5 best nature walks for day trips out of Manila

Pine trees, stunning waterfalls and panoramic views of nature ... we bet you didn't think a day trip out of Manila looked like this.

Mt Pinatubo
  • Jetstar Asia
  • January 2019

Manila opens in new window is a bustling city that never seems to sleep. But on days when you feel like a change of scenery and escaping the city’s congested roads and infamous traffic jams (Manila has the third worst traffic in Southeast Asia), Manila-based mountaineer and intrepid traveller, Alec Palomo opens in new window recommends these five nature hikes.

Camp John Hay’s Yellow Trail
Camp John Hay's Yellow Trail is a great biking trail too.

1. Camp John Hay’s Yellow Trail

Experience total calmness hiking through this forest of pine trees. This under-the-radar trail is perfect for beginners and very easy to navigate — a return journey takes only a couple of hours. To get there, take the Baguio-bound bus from Pasay or Cubao. Post-hike, the newly opened Technohub at Camp John Hay offers a variety of restaurants, and Pizza Volante is a must-try.

Kaparkan Falls
The long journey is all worth it when you finally reach Kaparkan Falls. Image courtesy of @pinoygeektraveler.

2. Kaparkan Falls

This hike only takes an hour and isn’t too strenuous, but the trade-off is that it takes about seven hours to get to the falls from Manila. (Take the Partas bus from Cubao to Bangued.) Take note that only 70 visitors are allowed per day. The best time to go is from June to September, as there is no water during the dry season. Alec suggests an overnight stay in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, which is an hour’s drive away.

Mount Batulao
Take in the 360-degree view of Batangas and its neighbouring cities from the top of Mount Batulao.

3. Mount Batulao

This is a beginner-friendly hike offering views of Mount Batulao’s rolling hills, although those taking the New Trail (easier than the Old Trail) should still be prepared to rappel 200 metres. Take the bus from Buendia bound for Nasugbu, Batangas, and alight at the Evercrest Golf Course and Resort, then walk or take a tricycle to the jump-off point. Alec recommends starting before 6am on weekends to avoid the crowds and the scorching midday sun (most of the trail is exposed).

4. Mount Pinatubo (Delta V Trail)

Everyone knows that this volcano is deadly, but you haven’t experienced it fully if you haven’t seen it by foot,” says Alec. “A 4x4 jeep ride does not count.” He recommends joining an organised tour and camping there for a couple of days to take in the picturesque views, especially at the ridge, and enjoying the trails and river crossings.

Be sure to visit the laidback beachside town of Malabrigo after hiking Mount Masalakot and Mount Nalayag Monolith.

5. Mount Masalakot and Mount Nalayag Monolith

This is a short intermediate-level hike that takes only half a day, but the wait for your turn at the summit may take longer than the hike itself,” says Alec. He affirms the views are worth the wait. Leave Buendia as early as you can and get a bus for Lipa, then take a van ride to the jump-off in Poblacion, Lobo. After hiking, visit the nearby town of Malabrigo for its wonderful beaches and century-old lighthouse.