Mountain hiking is a physically draining but rewarding activity. Many people shy away from hiking because of the imagined difficulty they put in their heads even before they start the climb.
But hiking need not be for the physically gifted, there are mountains perfect for beginners and the “fit enough.”
And if you’re from Manila, you have even fewer excuses to work with as these mountains are conveniently located near you. You can get to them in less than 4 hours!
Mt. Manabu, Sto. Tomas, Batangas
Of the mountains on this list, Mt. Manabu is the easiest one. Mt. Manabu is a mountain in Batangas and stands 760 MASL. You can finish the climb to the summit in 2 to 3 hours. Its lush forests, easy-to-trek and follow trail and not-so-taxing assault up the summit are what makes Mt. Manabu perfect for beginners.
There is enough shade to recuperate from the moderate trek through the forest and the cool breeze helps invigorate tired bodies. There are eight stations and a cross at the summit of this mountain. There are signs and well-established trails throughout the hike. You can’t get lost here, even if it is your first climb without a guide. Hikers can also get a taste of kapeng barako in one of the huts leading to the summit. The whole hike can take around 5 hours depending on your pace.
How to Get to Mt. Manabu
Ride a Lipa bound bus from Buendia station for approximately an hour and a half, then hire a tricycle to take you to the jump-off point of Mt. Manabu at Sulok, Brgy. Sta. Cruz for around 30 minutes. The bus to Lipa costs ₱124.
Mt. Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas
Mt. Batulao is located in Nasugbu, Batangas. This mountain is 811 MASL (meters above sea level) and is an ideal climb for beginners because of its rolling hills and scenic views. Batulao is blessed with magnificent views of farmlands, forests, and an overlooking view of Batangas.
Hikers are given an extra boost of energy by the refreshing winds passing through the mountain. You can choose to traverse the mountain from the old to new trail or vice-versa or just take the new trail ascending and descending the mountain. Batulao also has an impressive array of rock formations that can be seen once hikers reach the summit. It takes roughly 5 hours to go up and down this mountain, but it all depends on your pace.
How to Get to Mt. Batulao
Batulao is one bus ride away from MRT Taft station. The conductors of the buses bound for Nasugbu are familiar with this mountain so you won’t get lost. Just tell them you’d like to alight at Mt. Batulao and the conductors will drop you off at Evercrest. The bus ride takes 2 to 3 hours depending on traffic. The bus ride costs ₱106 one way and there is a ₱40 fee when you traverse the new and old trail.
Mt. Talamitam, Nasugbu, Batangas
Another popular mountain hike for beginners is the mountain near Batualo, Mt. Talamitam. Mt. Talamitam rises 630 MASL and gradually inclines, until the final assault up the summit. Beginners’ legs will not howl in pain while climbing this mountain because of its steady incline increase. The final assault to the summit takes up to 30 minutes on an established trail.
Hikers are rewarded with splendid views of the countryside as they journey up the mountain. Talamitam is as bare as it can get, with little to no shade as hikers move closer to the top. The heat and rain can be a problem because of the bareness of the mountain. But there are times when it is windy on the mountain, making the hike more pleasant. The hike up and down the mountain takes approximately 5 hours depending on your pace.
How to Get to Mt. Talamitam
Luckily for you, Mt. Talamitam is one bus ride away from MRT Taft station. Ride a bus bound for Nasugbu and tell the conductor you would like to alight at Brgy. Bayabasan. There’s a short walk to the registration and starting point of the mountain once you alight at Brgy. Bayabasan. The bus ride takes around 2 hours. The bus to Brgy. Bayabasan costs ₱124 one way and there is a fee of ₱20 per person for the hike.
Mt. Maculot, Cuenca, Batangas
Mt. Maculot is another mountain near Manila in Batangas that is popular with day hikers and beginners. This mountain is characterized by three sections namely the grotto, rockies, and the summit. For most hikers, getting to the rockies is enough because of the stunning views it offers.
The trail to the rockies is steep. The mountain inclines quickly as soon as you leave the jump-off point. Thankfully, there’s plenty of shade to seek respite from the scorching heat of the sun or the light downpour of rain if you happen to hike during monsoon season. There are scenic views of Taal Volcano and the plains of Batangas when you look to your left or right as you inch closer to the rockies.
The hike to the rockies can take up to 3 hours, depending on your speed and number of rests you take. There is also a store called “7-11” by hikers. The store sells drinks, liquor, and basic commodities for those who want to spend the night at the campsite. The hike can take you a total of 5 hours, perfect for a day trip!
How to Get to Mt. Maculot
You can ride a Lemery bound bus from Cubao or Buendia; the bus ride takes roughly 2 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a Tambo Exit bound bus for around 2 hours from Cubao for ₱132 one way. From Tambo Exit, you can ride a jeepney to Lemery for approximately 1 hour for ₱25.
Mt. Pico de Loro, Ternate, Cavite
Last on the list and the most difficult is Mt. Pico de Loro. Mt. Pico de Loro stands 664 MASL, but don’t let its short height fool you. Its trail is not as easy as you think. You will trek through forests, streams, and scale inclines that will make you question why you went on the climb in the first place.
Pico de Loro’s most prominent feature is the parrot’s beak. This monolith is the ultimate test for beginners. Once you muster the courage to scale parrot’s beak, you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of the countryside. It would also serve as a neat profile picture on your social media accounts. It can take up to 8 hours to hike up and down this mountain, but obviously depends on your pace.
How to Get to Mt. Pico de Loro
Take a bus from Coastal Mall bound for Ternate and alight at the terminal. The bus ride takes around 2 hours and costs around ₱82 one way. Once at the terminal, you can rent a tricycle for ₱250 one way to get to the jump-off point at the DENR outpost. Pico de Loro is a popular hiking destination so most drivers will know where you should alight.