“In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” ~ Jack Kerouac
I went on my first mountain climb after earning a college diploma. Even if I went to a university that is bounded by seemingly endless mountains, I was too focused with my academics, and did not give in to my nosiness as to what mountains can give me as a person. When I started working, the urging of 2 colleagues one summer, prompted me to try out hiking. We were to climb then the highest mountain in Luzon and the 2nd in the entire Philippines. I wasn’t fully decided (and wasn’t prepared either) when I had my first taste of sauntering mountains. Little did I know how difficult the trail was and how corporeally exhausting the climb be. I almost maligned my workmates for not telling me what to expect. But when we reached the top, everything tiresome suddenly left my weary soul. It was surreal.
And I fell in love with climbing mountains.
To date, I have trekked my way to more than 20 mountains – high and low; easy and challenging; happy and even happier (with Mount Pulag having scaled it 13 times).
Reaching the top of any mountain is an inspiring physical, mental, and emotional achievement. And it is fascinating and motivating. It reminds me that I can attain significant things with my life if I dream big and put it into work. It is a rewarding e very rewarding experience. It has ignited the wanderlust in me… to see more of the world around me.
The Philippines is gifted with various mountains, each with astounding and unique views along the trail and from atop. Here are some of my favorite.
MOUNT DARAITAN (Tanay, Rizal)
Close to Manila and part of the Sierra Madre mountain range, Mount Daratian in Tanay, Rizal — will reward mountain enthusiaists with its limestone viewpoints and tropical forest. There are also nearby natural attractions like caves, springs, and natural pools.
MOUNT UGO (Benguet – Nueva Vizcaya)
Huddled in the Cordillera mountains is Mount Ugo, known for its picture-perfect pine forests and nearby highland villages. At the peak, the awe-inspiring views of the Cordiller mountain range will greet the climber.
PICO de LORO (Cavite – Batangas)
Famous for its monolith called the “Parrot’s Beak”, Pico de Loro (or Mount Palay-Palay), is a must see destination for people who want to experience a taste of climbing Philippine mountains. It’s proximity to the Greater Metro Manila area makes it a usual hiking destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
OSMEñA PEAK (Dalaguete, Cebu)
Standing at approximately 1,000 meters above sea level, the verdant Mantalingon range is home to the highest mountain in Cebu — Osmeña Peak. Once you reach the top, you’ll be mesmerized by its 360-degree view that includes the southwestern coastline of Cebu, and you even see the province of Negros Oriental.
MOUNT BATULAO (Nasugbu, Batangas)
This is a mountain that is effortlessly reachable from Metro Manila making it an ideal mountain to climb for beginners. The mountain’s serrated tooth-like peaks are a sight to behold. Trekking only requires about 3 to 4 hours along open, verdant, windy trails, with pleasant landscapes.
MOUNT PINATUBO (Tarlac – Zambales)
The summit of this volcano/mountain has been wiped out by an eruption in 1991 creating a uniquely beautiful landscape. Moreso, amazing valleys of ash and a lake has made this mountain a favourite from among climbing and biking enthusiast.
MOUNT PUNDAQUIT (San Antonio, Zambales)
Also called Mount Anawangin to some (because at the foot is where you can find Anawangin Cove), this mountain serves as an alternative route for people frolicking the said beach cove. The trail passes by shrublands and grasslands, and offers a 360-degrees spectacular view of the nearby mountains. There are also ornamental-looking plants adorning the paths, which would make you think that the trail is garden-like. MOUNT TIMBAK (Atok, Benguet)
Mount Timbak – also called Mount Singakalsa is the 9th highest mountain in the Philippines and the 3rd in Luzon. It is one of the prominent peaks of the Cordillera Mountains range. Most people who scale the mountain not for its height but for the mummies and vegetable and flower terraces along the way. (You may also want to check my write – up on Mt. Timbak https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/mount-timbak-benguet-philippines/ )
MOUNT GULUGOD BABOY (Mabini, Batangas)
One mountain that is perfect for beginners is Gulugod Baboy, with its gentle slopes and verdant peaks and valleys. It boasts off an unobstructed view of the sea and some islands. Gulugod Baboy, which literally means Pig’s Spine because of its shape, is also a good vantage point to view both the sunrise and the sunset. MOUNT TAWANG (La Trinidad, Benguet)
Mount Tawang (or Mount Jumbo/Mount Yangbaw) is actually a series of verdant (during rainy seasons) or chocolatey (during summer season) rolling hills with scattered rocky features and grassy landscape with a few undersized pine trees. It is approximately 2 kilometers from the main highway that runs through the town of La Trinidad in Benguet. Atop the mountainis a 360-degrees unhindered view of the La Trinidad Valley and some parts of Baguio City.
MOUNT PULAG (Benguet – Ifugao – Nueva Vizcaya)
The “Playground of the Gods” is a favourite mountain destination for both hardcore mountaineers and nature-lovers. It is regarded as one of the coldest places in the country, with temperatures reaching sub-zero levels. What draws the interest of most people to Pulag, besides the freezing temperature, is the imposing view of the sea of clouds at its summit. Combine it with the magnificent sunrise, it would render any hiker speechless. Here is a more complete write up about this mountain at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/03/10/mount-pulag/ )MOUNT APO (North Cotabato – Davao)
At 2,956 meters above sea level, Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines, hence given the title “King of Philippine Peaks”. The environ of Apo in itself is a feast to the eyes. From colossal boulder rocks to spectacular lake views and lush vegetation, Mount Apo is indeed a worthy trekking destination. (More of Mount Apo at https://roamulofied.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/mount-apo-king-of-philippine-peaks/ )
S0 go and climb a mountain. You’ll love it. You’ll live it. Don’t be a wasted soul, be a wanderlust. Take it easy ebriwan. Roamulofied out.
“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.” ~ Greg Child