The 10 ‘Most Wanted’ mountains in the Philippines

Photo by Gene Gonzales

Photo by Gene Gonzales


Hiking is quickly becoming a popular weekend activity. There are mountains near the city that are great for a cheap weekend getaway, and if you want to make sure that your climb goes smoothly, you have to plan ahead of time. Not sure how to plan a hike? There’s an app for that. PH Mountains, which touts itself as “the Philippine mountain guide in your pocket,” is a free app created by runner and mountaineer Miko Santos.


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(Below is Pacifiqa’s brief interview with Miko Santos.)

Why did you create the app?
I wanted to track all my past hikes as a personal reference so I was listing them down on a spreadsheet. Then it came to me, why don’t I create an app for it! PH Mountains app was born. The app does not only allow the users to add their previous hikes, they can also see them plotted on a map, read mountain information, check the weather, and more.


Why do you think people seem more interested in hiking now? 
Social media has opened the eyes of many and showed them how majestic and enchanting our mountains are. It is also much easier to get hiking information and itineraries nowadays from the web.


What are your tips for newbie hikers?
Plan ahead and prepare. For safety purposes, make sure you are equipped with basic hiking know-how and knowledgable about the specific mountain you are about to climb, including its current condition and weather. Most importantly, leave no trace. Bring down all the trash that you brought up the mountain.


Why should people climb mountains?
Reaching mountain summits is the closest to the heavens you can ever get, while still having your feet on the ground. The mountains can humble you. You will end up learning more about yourself. In this way, climbing mountains has always been a spiritual experience for me. Plus, hiking is a refreshing way to exercise and a healthy way to bond with your friends!


Which mountain is at the top of your personal “Wanna Climb” list?
The highest in the country, Mt. Apo. I’m planning to climb the giant this year.


What follows is a list of the 10 “Most Wanted Mountains” in the country, according to PH Mountains users:


10| Mt. Daraitan, Tanay, Rizal & General Nakar, Quezon (Beginner-friendly)

Photo by Gene Gonzales

Close to Manila and part of the Sierra Madre mountain range, Mount Daratian will reward its visitors with its limestone viewpoints and tropical forest. Other outdoor attractions are caves, springs, and natural pools.


9| Mt. Maculot, Cuenca, Batangas (Beginner-friendly)

Photo by Paul Alburo

Popular for its rock formations called “Rockies,” Mount Maculot is a popular spot for day-hikers because of its proximity to Metro Manila. During the hike, the climber will bask in the scenic views of Taal Lake and the volcano island.


8| Tarak Ridge, Mariveles, Bataan (Intermediate)

Photo by Jeser Javier

Although technically part of Mount Mariveles, Tarak Ridge made a name for itself in Philippine mountaineering. It boasts of rocky and steep trails, as well as a panoramic view of Bataan, including Corregidor island.


7| Mt. Apo, Davao & North Cotabato (Hardcore)

Photo by Gene Gonzales

At 2,956 meters above sea level, Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines. Consequently, it attracts a lot of hikers who are ready to brave the long climb. It is home to the endangered Philippine eagle.


6| Mt. Ugo, Nueva Vizcaya & Benguet (Intermediate)

Photo by Gene Gonzales

Nestled in the Cordillera mountains is Mount Ugo, known for its pine forests and nearby highland villages. At the summit, the breathtaking views of the Benguet mountains will greet the climber.


5| Mt. Pico de Loro, Cavite & Batangas (Beginner-friendly)

Photo by Herzon Llanes

Popular for its “Parrot’s Beak” and monolith, Pico de Loro or Mount Palay-Palay, is another recommended destination for people who want to get a first taste of climbing Philippine mountains, especially for hikers near Metro Manila.


4| Mt. Halcon, Baco, Oriental Mindoro (Hardcore)

Photo by Markie Aungon

Currently closed for hiking, Mount Halcon is part of the Knife Edge Trilogy, along with Mount Guiting-Guiting in Romblon and Mount Mantalingajan in Palawan. It is the highest mountain in Mindoro island and home to various endemic flora and fauna.


3| Mt. Guiting-Guiting, Sibuyan Island, Romblon (Hardcore)

Photo by Markie Aungon

Also known as “G2,” Mount Guiting-Guiting got its name from the local language because of its jagged scissor-like peaks. The challenge of scaling its summit attracts a lot of experienced mountaineers. It is notable for its rocky ridges, making some parts of the climb require rock scrambling.


2| Mt. Pulag – Akiki trail, Kabayan, Benguet, (Hardcore)

Photo by Jayson Martillan

Flocked by climbers during the early months of the year, Mount Pulag is said to be coldest place in the country at those times, with temperatures reaching sub-zero levels. The Akiki trail is sometimes called the “killer trail” because of its steep ascents through pine and mossy forests.


1| Mt. Pulag – Ambangeg trail, Bokod, Benguet (Beginner-friendly)

Photo by Jason Martillan

The Ambangeg trail is recommended for first-timers in Mount Pulag, where the entire climb can be completed in two days, ideal for a weekend getaway. What attracts most people to Pulag, apart from its cold temperature, is the majestic view of the sea of clouds at its summit. Couple it with the glorious sunrise, it would render any hiker speechless. The mountain is Luzon’s highest peak and is known as “the playground of the gods” to the natives.



When climbing any of the mountains above, please seek assistance from experienced hikers and always follow the “Leave No Trace” principle: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”

This list was ranked based on the users of PH Mountains. For more information, photos, maps, and how-to’s download the app here.



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