5 Hiking Spots Near Metro Manila That Are Perfect For Day Trips Or Overnight Camping
With many of us looking to be more one with nature and maintain a healthy lifestyle, hiking may be something you'd like to try out (or get back to) once travel guidelines are relaxed. We round up a few must-visit places that are great options for day hikes or a short overnight camping trip.
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1/5 Tarak Ridge
Perhaps not the easiest of day hikes for beginners as this one takes most of the day to reach the campsite at Tarak Ridge, but it sure is worth the effort. Towering over 1000 metres above sea level (MASL), this frequented wonder of Mariveles, Bataan is known for its craggy landscape, sharp rocks, and steep trail. Local folks may have given its name for those characteristics ("tarak" means "hitting someone with a fine, sharp object" and could be associated with "tabak", which means hunting knife). It offers a scenic, 270-degree view of the province, including the historic islands of Corregidor and Manila Bay, as well as portions of Cavite.
When you start trekking in the morning, you'll definitely reach the campsite in the afternoon and it is a perfect time to wait for the majestic sunset. However, be prepared for the adventure where you'll cross dense grasslands, a river, and woodlands with steep trails. The summit however might not give you the breathtaking views you'd want as there is a mossy forest there but still it is worth exploring before the sun sets.
Tarak Ridge, Malaya, Freeport Area of Bataan, Mariveles, Bataan
Read More: Six Must-Climb Peaks In The Philippines
2/5 Mt Lumot
One of Bulacan's eco-tourism attractions is Mt Lumot. Not to be confused with the gigantic mountain of over 2,000 MASL in Misamis Oriental, this one located in Doña Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan offers a majestic view of the Sierra Madre mountain range. With an elevation level of almost 600 MASL, Mt Lumot is perfect for a day hike that could be made more exciting with activities like rock climbing, camping, and bird watching.
It is also reachable by bike, too! One perfect campsite you will find is the area where the historical Candle Monument stands. The said architecture is a symbol of commemoration of the many lives that were lost in a battle against guerillas in 1938. Another alternative campsite in Doña Remedios Trinidad is the romantic picnic getaway, Digo's Hills. It has huts and cottages that you could rent or you may camp out at the plateau where there are benches and bamboo decks by the trees for sightseeing and photo opportunities.
Read More: 7 Birds You Can Only See In The Philippines
3/5 Mt Kulis
If you have a knack for iconic locations of your favourite Pinoy teleseryes and movies, Mt Kulis in Tanay, Rizal could be a perfect all-day-long getaway for you. Nicknamed as "Bahay ni Cardo" (Cardo's House), the house in the summit of this over 600 MASL-mountain is now a tourist attraction by itself.
However, hope that doesn't overshadow the fact that Mt Kulis is a magnificent natural wonder where one may easily experience a sea of clouds. The summit serves as a perfect campsite for an overnight stay and overlooks the beautiful mountain ranges of Rizal and clear skies for stargazing at night. Another attraction at the campsite is the so-called "Noah's Ark", a fisherman's boat that sits atop limestone rocks slightly disjointed from the rest of the summit. Sitting there amid the sea of clouds in the early morning will give you a surreal experience of seemingly sailing in the sky.
Mt Kulis, Tanay, Rizal
4/5 Mt Sipit Ulang
Another easy day hike is Rodriguez, Rizal's Mt Sipit Ulang, which name translates to "crab's claw". With just 252 MASL, this limestone-trailed mountain takes about two to four hours to hike. For thrill-seekers, you may opt to tread on the Paniki Trail, named after the bats that dwell inside the cavernous structures under the rock formations. This rocky trail will require scrambling for the hiker. The easy trail, Banayad, is a shorter route that avoids the rocky areas and leads you straight to the summit. On your descent, if you are staying overnight, you may explore the multi-levelled Payaran Falls for a refreshing side trip.
Mt Sipit Ulang, Brgy. Mascap, Rodriguez, Rizal
5/5 Mt Maynoba-Cayabu Loop
One of the last hikes I did pre-pandemic is the Mt Maynoba-Cayabu Loop in Tanay, Rizal. Each mountain takes less than a day to hike but my friends and I opted to do the loop (jump-off at Mt Maynoba, camp overnight, reach the summit, traverse to Mt Cayabu and descend to the jump-off point). The two mountains offer impressive views of the Sierra Madre mountains, as well as the other must-climb peaks around the province like Mts Tukduang Banoi and Irid. The most striking view in the morning is that of the river valley of Sta Ines that seem like a landscape painting straight out of the canvas. Early risers will be able to view the morning sun shining over the valley, and if you're lucky, a sea of clouds over the mountain ranges. The descent trail leads you through a woodland and bamboo forest, culminating with a small river and a few waterfalls.
Mt Maynoba and Mt Cayabu, Tanay, Rizal