It was summer of 2015 when I started climbing mountains. It was a momentary decision that I just wanted to try and know how it feels to climb. But I have no idea how to start as my friends are not into this kind of adventure. So, I asked a close fried if he knew someone who climbs. And then it all started.
2 weeks after I asked, is my first ever mountain adventure. I was new. I was different. I was a joiner. Without enough preparation, knowledge and experience, I conquered my Mother Mountain – Mt. Conco Picos.
Here are the list of Philippine mountains near Manila that I successfully conquered!
Mt. Cinco Picos Traverse Silanguin Cove – March 2015
Entry point: Sitio Cawag Settment, Subic
Exit point: Silanguin Cove, Pundaquit, Zambales
LLA: 14° 47′ N 120° 9′ E, 881 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 2 days / 6-7 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 1-3
From mountain to sea. Who would have thought that I could finish this hike? It took us around 12 hours of walking, trekking and resting before finally reaching Silanguin Cove. Quite a good experience for a first-timer. By doing this, I realised that life is climbing, there is no turning back. Continue reaching the top, never give up, because it is where the most rewarding part is.
A climb to remember: This was where it all started. My climbing enthusiast self has been unleashed.
Mt. Makiling Traverse Dayhike – May 2015
Sto. Tomas, Batangas and Los Banos, Laguna
Entry point: Sitio Jordan, Brgy. San Miguel, Sto. Tomas
Exit point: UP College of Forestry, Los Banos, Laguna
LLA: 14.13°N 121.20°E, 1090 MASL (Peak 2)
Hours to Peak 2 / days required: 1-2 days / 5-8 hours
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 3 with roped segments
Features: Roped segments, rocky face, limatik, rattan, tropical rainforest
Maria Makiling is an Urban Legend we used to study when we where schooling. Every Filipino know this. And as I said yes to this event, I got excited to finally see Mariang Makiling in person. Expect a view of broccoli-like trees from above and a fulfilling soul after the climb. Be cautious of the Limatik – blood leeches when it rains. I reached the exit point after 12 hours of hiking.
A climb to remember: This was an event called “National Mountain Cleanup Day”. First time to do rope segment. Pain in the ass. Haha
Mt. Tapulao – July 2015
Major jump-off: Sitio Dampay, Brgy. Dampay-Salaza, Palauig
LLA: 15.4833 N, 120.1166 E, 2037 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 6-12 hours
Specs: Major Climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, views of West Philippine Sea
My first overnight climb! And one of the hardest climb compared to the 2 climbs I have conquered. Mt. Tapulao, though offers a challenging climb due to it rocky road trail also rewards a beautiful view and a trail out of pine trees. A rewarding feeling after getting to the top as it was considered as a major. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to reach the summit. And I don’t know if i’ll ever visit this again to do a revenge climb .
A climb to remember: There was a rain, no it was a storm during our climb. We were in the middle of hiking it started. And I wasn’t prepared. Thank God that I didn’t get hypothermia due to cold weather
Mt. Batulao Dayhike – July 2015
Jump-off point: Evercrest Golf Course, Nasugbu
LLA: 14.0408 N 120.8011 E 811 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 4/9, Trail class 3 with 60-70 degrees assault
This was my birthday climb. Heard from co-mountaineers that this mountain offers quit a view, I decided to climb this. Mt. Batulao is a minor climb that considered as a favorite from most of the climbers. It has a descent-ascent trail and a rope segment from the summit. This was the second mountain that I didn’t reached the top. It was way too hot that I decided to stay safe that to lose myself up there.
A climb to remember: Hiked with two of the mountaineers that I’ve only met along the trail and chatroom. They were really great!
Mt. Ugo Traverse – September 2015
Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet
Jump-off points: Kayapa, N. Vizcaya; Brgy. Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet
LLA: 16.31916°N, 120.80166°E, 2130 MASL
Days required / hours to summit: 2-3 days, 9-10 hrs
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail Class 1-3
Features: Pine forests, highland villages, views of Cordillera peaks
My FAVORITE climb of all time! Everything happened during (and after) this climb. It rained, our group got lost, we walked in a very dangerous trail which could lead us to a cliff, we experienced a sea of clouds, the foods prepared by the organizers are really good – as if we were not hiking. Mt. Ugo offers too many experience for a mountaineer top experience, and I was really grateful being there that very moment.
A climb to remember: This was the climb where most of the people on my group became my friends, and until now, once in a while, we talk to each other. We can really find treasures along the trail.
Mt. Sipit Ulang Dayhike & Payaran Falls – October 2015
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA: 14°45′20.7′′ N, 121°10′38.2′ 252 MASL (+210m)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3.5 hours
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (Paniki Trail), Trail class 1-4 with limestone scrambling
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Wawa
Second climb with the special group of mountaineers – Hikayat Mountaineers. Though this was a minor climb, it was a challenging one because of the limestone trail that awaits you. Awarding a magnificent view from the top of Sipit Ulang or the “crab’s claw” is a must see.
A climb to remember: First time to enjoy a falls after a hike. of course, there will always be my mountaineering friends to tell me not to give up. Always pushing me to do my best.
Mt. Pamitinan Dayhike – January 2016
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA (Pamitinan): 14°43′51.7′′N 121°11′29.2′′ E 426 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 1.5-3 hours (P); 2-3 hours (B)
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9 (P); 3/9 (B) / Trail class 1-4
Features: Limestone formations, scenic views of Sierra Madre and Rizal province
First climb with one of my closest friend. Mt. Pamitinan will leave you in awe by taking your breath away on its beautiful view from above. Though I hated the limestone trail, this mountain is considered as one of my favorites. Beware of the cliffs.
A climb to remember: I went here for the Wawa Dam, but because I hike like a turtle, I wasn’t able to visit the dam. However, I did a “buwis-buhay” shot here.
Mt. Ayaas Dayhike – April 2016
Major jumpoff: Brgy. Wawa, Rodriguez, Rizal
Minor jumpoff: Brgy. Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal
LLA: 14°45′3.38′′ N, 121°12′27.5′ 627 MASL (+570)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-4 hours
Specs: Minor, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3 with river trekking
Features: River trekking, scenic views, waterfalls
My eight mountain and second of my favorite. Mt. Ayaas is not that difficult to climb. It has a scenic summit that could take your breath away. But, be careful if you climb during summer, the heat can really make you weak. It was also the last mountain that i climbed – last 2016.
A climb to remember: We spent minutes at the summit just to eat and chill. It was the best view of my afternoon that day. And I’ve met the second mountain that I will always love.
Mt. Sembrano Dayhike – April 2016
Major jump-off: Brgy. Hall of Malaya, Pililla
LLA: 14°23’10″N; 121°21’57” E; 745 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 3-4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 1-3
Features: Views of Laguna Lake and Southern Tagalog mountains
The second mountain with a sidetrip to a Falls – the Manggahan Falls. Mt. Sembrano surprised me with its challenging and slippery sand-like trail. I invited some friends, and one of them is a newbie knowing that this climb would be that hard. But I was wrong. Though, this mountain is never a regret. The view from the top is beautiful where you can see the Laguna Lake and other mountains.
A climb to remember: Our tour guide was accompanied by a young kid which is really cool. That kid is so amazing, we gave him tip.
Mt. Maynuba Circuit Dayhike – June 2016
Trailhead: Brgy. Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal
LLA: 14°36′22.4′′N, 121°25′18.6′′ E, 728 MASL (+470m)
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 2-3 hours
Specs: Minor hike, Difficulty 3/9 (Summit); 4/9 (Loop hike), Trail class 1-4
Features: Sea of clouds, scenic views of the Sierra Madre, waterfalls
An anniversary climb with Hikayat Mountaineers. Mt. Cayabu and Mt. Maynuba offers 7 waterfalls along the way, where the hikers can swim, eat and rest. It has a steep yet straightforward trail to reach the summit. It is advisable to reach the summit as early as you can so you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of sea of clouds.
A climb to remember: The most crowded climb! Since this was a new mountain attraction at that time, with an internet sensation handsome guide, too many hikers and first-timers wanted to try this.
During a span of a year, I conquered 12 mountains. After my second climb at Mt. Ayaas, I decided to rest from mountain climbing.
Now that it’s been a year, I have to admit that I do miss the mountains. I am missing a lot from the mountains, from the cliff, from the forest. Maybe next year, I’ll climb again.
So, here are my own list of Philippine Mountains near Manila.
For related posts:
Mountaineering Groups to Follow:
- Hikayat Mountaineers
- Independent Mountain Climbing Alliance For Responsible Outdoorsmanship
- Mansibang Outdoor Institute
- Tara! Akyatan na!
Disclaimer: Some of the details were taken at https://www.pinoymountaineer.com/