Avid climbers scale mountains for a multitude of reasons. For some, it is an opportunity to marvel at views you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to witness in your regular waking life. For a few others, it is part of the fitness conquest to stay in shape and get active. Whatever the reason may be, climbing is far from being a lost art. In fact, it has seen resurgence in popularity over the past few years with more rookie hikers embarking on the adventures of their lifetime.
Rookie climbers is one topic, but when you have to tag your kids along, it is a whole new topic altogether. Kid-friendly hikes are few and far between. But does this mean you simply settle for hiking trails on the nearby park? No – the Philippines is spoiled when it comes to incredible mountains and peaks that are waiting for you to conquer! If you’d like to bring your kids along for an adventurous weekend getaway, you have quite a few options when it comes to mountains that you can conquer together!
1. Mt. Pulag
Mt. Pulag has recently been thrust into the spotlight for the wrong reasons – damaged trails and trash left behind by previous climbers. But while sustainability has been an issue in Mt. Pulag and a few other major peaks in the Philippines, this should not stop you from wanting to conquer this incredible mountain with your kids. In fact, there is a reason why it is (and can get) overcrowded. As the third highest peak in the country, it offers unmatched views!
Mt. Pulag is a fairly easy climb, which makes it an ideal choice for your kids (and rookie climbers, too). It can pose enough challenge for them but without fearing for their safety or discouraging them to continue on. To reach the summit of this peak, you need to traverse the Ambangeg Trail. It is characterized by gradually-sloped trails without creating too much exposure. There is also a great camping spot that your kids will love! This peak in the Philippines has been noted as a kid-friendly climb.
2. Mt. Pinatubo
A word of warning – Mt. Pinatubo is deemed by geologic experts as a dangerous climb because it is an active volcano. But given that fact, if you’re still willing to pursue the climbing adventure with your kids, it is worth the effort and risk. In fact, it is one of the most popular family-friendly hikes in the Philippines. Kids and parents alike, as well as climbers of all ages, make it their quest to scale the infamous Mt. Pinatubo.
From your jump-off point, it takes a good 20 minutes’ hike to reach the crater of the volcano. It is suited for beginners and even kids because it does not have major elevation changes throughout the hike.
Once you reach the summit and marvel at the views from the crater, you’d instantly see why many would brave the danger to scale up this mountain. It is living proof that there is beauty in adversity. Mt. Pinatubo is the culprit behind one of the largest eruptions in the 20th century in the Philippines. And yet, hiking up this summit, you will see no remnants of that – only the natural splendor of the crater lake with its turquoise blue water. The otherworldly view of the lake and the lahar-filled landscape transports you to a whole new dimension.
3. Osmeña Peak
Osmeña Peak is a popular name among avid climbers in the Philippines. It is probably one of the most featured peaks in the country on Instagram, with droves of young and often rookie hikers scaling its height. That should be enough to clue you in that it is an ideal choice for a kid-friendly hike. It is no secret that the Osmeña Peak is the easiest climb in Cebu. Any adventurous-minded kid would be more than thrilled to conquer this peak!
It is comparable to Mt. Pulag in terms of difficulty level, if not easier. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the top of the peak from the jump-off point. But this one will be slightly challenging in the sense that the ascend is going to be more consistent, whereas Mt. Pulag’s is more gradual. But your kids will be rewarded with cool temperature when they reach the top – and breathtaking views to boot. There are also opportunities to camp at the peak, which is an experience that most kids would be more than excited about. It is your own taste of Little Baguio in Cebu.
Mt. Puting Bato
4. Mt. Puting Bato
Going further down South, Mt. Puting Bato is another kid-friendly mountain to take your kids hiking to. This one is located in the island of Samal in Davao. This mountain is located more or less 20 minutes from Davao City. It is a hidden gem but many climbing enthusiasts have buzzed about Mt. Puting Bato, so it is only a matter of time until this mountaintop gem is uncovered.
This mountain marks the highest point in the island of Samal. From the jump-off point, the hike to the summit of the mountain takes approximately 30 minutes. But the habal-habal ride going to the jump-off point could prove to be more adventurous than the actual climb. If you are looking for a nice side trip when in Davao, it is definitely a great mountain to take your kids to!
5. Mt. Batulao
Mt. Batulao is another incredible mountain to add to your list of peaks to conquer with your kids. The appeal of this particular climbing destination lies in the fact that it is easily accessible from Metro Manila. Located in Nasugbu, Batangas, Mt. Batulao has one of the most picturesque views that you can enjoy from the top.
It is also characterized by its gentle, rolling hills. Your kids will love to run around in the lush greenery if you decide to camp out for the night. Even if you are into day hikes only, it is hard to dismiss the pristine nature of the mountain. Mt. Batulao also offers well-established trails, making it perfect for kids as it’ll be easier to follow the trail. There are two main trails available to choose from and each of them offers equally breathtaking views.
Mt. Pico de Loro
6. Mt. Palay-Palay (Pico de Loro Peak)
If you’re an avid climber, Pico de Loro is a familiar name in the Philippines. This, too, is located in Nasugbu, Batangas and is shared with the territory of Cavite. Officially known as Mt. Palay-Palay, it is known to many as the Pico de Loro Peak. The reason behind the name is because of the monolith that stands over you once you reach the summit. The monolith is closed from climbers, though, in part of the DENR’s effort at conservation and preservation at the peak. The monolith resembles a parrot’s beak; thus, the name.
This incredible mountain is not just rookie-friendly, but also kid-friendly. If you are planning a climbing escapade with the family, it is a great destination for a weekend hike. It might be suitable for older kids, though, as there are some steep portions in this hike. But the ascent towards the summit is gradual, so it won’t faze even first-time hikers (and kids!). Even though access to the monolith is no longer permitted, just the opportunity to marvel at the sight of this spectacular monolith is worthy enough of the climb.
Mt. Napulak (Imge by the Philippine Tourism)
7. Mt. Napulak
Panay Island is known for its dainty, white sand beaches. But did you know that it is home to some of the best mountain ranges for the whole family to conquer? If you are seeking a family-friendly climbing destination, add this one to your list. The southern mountain range of Panay is known as one of the oldest hiking trails in the province. This, alone, should be enough to pique your curiosity, especially that of your kids.
But even if they are not into historical facts or trivia, they will be thrilled to conquer this mountain range when they see the view that awaits them at the top. Mt. Napulak got its name from a rock that sits at the summit of this mountain, which resembles that of a woman’s nipple. The trek to get to the mountain’s summit can take up to 4 hours. It is, therefore, recommended that you camp out for the night once you reach the top. The start of your hike follows a wooden trail that gradually opens up into a garden-like flora. Some of the highlights during your climb include a view of the Butuan Falls and the largest individual flower in the world – Rafflesia. Now, that’s something your kid will want to see!
Many experienced climbers opt to conquer the famous rock (to which this mountain is named after) at the summit – but even if you decide not to, as it might be too difficult for kids, the view at the summit should be worthwhile.
Mt. Makiling (Image by touristspotsfinder.com)
8. Mt. Makiling
There is probably no other peak on this list as storied as Mt. Makiling. If you’re kids have read the folk legends on Mt. Makiling, they’ll get the unique opportunity to unravel the stories for themselves. If not, the beautiful forest and the scenery at the top of the summit should be enough of a reward for them. The trail to get to the top of Mt. Makiling is accessible via UP Los Baños.
This peak offers numerous well-established trails. This is probably due to the popularity of this peak as a climbing destination for climbers of all skill levels. With that said, this classic hike is safe for kids to embark on. Just make sure to keep a close eye on your kids as this peak is known for its limatik or blood leeches. Always follow the signs to the trail as there have been many hikers who’d been side-tracked and found themselves in Batangas or Calamba – you wouldn’t want that to happen to you! What makes Mt. Makiling so popular among climbers is the fact that the views during your ascent are as spectacular as the one that is waiting on the summit.
Other Kid-Friendly Peaks
Looking for more incredible mountains to take your kids hiking to? Fortunately, the Philippines is gifted when it comes to mountain ranges and peaks that would be fantastic for single or multiple day hikes. For kid-friendly mountains, or the ones suited for beginners, your options include Mt. Maculot in Batangas, Manabu Peak in Batangas, Mt. Naupa in Cebu, Musuan Peak in Bukidnon, and Mt. Balagbag in Rizal.
As you can see from the list of incredible mountains above, there is no shortage of family-friendly peaks to conquer in the Philippines. All it takes is an adventurous spirit and proper planning to ensure that your kids will enjoy the climb up these mountains.
But an adventurous spirit just isn’t enough in most cases. Make sure to plan your trek ahead of time. Do not forget to bring the basic essentials for your trip – such as first aid kit, food, and water – as traveling with kids is always unpredictable. It is best to come prepared so everyone enjoys the climb and have an adventure that your kids won’t soon forget!
Featured Image by Michelle Cho