If you’re looking for an adventure, there’s no better place to trek than in the Philippines. The country is home to some of the best beginner-friendly trekking destinations, with plenty of trails that are perfect for novice hikers. From rolling hills and jungle-clad mountains to active volcanoes, there’s something for everyone. So if you’re itching for a new challenge, strap on your hiking boots and explore the Philippines’ stunning landscape on foot. Here is a list of the 12 best beginner-friendly hiking destinations in the Philippines to get you started. Happy Hiking!!!
1. Mt. Apo, Davao City
Mt. Apo, also known as the “grandfather of all Philippine mountains,” is located in Davao City. It is the highest peak in the country, standing at a majestic 2956 m above sea level. As one of the most popular mountains for hiking and trekking in Southeast Asia, it attracts thousands of mountaineers each year.
There are three major trails to climb Mt. Apo: Mt. Talomo trail (touted to be the most challenging route), Kidapawan Trail (the most popular route), and Kapatagan trail. The summit can be reached within 2-3 days one way, but this depends on your fitness level. There are several campsites along the way where you can rest and spend the night.
The trails are challenging, especially during the rainy season, due to slippery rocks and loose soil. Therefore, it is best to hike this mountain during summer or dry months so you can avoid foggy weather or rough terrain, which might slow down your climb.
2. Mt. Makiling, Laguna
Another beginner-friendly trekking destination in the Philippines is Mt. Makiling, in Laguna. It has a height of 645 m and is considered one of the most accessible mountains in the country. Mt. Makiling is also rich in biodiversity as there are many different kinds of flora and fauna that can be found along the trail.
There are two main trails: the UPLB, College of Forestry, and Sta. Rosa trails. The UPLB and College of Forestry trails are considered moderate hikes, while the Sta. Rosa’s trail is more challenging. So if you’re looking for an easy hike, I recommend taking the UPLB or College of Forestry trails. However, if you’re looking to challenge yourself on your hike, I suggest taking the tougher (but more rewarding) Sta. Rosa trail.
The summit offers a beautiful view of Laguna de Bay and the surrounding mountains. It is also a popular spot for camping and bird watching.
The forest on this mountain is also home to endemic flora such as pitcher plants and many varieties of orchids. There are also freshwater pools along the trail where you can take a dip, so bring your bathing suits and towels.
3. Mt. Daraitan, Rizal
Mt. Daraitan is located in the province of Rizal, just a few hours away from Manila. It is one of the best beginner-friendly hiking destinations in the Philippines, with a summit elevation of only 739 meters above sea level.
The summit can be reached within 3-4 hours, and the trails are well-marked with little danger of getting lost. However, it is still important to book ahead with the locals or guide agencies to make sure someone will guide you up the mountain when you arrive in town.
What makes Mt. Daraitan attractive to trekkers is its stunning limestone cliffs, pristine forests, and tranquil rivers, which can all be enjoyed during the hike. There are other attractions such as the Daritan Falls and several caves that can be explored along the way. The summit offers a 360-degree view of the surroundings, making it a perfect place to take pictures or just relax and enjoy the view.
4. Mt. Tapulao, Zambales
Mt. Tapulao is the highest peak in Zambales, standing at an elevation of 2037m above sea level. Today, it has become one of the most popular beginner-friendly trekking destinations in the Philippines due to its gentle slopes and beautiful scenery. It is also considered one of the best places to do a sunrise hike because of its stunning symmetrical cone shape and its isolated location.
The trails are not very difficult and can take you 2-3 days to hike, going up and down. But this can be quite challenging during the rainy season due to slippery rocks and mud. It is important to take note of the weather conditions before embarking on the hike, and always to bring a map and compass. There are several campsites along the way where hikers can rest and spend the night.
The views from the summit are also breathtaking. So I recommend coming here if you want to experience trekking in the Philippines without having to worry about anything.
5. Mt. Pulag, Benguet
Mt. Pulag, located in Benguet province, is the 3rd highest mountain in the Philippines and a favorite destination for beginner hikers and trekkers. At an elevation of 2900 m above sea level, it offers easy-moderate trails for hikers.
There are two trails up Mt. Pulag: the Ambangeg and Akiki trails. The Ambangeg trail is considered an easier hike, while the Akiki trail is more challenging, but both are manageable by beginner hikers. The summit can be reached within 3-4 hours, depending on your fitness level. The main attraction at the summit is the stunning view of the sun rising above the horizon.
Mt. Pulag is one of the top beginner-friendly trekking destinations in the Philippines because it is not very technical and doesn’t require prior mountaineering experience to make it up to its summit. Due to its popularity, this place is often crowded during weekends and holidays. So I recommend going during weekdays when there are fewer people.
6. Osmena Peak, Dalaguete, Cebu
Osmena Peak, located in Cebu province, is one of the most popular beginner-friendly hiking destinations in the Philippines. Standing at a modest 1013 meters above sea level, this mountain is perfect for those who are new to hiking and trekking.
There are two trails up Osmena Peak: the easier Mantalongon trail and the more challenging Kawasan trail. The Mantalongon trail is recommended for beginners because it is less steep and takes around 4-5 hours roundtrip, depending on your fitness level. But if you feel adventurous, then opt for the Kawasan trail, which takes about 5-7 hours to reach the summit.
There are several resting areas along the way where you can take a break and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding area. At the summit, you will be rewarded with a 360-degree view of Cebu Island and its neighboring islands.
Osmena Peak is a great introduction to the world of trekking because it’s not too difficult nor too easy. So, if you’re looking for an easy hike with amazing views, then Osmena Peak is definitely the mountain for you.
7. Mt. Maculot, Batangas
Mt. Maculot, located in Cuenca, Batangas, is a popular day hike destination for beginner trekkers. At 957 m above sea level, the climb to the summit is relatively easy and can be completed within 3 hours.
There are three trails up Mt. Maculot: the Rockies, Summit, and the Grotto trails. The Rockies trail is the easiest and most popular route, while the Summit trail is the most challenging. The summit offers a beautiful view of Taal Lake and Volcano, making it a great place to take photos. There is also a campsite along the way where hikers can rest and spend the night if they wish.
Mt. Maculot is one of the best beginner-friendly trekking destinations in the Philippines because it offers a great challenge for hikers while still being accessible and manageable. It is also less crowded than other popular trekking destinations in the country. So if you are looking for an adventure but don’t want to deal with large crowds, Mt. Maculot is a good option for you.
8. Mt. Gulugod Baboy, Batangas
Mt. Gulugod Baboy is a small but relatively popular mountain located in Batangas. It is also one of the best beginner-friendly trekking destinations in the Philippines due to its short trail and gentle terrain.
The summit can be reached within 2-3 hours (depending on your fitness level), making it a perfect day hike for beginners. The views from the top are amazing, making this trekking destination worth every sweat you’ll shed during your climb.
Another great thing about this site is that it offers a lot of opportunities to interact with the locals. Some are into farming, while others are just simple mountaineers who love to explore new trails. Either way, you’ll definitely meet some interesting people through your hike on Gulugod Baboy.
Overall, this is a great place to experience the Philippines’ diverse flora and fauna. You will see different types of plants and trees, as well as monkeys, birds, and other animals along the trail.
9. Mt. Batolusong, Tanay
Mt. Batolusong is located in Rizal province, just a few hours away from Manila. It stands at an elevation of about 600 meters above sea level, which makes it one of the most popular beginner-friendly hiking destinations in the Philippines. The summit can be reached within two to three hours, making it an excellent choice for those just starting with trekking.
The views from the summit are breathtaking, with 360-degree vistas of Laguna and Quezon. The trail is well-marked, and the locals are also very friendly and welcoming. So don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Overall, Mt Batolusong is a great spot to hike if you’re a beginner or even if you just want a quick day trip out of Manila. The trail is also quite easy to follow, and there are concrete markers that will lead you all the way to the summit.
10. Lake Sebu Seven Falls, South Cotabato
Located in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, this series of waterfalls and natural pools makes for an enchanting sight. The area is dotted with limestone cliffs and rocks making it a popular spot for climbers and adventurous swimmers.
One can hike to the seven falls, which will take about one hour to an hour and a half. The trail is only slightly challenging as there are some areas where you need to be extra careful, especially when crossing rivers. There are several viewing platforms along the way where you can rest and take pictures.
Upon reaching the falls, you will be treated to a sight of seven-tiered waterfalls plunging into a pool below. Just be careful when walking near the edge of the falls, as there are no guard rails.
This place rises to be one of the best beginner-friendly hiking destinations in the Philippines because it is easy to access and has built-in amenities such as a camping area.
11. Taal Volcano, Batangas
Taal Volcano is located in Batangas and is the smallest active volcano in the world. It has a height of only 311 m above sea level, making it a popular day hike destination.
The trek to the crater of Taal Volcano is considered an easy hike and takes around 2-3 hours one way. But this will depend on your pace and how often you stop for rest. The main crater of Taal Volcano is called Lake Taal, which is one of the world’s largest lakes within a volcano crater. Lake Taal is also one of the deepest lakes in the country, with a depth of 172 meters.
The best way to explore Taal Volcano is by taking a boat ride across Taal Lake with an experienced guide who knows the ins and outs of the place better.
What makes this volcano fascinating is its contrasting landscape: a calm and picturesque lake surrounded by steep cliffs and a smoldering volcano. It’s definitely worth the trek. And don’t forget to bring a camera.
12. Marlboro Country, Sagada
Last on the list is Marlboro Country, which is also one of the top beginner-friendly trekking destinations in the Philippines because of its well-preserved forests and stunning scenery. It stands 1,609m above sea level and is located in the town of Sagada.
This area is perfect for beginner trekkers who want to experience hiking and climbing without having to worry about steep cliffs or dangerous trails. It usually takes around 2-3 hours to complete the hike, depending on your pace. The trail is moderate, with some uphill and downhill sections. The views from the top are simply amazing.
In addition, Sagada is also home to some of the most picturesque rice terraces in the country. If you’re looking for an adventure plus beautiful scenery, then Sagada is definitely the place for you!
I hope this list of the 12 best beginner-friendly trekking destinations in the Philippines can give you some ideas for your next adventure. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter where in the Philippines you decide to go. As long as you’re ready to take on any challenge, you’ll come out happy and proud at the end. Good luck with planning your trip.