Blessed with at least 31 prominent mountains (and possibly hundreds or thousands more!), the Philippine islands are a mountaineer's paradise. Whether you're a vacationer looking for something new to do this summer, or a true-blue backpacker looking for your next great adventure, the mountains below will make you want to climb to — and stay on — their peaks.
Location: Nasugbu, Batangas
If you're new to mountain climbing, start with Batulao. Aside from being just a couple of hours away from Manila, its gentle slopes are easy on the legs (as well as the nerves). Once you get to the top, you can drink in gorgeous views of the surrounding Batangas and Cavite provinces. Don't forget to watch out for the gorilla-shaped ridge line!
Location: Kalinga Province, Cordillera Administrative Region
Also known as "Ambalatungan" and "Binubulauan," Mt. Binuluan is one of the highest peaks within its region, and one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. It's reportedly erupted a couple of times in 1952 and 1986, though neither eruption has been officially verified.
Along Binuluan's trails, you can walk across fumarole fields and hot springs. The mountain also hosts the Kalinga people, who are usually peaceful except when disputes escalate between their tribes. If you don't want to get caught in those disputes, hire a local guide before climbing Binuluan.
Location: San Juan, Batangas
Like Mt. Batulao, Mt. Daguldol is relatively easy to climb, and is only a couple of hours away from Metro Manila. You'll be greeted by sprawling green hills on your way to the top, as well as sights of the Laiya Beach and the neighboring Mt. Naguiling. About halfway to Daguldol's peak, there's a stopover where you can buy buko or halo-halo and rehydrate for the rest of your journey.
Location: Bakun, Benguet
Rising above Bakun's rice terraces is Mt. Kabunian, a place traditionally considered sacred by the locals. It's named after a Kankana-ey god, and its slopes are strewn with hanging wooden coffins believed to help the dead ascend to the heavens. Don't let these sobering sights put you off, though: Kabunian is also home to wild goats, waterfalls, and idyllic views of Bakun's countryside.
Location: Southern Palawan
The name isn't the only thing about this mountain that'll trip you up. Graded 9/9 by PinoyMountaineer.com, Mantalingahan is one of the hardest mountains to climb in the Philippines. It's also the highest point on the Mantalingahan Mountain Range, as well as Palawan island in general.
Despite its height and difficulty level, however, climbing Mantalingahan is worth the risk. The mountain boasts of several new (and potentially undiscovered) species of flora and fauna, including the pitcher plant Nepenthes mantalingajanensis. You can also encounter the indigenous Tau't Bato (literally "people of the rock") tribe, as well as the famous "Knife Edge" on your journey towards the summit.
Mt. Pico de Loro
It might look like a parrot's beak (hence the name), but Pico de Loro is actually one of the easiest climbs in the Philippines. Since the route to the peak is only five kilometers long, a reasonably fit hiker can complete it within a day or so.
Make sure to bring a camera before you climb the Pico de Loro, because the summit is a treasure trove of spectacular views. From the top, you can see the neighboring provinces, the South China Sea, the Manila Bay, the island of Corregidor, and so much more.
Location: Negros Oriental
In terms of height, Talinis is second only to Mt. Kanlaon as the tallest within the Visayas group of islands. Described as a "complex volcano," the mountain has several cones undulating across it, though it only has one lava center. Like most of the mountains on this list, Mt. Talinis is a photographer's as well as a mountaineer's paradise.
For one, it's home to a diverse group of flora and fauna. For another, it has the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes Natural Park — which, as the name suggests, is home to Lakes Nailig and Yagumyum. Finally, the mountain's white-covered trees (due to the sulphur-rich ground) provide a fascinating, if eerie, sight for weary travelers.
Location: Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya
Like Mt. Pulag and Mt. Napulauan, Mt. Ugo towers over the Cordillera region like a guardian giant. It's only been discovered in 1987, being the crash site of a plane from the Philippine Airlines that year. Although Ugo isn't as high or as difficult to climb as its two neighboring mountains, it nonetheless provides equally breathtaking views of nature and the countryside.
Have you climbed any of these mountains before? What was your experience like? Have your say in the space below, or reach out to us via social media.