8 Spectacular Volcanoes near Manila that You Can Climb

The Philippines is a volcanic country, home to some of the world’s most active and awe-inspiring volcanoes. 

For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, there’s no better way to experience the country’s natural beauty than by exploring its volcanic landscapes. 

In this post, we’ll be exploring some of the best volcanoes located near Manila, each offering unique experiences and breathtaking views. 

From the majestic Mount Pinatubo with its crater lake and 4×4 tours, to the challenging hike to the summit of Mount Natib and the camping options at Mount Mariveles, get ready for an adventure-filled journey through some of the Philippines’ best volcanic wonders.

1. Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano, located in Talisay, Batangas, around 50 kilometers south of Manila, is the most famous volcano in the vicinity due to its recent eruption in January 2020. 

The eruption caused ashfall and affected nearby areas, leading to evacuations and temporary airport closures. Taal Volcano is a popular tourist destination known for its scenic views and crater lake.

To visit Taal Volcano, you can take a day trip from Manila or nearby towns such as Tagaytay or Talisay. Here are the steps to visit Taal Volcano:

Take a bus or drive from Manila to Tagaytay or Talisay. The trip takes around 1.5-2 hours depending on traffic conditions.

From Tagaytay or Talisay, hire a boat or take a tour to Taal Volcano Island. The boat ride takes around 30-45 minutes.

Once you reach Taal Volcano Island, you can hike to the crater or ride a horse. The hike takes around 1-2 hours depending on the trail and your fitness level.

Enjoy the scenic views of the crater lake and surrounding landscape. You can also explore the nearby towns and attractions such as the Taal Heritage Village and the People’s Park in the Sky.

2. Mount Banahaw

Visiting Mount Banahaw, located around 95 kilometers southeast of Manila, offers a unique spiritual and cultural experience. 

The mountain is considered a holy site by some Philipinos and features several sacred springs, caves, and rock formations. 

Visitors can hike, camp, and explore the mountain’s natural beauty and cultural significance.

To visit Mount Banahaw, from Manila, you can take a bus or drive to Lucban or Dolores in Quezon. The trip takes around 3-4 hours depending on traffic conditions.

Once you reach Lucban or Dolores, hire a local guide or join a tour to explore Mount Banahaw. 

It is recommended to hire a guide to ensure safety and respect the mountain’s cultural and spiritual significance.

The hike to Mount Banahaw’s summit takes around 6-8 hours depending on the trail and your fitness level. 

Along the way, you can visit several sacred sites such as the “puestos” or holy springs, caves, and rock formations.

Visitors can also camp overnight at designated camping areas or stay at lodges or homestays in nearby villages.

3. Mount Makiling

Located about 70 kilometers south of Manila, Mount Makiling is a popular hiking destination in the Philippines. It’s known for its challenging trails and scenic views, as well as its diverse flora and fauna. 

Along the way, hikers can enjoy refreshing waterfalls and hot springs. It’s a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure-seekers looking for a quick escape from the city.

From Manila, you can take a bus from Cubao or Buendia to Los Baños or Santo Tomas. The bus ride takes around 2-3 hours, depending on the traffic. Alternatively, you can take a private car or rent a van for a more convenient and flexible option.

The two main jump-off points for Mount Makiling are the UP College of Forestry in Los Baños and the Santo Tomas trailhead in Batangas. 

The Los Baños trail is the more popular route and offers two options: the Makiling Trail and the UPLB Trail. Both trails start at the UP College of Forestry and can take 4-6 hours to complete. 

The Santo Tomas trail, on the other hand, is less crowded and offers a more challenging route, taking around 7-9 hours to complete.

4. Mount Pico de Loro

Mount Pico de Loro is a popular hiking destination located in Ternate, Cavite, around 60 kilometers south of Manila. 

It’s known for its unique rock formations, stunning views of the coast, and the famous Parrot’s Beak, a natural limestone peak that resembles a bird’s beak. 

Hikers can choose from two main trails: the traditional trail and the new trail, both of which offer a challenging and rewarding climb. 

With its accessible location and scenic beauty, Mount Pico de Loro is a must-visit for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts in the Philippines.

5. Mount Arayat

Mount Arayat is a majestic mountain located in Pampanga, around 70 kilometers north of Manila. It is part of Mount Arayat National Park, and at 1,033 meters, it towers over flat agricultural land.

The volcano is a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a challenging adventure. 

The mountain offers a stunning view of its surroundings, including the lush forest, the rolling hills, and the neighboring towns. 

The trails to the summit are well-maintained, with various difficulty levels to suit different skill levels.

While Mount Arayat is a potentially active volcano, it hasn’t erupted in recent history. 

Steam and gas have been detected by scientists from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) who continue to monitor the mountain’s seismic activities and alert the public of any potential hazards.

6. Mount Pinatubo

Mount Pinatubo is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, located in Zambales, around 100 kilometers northwest of Manila. 

The mountain is well-known for its devastating eruption in 1991, which caused widespread destruction and changed the landscape of the area. 

Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction, offering spectacular views and exciting activities.

Trekking to the summit of Mount Pinatubo is one of the most popular activities for visitors. The trek takes around two hours and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the towering cliffs, the scenic river valleys, and the rugged terrain. 

4×4 tours are also available, allowing visitors to experience the adventure of traversing the rugged terrain.

The highlight of Mount Pinatubo is its spectacular crater lake, which was formed after the 1991 eruption. 

The lake has a stunning turquoise color and is surrounded by towering cliffs, making it a popular spot for photos and relaxation. 

Swimming and boating are prohibited in the lake due to its high sulfur content, but visitors can still appreciate its beauty from a distance.

Overall, Mount Pinatubo is a must-visit for anyone looking for an exciting outdoor adventure and stunning natural beauty. 

It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Manila and experience the beauty of the Philippines’ landscapes.

7. Mount Natib

Mount Natib is a prominent mountain located in the Bataan National Park, around 150 kilometers north of Manila. 

The mountain is a popular destination for hikers, mountaineers, and nature lovers, offering stunning views and a unique outdoor adventure.

The trail to the summit of Mount Natib is challenging, with steep slopes and rugged terrain. It takes around 6-8 hours to reach the summit, depending on the route and the hiker’s skill level. 

Along the way, hikers can enjoy scenic views of the surrounding forests, rivers, and falls. 

The summit offers a panoramic view of the park and the nearby towns, making it a popular spot for photos and relaxation.

Aside from hiking, Mount Natib and the Bataan National Park offer other outdoor activities such as birdwatching, camping, and exploring the park’s diverse flora and fauna. 

The park is home to various endangered species such as the Philippine eagle, the Philippine deer, and the Philippine warty pig, making it an excellent place for nature enthusiasts and conservationists.

8. Mount Mariveles

Mount Mariveles is a volcano located in the province of Bataan, around 140 kilometers north of Manila. The mountain is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities and attractions.

Mount Mariveles has several peaks, including Tarak Ridge, Pantingan Peak, and Mariveles Ridge, each offering unique hiking experiences and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. 

The trails are well-maintained, but the terrain can be challenging, making it an excellent choice for experienced hikers.

Camping is a popular activity on Mount Mariveles, with several campsites available along the trails. The campsites offer stunning views of the mountains and the nearby sea, making it a perfect spot for stargazing and relaxation.

Aside from hiking and camping, Mount Mariveles is popular with mountain bikers and has plenty of rivers and waterfalls to cool off on hot days.