Mt. 387, Nueva Ecija. Photograph by Tina Millo
Travel Destinations

Philippine peaks that give fantastic nighttime views

Looking to make your hike more memorable? Opt to do your hike after dark, starting with these top picks:
Gideon Lasco | Feb 09 2019

Spending the day hiking is always a rewarding pursuit, but there are special treats for those who stay behind and spend the night.

First of all, there’s the splendor of the sunset, with which you can see the changing colors of the mountain.

Then comes the night sky; the moon and the stars; the constellations of our imagination.

The campsite, meanwhile, offers its own little joys, from the surprising comfort of a simple, but well-placed tent to the delightful warmth of a freshly-cooked meal and (if you or your companions are diligent enough) even brewed coffee. With good company, you can partake of a chocolate bar, as if it were the best dessert in the world.

Finally, there are the nocturnal birds and animals, whose cacophony is interrupted only by the refreshing gusts of wind.

There are many wonderful places to sleep, but it is only the mountains where you can fully embrace the night.

Here are some peaks—out of many—that offer a chance of a memorable night outdoors:

1. Mt. Pulag, Benguet

Marlboro Campsite, Mt. Pulag. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Luzon’s highest peak (2,922 meters) remains one of its most popular, but most visitors congregate on the Ambangeg Trail. The more adventurous, however, can explore longer, tougher trails with less people and more chances of intimacy with nature. These include the pine forested Akiki, the mossy forested Tawangan, and the lengthy Ambaguio, with hikes that can run anywhere from two to four days.

 

2. Mt. Ugo, Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya

Mt. Ugo, Benguet and Nueve Vizcaya. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

With plenty of campgrounds and villages, the 2,150-meter Mt. Ugo offers the opportunity to hike in conifer ridges and see highland villages with the cool Cordillera clime. If you decide to camp near the summit, the scent of pines will add fragrance to an unforgettable experience.

 

3. Mt. Namandiraan, Ilocos Sur

Mt. Namandiraan, Ilocos Sur. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Relatively new to mountaineers, Mt. Namandiraan boasts of the same pine forests as Mt. Ugo and Mt. Pulag, but with a touch of history. The trek begins in Bessang Pass, the site of one of the great liberation battles versus Yamashita’s troops in 1945. It also has the distinction of being Ilocos Sur’s highest peak at 2,331 meters. The peak actually doubles as the campsite, and a pretty one at that, offering views of the Central Cordillera range and the mountains of Kibungan and Bakun.

 

4. Mt. 387, Nueva Ecija

You may not associate Nueva Ecija with mountains (rice fields might come to mind first), but the province’s east actually contains part of the great Sierra Madre, and some of its foothills makes for great hikes. While the 724-meter Mt. 387 in the town of Carrangalan can be reached on a day hike, its exposed slopes can be exhausting especially during summer. By spending a night, you can take a more leisurely schedule and avoid high noon—and in the process bear witness to nighttime views of Luzon’s Central Plains.

 

5. Mt. Napulak, Iloilo

Mt. Napulak, Iloilo. Photograph by Christian Palacios

A favorite of local hikers, Mt. Napulak (1,239 meters) in Igbaras has a unique rock formation at the top—and a wide campsite underneath. The nights in Mt. Napulak are pleasant and unlike some of the arduous treks in Panay island, the mountain can be done in two days at a relaxed pace.

 

6. Osmeña Peak, Cebu

Osmeña Peak, Cebu. Photograph by Evee Ruiz

Easily accessible from Cebu City and even more easily hiked (taking under 30 minutes), Osmeña Peak can be crowded on weekends. During weekdays, however, you can bask in the glory of its jagged peaks and enjoy being atop the highest point in Cebu island at over 1,000 meters.
 

 

7. Mt. Dulang-Dulang, Bukidnon

Mt. Dulang-Dulang, Bukidnon. Photograph by Earl Montero

One of the highest campsites in the country, Mt. Dulang-Dulang can only be described as spellbinding with its whorled trees and mossy carpet. It is the country’s second highest peak at 2,938 meters. This is probably the coldest place in Mindanao, and one of the coldest in the country. The mystical, almost elvish, forest alone makes it a magical experience.

 

8. Mt. Apo, Davao and Cotabato

Lake Venado, Mt. Apo. Photograph by Christian Cee

Unsurprisingly the country’s highest mountain (2,956 meters) is also one of its most beautiful. Apo offers great diversity of landscapes: rivers, rocky peaks, sulfuric vents, but the nights are equally fascinating. Clear and uninterrupted views of the stars await those who camp at the summit or by the banks of Lake Venado.

 

Click on the image below for slideshow

Marlboro Campsite, Mt. Pulag. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Ugo, Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Kapangan (Camp Utopia) Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Apo White Sand Camp Photograph by Vincent Gayda

Mt. Binutasan Photograph by Wilfredo Garrido

Mt. Halcon Summit Camp Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Manaet Win Calleja

Mt. Namandiraan Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Naupa Photograph by Ed Lim

Mt. Sutot (Sawtooth) Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Tangbaw Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Tangbaw Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Ugo, Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt. Ugo, Benguet and Nueva Vizcaya. Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt.Pigingan Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Mt.Sutot (Sawtooth) Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Saulay Camp, Mt. Sicapoo Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

Zambales River Camp, Tapulao Traverse Photograph by Kevin Jason Manuel

 

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