With its enormous forest reserves, vast lowlands and foothills, and numerous volcanoes, the Philippines is an ideal location for mountain hiking and nature trekking. The Philippines’ diverse topography, with clear streams, waterfalls, and foliage, make it a fascinating place for unique and adventurous travel.
The Philippines’ geology has resulted in a country dotted with volcanoes. In the Philippines, there are officially 25 active and 355 inactive volcanoes. So, if that’s something that you’re interested in, the Philippines has a lot to offer.
These volcanoes and mountains are among the most beautiful in the Philippines and are well worth the visit. Whether you want to walk along the crater or summit the peak, these are the Philippines’ top 15 tallest volcanoes to see.
Table of Contents
Mt. Apo is the country’s highest volcanic mountain and one of the world’s tallest Southeast Asian regions. It’s a giant, potentially active solfataric stratovolcano.
There have been no reported eruptions from this behemoth, which stands at 2,954 meters (9,692 feet) above sea level and is the tallest peak in the Philippine Archipelago.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) considers the mountain the epicenter of endemism in Mindanao. In terms of flora and fauna per unit area, it possesses extraordinary levels of land-based biological diversity.
From lowland tropical rainforest to mid-mountain and high mountain forests, it contains three unique forest forms. There are several hiking trails to choose from, with some tour operators even offering popular overnight camping trips.
Over 272 bird species nest on the mountain, with 111 of them being indigenous to the area. This includes the critically endangered Philippine eagle, the country’s national bird and one of the world’s largest eagles.
There are four major lakes around Mt. Apo, with Lake Agco and Lake Venado being the most popular. Lake Agco is a well-known mountaineering camping site and a stopover on the way to the peak. The top grassland has Lake Macadac and Lake Jordan, and 19 significant rivers and 21 streams drain Mt. Apo’s eight essential basins.
The climate at Mount Apo’s top is subpolar oceanic, with average temperatures below 10 degrees celsius. According to the revised corona classification, it has a Type IV climate, which means an equal rainfall distribution year-round.
Bansalan lies at the foothills of Mt. Apo, and Mt. Tampurong (Kapatagan), along with Mt. Talomo, form the mountaineers’ trio in Davao for trekkers.
President Manuel L. Quezon designated Mount Apo a National Park with Proclamation No. 59 on May 9, 1936, and Republic Act No. 9237 created Mount Apo as a nature reserve under the classification of Natural Park with an expanse of 54,974.87 hectares (135,845.9 acres.)
If you haven’t been yet, Mt. Apo deserves a top spot on your adventuring list.
The area around Mt. Kitanglad is well-known for its bird-watching opportunities due to the myriad of endemic species in the region. Despite the numerous satellites and bunks on the summit, the vista is breathtaking.
Mount Kitanglad is a dormant volcano in the Kitanglad Mountain Range of Mindanao’s Bukidnon province. It is the Philippines’ fourth highest peak, standing at a height of 9,511 feet. It sits between Malaybalay and Lantapan, Impasugong, Sumilao, and Libona.
Mount Kitanglad National Park has an extensive mountain range with a dozen summits, the most notable are Mount Imbayao, Mount Kaatoan, Mt Nangkabulos, Mt Dulangdulang, and Mt Kitanglad.
The name “kitanglad” comes from a tale that once there was a tremendous flood that flooded Bukidnon’s native lands, leaving just the tip of a mountain the size of a “tanglad” (lemongrass) visible (“kita” in Visayan). Several ancient cultural groupings, such as the Bukidnons, Higaonons, and Talaandigs, regard it as their ancestral domain.
Mount Kitanglad is also home to around 600 rare and endemic species, including the Philippine tarsier and the second-largest flower, Rafflesia schadenbergiana, and the critically endangered Philippine eagle uses it as a breeding site.
The pygmy fruit bat, Alionycteris paucidentata, and two native mice, Crunomys scincoides and Limonmys dryophilus, are the other endemic species found here.
When it comes to activities, Mt Kalatungan – the third-highest volcanic summit – outshines many. Not only is the mountain beautiful, but it has many exciting locations to visit, such as:
- Kimatahay Falls
- Sagumata Falls
- Mindamora Falls
- Talakag Lake
- Napalit Bonseta’s Fun Fun Rides
It’s the perfect hike for families, couples, groups, or self-discovery journeys and has a trail that takes you to its peak.
Mount Kalatungan, sometimes known as Catatungan, is a volcanic peak in the Philippines’ southern province of Bukidnon. It is a stratovolcano with no documented historical eruptions and is classed as a potentially active volcano by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
It stands at a height of 9,449 ft. and is one of the numerous high-elevation peaks in the Kalatungan Mountain Range in Bukidnon, on Mindanao – the Philippines’ second biggest island.
The mountain range is home to indigenous Manobo and Talaandig people, who regard it as part of their ancient territories. They see the forest as sacred and have protected it for ages.
The Kalatungan range is also a significant biodiversity hotspot, with 129 animal species and 342 plant species. The Philippine eagle, Philippine hawk-eagle, flying fox, Philippine warty pig, and Philippine deer are some endangered or vulnerable species found in this mountain range.
The Mindanao pygmy fruit bat is also found here, as well as endemic tree species such as the katmon, white lauan, red lauan, bagtikan, bikal-boboi, and threatened almaciga.
Mount Ragang, also known as Mount Piapayungan and Blue Mountain by locals, is an active stratovolcano on the Philippine Island of Mindanao. This is the Philippines’ fourth highest volcano and the highest point in Lanao del Sur at 9,236 feet.
There are no records that indicate how many times Mount Ragang has erupted – the records from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and documentation from other organizations do not match.
From afar, it has a blue-like color and a lovely view of clouds. As a result, many adventurers and trekkers aspire to summit the fabled Mount Ragang.
Mount Ragang, however, is solely for your eyes and cameras. Climbing the mountain is dangerous. The authorities and people have warned against climbing the peak because it sits in the Autonomous Region of Mindanao.
The authorities urged climbers not to go inside the mountain because insurgents allegedly camp in the region. Many people wanted to explore the mountain, but the war between these parties has made tourism in Mount Ragang impossible.
It is physically possible to summit the volcano, but like many, you’ll just have to wait for peace to come to Mindanao.
Looking for a picture-perfect volcanic cone? Mayon Volcano, an active stratovolcano, features symmetrical steep slopes that form that classic volcano shape.
It stands at a height of 8,081 feet on the convergence of the Eurasian and Philippine plates. Mayon Volcano’s lava is pyroclastic in nature and this volcano is the Philippines’ most active, having erupted more than 50 times in the last 400 years – the most recent eruption occurring in 2018.
Here, you can rent quad bikes and ride down to the volcano’s base. Mt. Mayon is not only one of the world’s most distinctive volcanos, but it also has a variety of attractions nearby, including:
- Natural Park of Mayon Volcano
- Ruins of Cagsawa
- Hill Nature Park
- Vera Falls
- Albany Park and Wildlife,
- Our Lady of the Gate, Parish Daraga Church
It’s a volcano worth visiting when it is safe to do so, depending on the current volcanic activity.
Are you a bird enthusiast? Then this is the mountain for you! Records (started in the 190s) show several vulnerable and restricted-range species on or near Mt Balatukan.
There have also been multiple reports of Philippine eagles in the area in recent years, and scientists believe this area is home to large numbers of this severely endangered bird.
In addition to the local fauna, there are numerous waterfalls, a national park, a viewing deck, and even a high cold spring to enjoy up there.
Mt. Balatukan sits in northern Mindanao’s eastern Misamis Oriental Province. It rises gradually to a long ridge with many summits, the highest of which is 8,038 feet above sea level. The mountains still have a lot of forest cover, with an estimated 6,500 hectares of old-growth forest.
It is primarily montane woodland, with some mossy forest scattered around and some remnant woodland and cogon grassland regions.
Mt. Kanlaon – sometimes spelled Kanla-on or Canlaon – is found on the way from Bacolod City to Sipalay, in the suburbs of Bacolod.
Mt. Kanlaon is a living volcano that last erupted in 2006, and at 7,989 feet above sea level, it’s the tallest peak in the Negros and Visayas.
It’s a popular hiking spot for many mountaineers, and there are some well-marked trails to traverse. Hiking paths in Guintubdan mainly begin near the village’s center. Locals have been involved in international cooperation, collaborating with numerous European organizations to launch the Philippines’ first interior tourist destination, the revolutionary Unified Hiking Marker System.
- Guintubdan to Buslugan Falls Red Trail
- Guintubdan to Oro Falls Yellow Trail
- Guintubdan to Salas Park new Pavilion Blue Trail
- Guintubdan to Mt. Kanla-On Summit Red Trail
- Additional new routes, as well as the Adventure Trail
Many countries use the same system, as it increases the mountain’s tourist appeal while also being environmentally friendly.
This volcano is 7,671 feet above sea level and sits between the active Ragang and Makaturing volcanoes, Latukan is between a sequence of young E-W trending stratovolcanoes.
Information on whether or not this volcano is active is inconsistent. The Encyclopedia of Active Volcanoes of the Globe (Neumann van Padang, 1953) lists the Latukan watershed as an active volcano; however, its most current eruptions are unknown. On the other hand, Latukan is listed as an inactive volcano by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), with no explanation for why it is considered inactive. Latukan, like many of the volcanoes in the southern Philippines, has not been widely investigated. Hence, much of the information is still pending confirmation or acquisition.
Latukan lies in central Mindanao, west of the Cordillera, in an area dominated by basaltic volcanoes.
Mount Binuluan, which stands at 7,641 feet, is generally shrouded in cloud or mist, making photography difficult.
In rare instances when the prominent peak does not have a mist cover, the settlement of Bangtitan in Upper Uma, Lubuagan, is a fantastic vantage point for views and pictures of the mountain. Because access to the site is complicated, it is uncertain if anyone has ever climbed Binuluan – the landscape is rough and underdeveloped.
Binuluan volcano is located in the Kalinga Province of Luzon Island, Philippines, and is part of the Ambalatungan volcanic complex.
In a wide, half-ring encircling the southern and western sides of Binuluan, there are abundant hot springs, including fresh water and sulfurous water. You can find hot sulfurous water springs in the Bu-ot fumarole field, Bum-bag fumarole field, and Sugu-oc fumarole field.
Six hot sulfurous water springs and one fumarole can be found upstream from Bu-ot on the Pasil River.
Mount Matutum rises to 2293 meters (7522 feet) above sea level in the Philippines’ southernmost province of Mindanao. Despite being only 70 kilometers southwest of the country’s highest peak, Mount Apo, this inactive volcano dominates the terrain from all sides.
Its steep rise is so beautiful that it entices hikers and mountaineers to climb its lush green slopes. Mount Matutum comes from the Blaa’n word “Amyak Maleh,” which means “climb and plant.” While visiting the mountain, all trekkers are obliged to plant a tree.
President Fidel Ramos issued a Presidential Proclamation on March 25, 1995, to safeguard the mountain and its adjacent surroundings. The mountain and the surrounding 14,000 hectares of forest are protected by the indigenous Blaa’n people who live in this section of South Cotabato.
Mt. Matutum is the source of numerous significant drainages, such as the Klinan, Silway, and Buayan rivers, which all flow into the stunningly gorgeous Sarangani Bay through General Santos City. The adjacent villages benefit from the abundance of nutrients provided by these rivers. Recognizing land’s fertility, the Dole Company came to adjacent Polomolok on December 7, 1963, and started what is now likely the world’s largest pineapple plantation.
In March 1914, Army Officer Wu Ting Fang made the first verified ascent of Mount Matutum. However, because the local Blaa’n group’s logbook is almost non-existent, it was likely scaled before then.
From the summit of Mount Santo Tomas, you’ll likely have a magnificent view of Baguio City – the nighttime scene is simply spectacular.
Mount Santo Tomas is a summit in the Cordillera Mountains on the Philippine Island of Luzon. It’s impossible to say how high it is, as it is with most of the Philippines’ peaks. The most commonly used figure is 2,256 meters above sea level.
The Mount Santo Tomas excursion can leave you with conflicting feelings. Two massive radio transmission stations and extensive agricultural lands don’t make for the prettiest views, but vast woods filled with pine trees and unusual plants just about make up for it.
The best part about this mountain is that – despite its elevation of almost 2,000 meters – you can hike up to its highest summit from Baguio’s city center.
You’ll miss the peak’s last 10 meters due to a guarded radio transmission tower; however, the path leading here is full of beautiful surprises and is well worth the effort.
It’s possible to climb Mount Santo Tomas at any time of year, although between November and March is best because there is less risk of rain.
Mount Banahaw is a 7,119-foot-high ancient volcano revered as a holy mountain and a repository of mysteries, legends, and cults. Filipinos travel to Banahaw’s slopes to reclaim their vigor and spiritual well-being. Pilgrims come from all across the country to believe in their abilities, culminating in massive crowds and en masse ceremonies throughout Holy Week (Easter).
Ever since a local man claimed to have heard “holy voices” that guided him to multiple natural springs, legends, and tales of sights and marvels have sprung up in Banahaw. Bathing in the water from the springs is claimed to provide good luck and, in some circumstances, the capacity to see into the future.
Many caves that go deep into the rocks also have a spiritual influence of their own. The Rizalista religion has long flourished at Banahaw’s foot. Rizalistas embrace folk-Catholic beliefs about Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, whom they revere as God.
The Rizalista temples, found in the mountain’s villages, are vivid shrines to their faith and a visible reminder of the mountain’s spiritual force.
Since Mount Banahaw is the region’s tallest peak, it’s also a popular climbing destination. Environmentalists urge those who trek and climb the mountain to appreciate the natural environment by not littering.
Mount Isarog, a dormant, 6,600-foot volcano in southeastern Luzon Island, rises over one of the Philippines’ most important biodiversity sites. The 783-acre Anayan-Rumangrap Watershed irrigates 167,000 rice fields and feeds water to 15 municipalities (including Naga City, which has about 200,000).
There are around 1300 plant species there, including Rafflesia, the world’s largest bloom. Many endemic birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptile species are also in the area. Mount Isarog is home to the world’s only known populations of many shrew-mouse and shrew-rat species.
However, the abundance of this habitat is in peril. People entered the protected woodland illegally years ago, cutting trees for charcoal and planting crops. For years, the Metro Naga Water District (MNWD) tried to persuade them to leave. The last of them left in 2015, going just outside the park’s perimeter.
Some inhabitants of the displaced community have formed forest wardens and patrol the watershed regularly (rangers aren’t present near this volcano) However, some locals have recently felt compelled to cut down trees in the watershed due to poverty.
This location, which is only an hour from Naga City, has a lot of potential for tourism. Furthermore, increased tourism will result in additional patrols because forest wardens will be guiding more groups.
They could use the funds to build a nursery/greenhouse and a shared service station, as well as to restore residences so that they can be used as homestays by their owners. It will also give training for anyone interested in starting their own companies, such as marketing crafts or farming mushrooms.
Makaturing is a stratovolcano on the Philippine Island of Mindanao. You’ll find it in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, namely in the province of Lanao del Sur (especially in the town of Butig).
Makaturing has a base diameter of 29 kilometers and a height of 1,940 meters (6,365 feet). It’s part of the Central Mindanao Arc, a chain of volcanoes.
Makaturing is one of the Philippines’ active volcanoes, although some eruptions attributed to Makaturing may have been those of adjacent Ragang volcano, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanology Project.
If you’re interested in both vegetation and animals, then Mandalagan is the peak for you. On the upper slopes of Mandalagan, there are substantial old-growth woods, mainly above 1,000 meters, but you can find them locally on very steep slopes as low as 700 meters. In comparison, secondary forests are visible as low as 400 meters.
There are both endemic plants and animals on the mountain. Hardwood plant species (Dipterocarps), palms, orchids, herbs, and medicinal trees flourish near Mount Mandalagan, and the Philippine Spotted Deer Cervus alfredi, Visayan Warty Pig Sus cebifrons, and butterflies are among the animals found here.
The severely threatened Negros Naked-backed Fruit Bat Dobsonia chapmani, a giant fruit bat, was once found here, but scientists fear it could already extinct. There may be a few more endangered animal species there, but there are no studies available yet.
Because of the many steep-sided valleys and ridges, the forest on the sides of Mt Mandalagan is exceedingly fractured and varied.
Many of the Negros and Panay Endemic Bird Area’s endangered and constrained species are not in any documents or reports by locals. Visayan Flowerpeckers, Writhed-billed Hornbills, Visayan, and Negros-bleeding-heart are all endangered species associated with this area.