manila but far enough to escape the city’s hustle and bustle? Mt. Arayat in Pampanga is your answer! Just 80 kilometers away from Manila, this mountain is like your favorite childhood toy – close to your heart and full of surprises.

Feeling like you’re in a real-life Jumanji game, Mt. Arayat’s dense forests and diverse wildlife will keep you on your toes. Watch out for mischievous monkeys, melodious birds, and sneaky monitor lizards as you navigate through the jungle-like trails. Don’t worry, though; there’s no need for a magical board game or an enchanted dice to enjoy this adventure!

Mt. Arayat offers a moderate hike that will put your stamina to the test, but hey, who doesn’t love a good challenge? When you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views that will make you forget all about those pesky leg cramps. As you stand there, basking in the glory of nature and feeling like a true mountaineer, remember to snap a selfie or two for the ‘gram – you’ve earned it!

5. Mt. Gulugod Baboy (Batangas)

Ready for a hike that’s hog-wild? Head down to Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Batangas! Just about 120 kilometers from Manila, this hike is perfect for a quick escape from the city. And don’t worry, you won’t actually encounter any pigs on the trail, despite its name, which translates to “Pig’s Spine” in English.

Fear not, hiking newbies! Mt. Gulugod Baboy is your friend. With its relatively easy and well-established trail, you can conquer this mountain without breaking too much of a sweat. It’s like going on a first date – a little bit nervous but mostly excited!

As you make your way up the mountain, you’ll be treated to picturesque views that’ll have you saying “Wow!” at every turn. The panoramic vista of Batangas Bay, Balayan Bay, and Mindoro will leave you breathless (and not just from the hike itself). Don’t forget to bring your camera; your social media followers will thank you!

6. Mt. Maculot (Batangas)

Calling all adventurers! Are you ready to take on Mt. Maculot? This crowd-pleaser is located in Cuenca, Batangas, just about 95 kilometers away from Manila. In just a couple of hours, you can swap the concrete jungle for an actual one!

Mt. Maculot offers a smorgasbord of hiking delights. You can choose between the Rockies or the summit trail – or why not both? Go on, show off your inner adventurer! The Rockies trail leads you to a stunning view of Taal Lake, while the summit trail takes you even higher for that sweet, sweet victory. And for the cherry on top, you can even camp overnight on the mountain!

Get your phone or camera ready, because Mt. Maculot is an Instagrammer’s paradise! With breathtaking views of Taal Lake and the surrounding landscapes, it’s impossible not to snap a million photos. Just imagine the look on your friends’ faces as they double-tap those jaw-dropping shots. Trust us, you’ll be the talk of the town—or at least your social media circle!

7. Mt. Kulis (Rizal)

Looking for a magical escape from the city? Look no further than Mt. Kulis in Tanay, Rizal! Just about 60 kilometers away from Manila, it’s close enough for a spontaneous day trip yet far enough to make you feel like you’ve entered a different realm altogether.

What sets Mt. Kulis apart from other mountains? For starters, you might just catch a glimpse of the elusive sea of clouds! It’s like a cotton-candy dream, but better because it’s real. And if that’s not enough, there’s also Noah’s Ark, a massive wooden structure perched on the mountain where you can snap some seriously epic photos. It’s like you’re on top of the world—except it’s just Rizal!

Fear not, my newbie hiker friends! Mt. Kulis is beginner-friendly and perfect for those who want to dip their toes into the hiking world without diving in headfirst. Plus, there are plenty of nearby activities to keep you entertained, like spelunking in the enchanting Calinawan Cave or taking a refreshing dip in the Daranak Falls. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but better because it’s real life!

8. Mt. Makiling (Laguna)

Tired of the hustle and bustle of Manila? Head on down to Mt. Makiling in Laguna! Just about 70 kilometers south of Manila, it’s the perfect place to soak up some nature vibes and recharge your soul.

If you’re a fan of biodiversity, you’ll fall head over hiking boots for Mt. Makiling! This majestic mountain is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including rare and endemic species that will make your inner nature nerd squeal with delight. Keep your eyes peeled as you traverse the trails, and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. Literally.

While Mt. Makiling isn’t the easiest hike on this list, it’s well worth the effort. The trail difficulty ranges from moderate to challenging, but don’t let that scare you away! Just think of it as an extra workout with a side of Mother Nature’s finest offerings. And speaking of offerings, keep an eye out for the unique flora along the trail, like the mighty Makiling orchid and the mystical tayabak plant. Who knows, you might just stumble upon a botanical wonder that’ll leave you speechless!

9. Masungi Georeserve (Rizal)

Looking for an otherworldly adventure just a stone’s throw away from Manila? Masungi Georeserve in Rizal is your answer! Just around 50 kilometers east of the capital, this eco-park is practically a hop, skip, and a jump away.

The Masungi Georeserve isn’t your ordinary hiking destination. It’s a playground for the adventurous, with unique rope courses and structures that will have you feeling like Indiana Jones in no time. From rope bridges to hanging nets, there’s no shortage of thrills here. And let’s not forget the jaw-dropping limestone formations that’ll make you wonder if you’ve accidentally wandered into another planet.

Don’t let the unique structures scare you away. The Masungi Georeserve is suitable for beginners, with well-maintained trails that make it accessible for all fitness levels. And as for scenic views, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramas of the Sierra Madre mountains and Laguna de Bay. So bring your camera, strike a pose, and make your friends green with envy as you explore this one-of-a-kind hiking destination.

10. Mt. Sipit Ulang (Rizal)

If you’re craving a hike that’s close to Manila but feels a world away, then Mt. Sipit Ulang in Rizal is calling your name! Located about 45 kilometers east of the bustling city, this hidden gem offers an escape without the long drive.

Mt. Sipit Ulang has a variety of trails to suit different hikers’ preferences. From the challenging Paniki Trail for the more experienced hikers to the more relaxed Banayad Trail for beginners, there’s a path for everyone.

The Banayad Trail lives up to its name (which means “easy” or “gentle” in Tagalog). This beginner-friendly trail meanders through lush forests and bamboo groves, with only a few steep sections to tackle. You’ll even encounter a picturesque cave along the way, perfect for that Instagram-worthy shot!

Reaching the summit of Mt. Sipit Ulang is a rewarding experience for beginners and seasoned hikers alike. You’ll be treated to stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding landscapes, including nearby mountains like Mt. Ayaas, Mt. Cayabu, and Mt. Binacayan. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get ready to conquer Mt. Sipit Ulang!


Well, folks, there you have it—your ultimate guide to exploring hiking spots near Manila. With so many incredible mountains to conquer, you’re bound to have a blast and come back with stories that’ll make your friends green with envy.

And let’s not forget the additional activities and travel tips. After all, what’s a hiking adventure without a side of beach bumming, diving, or exploring a georeserve? Just remember to pack your sunblock and your most convincing “lost tourist” face, and you’re good to go.

As for preparing for a hiking adventure in the Philippines, make sure you’re well-equipped with essentials like water, snacks (because who doesn’t love a good trail mix?), and an upbeat playlist. Don’t forget to bring your sense of humor, and maybe even some witty mountain puns to share with your fellow hikers.

So, what are you waiting for? Lace up your boots, put on your adventure hat, and hit the trails for an unforgettable hiking experience in the Philippines. See you at the summit!

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