Trail running has grown as one of the most popular outdoor sports in the Philippines in recent years. This rise in popularity seems but a natural offshoot of the boom in local long-distance road running events held nearly every weekend throughout the year.
Road runners, especially those from Metro Manila, who want a sampling of the delights of trail running have several nearby choices. Well-organized trail footraces are frequently held in these destinations. Most offer beginner-friendly distances, and some even have a category for kids.
Choose from the list below for your trail training runs or when looking for an organized event.
Timberland Heights – San Mateo, Rizal
Located about 25 kilometers east of the city of Manila, Timberland Heights is a townscape development in San Mateo, Rizal. This development by Filinvest boasts a trail ecosystem that peaks at about 500 meters above sea level (MASL), passing along creeks and waterfalls.
At Timberland Heights’ vantage points, look eastward for sweeping views of the Sierra Madre mountain range. Turn westward and the panorama shifts to the contrasting urban sprawl of Metro Manila.
How to get there: Take a jeepney bound for San Mateo or Barangay Maly either at Philcoa in Quezon City or the Marikina public market. Get off at General Luna Avenue in San Mateo’s Barangay Ampid. Tricycle trips to Timberland Heights are available from there.
Mt. Makiling – Los Baños, Laguna
Take to trails amidst the pristine forest of Mt. Makiling only 70-some kilometers south of Metro Manila. These mountain’s footpaths offer something for all skill levels. The ideal place to start is from the UP Los Baños Makiling Botanical Garden where there is already a kid-friendly paved trail.
Adventurous? Take the route to Agila Base, a 10.5-kilometer, out-and-back course from the Botanical Garden. Extend the run to Peak 2, the highest elevation of Makiling at 1,080 MASL. To add more mileage and excitement, proceed to the technical Haring Bato of Makiling’s Peak 3, which at 1,020 MASL overlooks Sto. Tomas in Batangas in the south.
How to get there: Board a bus bound for Sta. Cruz, Laguna either at the terminals in Buendia LRT or Cubao. Ask to be dropped off at UPLB College entrance where you can take a jeep to the Botanical Garden.
Mt. Talamitam – Nasugbu, Batangas
Just roughly 65 kilometers south of Manila, Mt. Talamitam is a relatively new destination for trail runners. Its trails are clear and newbie-friendly. Quite scenic as well, these mountain tracks cut across grasslands and peak at 630 MASL.
Its summit provides stunning 360-degree views of the western Batangas landscape. Talamitam’s footpaths are interconnected with two adjoining peaks nearby—Mt. Apayang to the north and Mt. Lantik to the south—opening the option for an extended trail running adventure.
How to get there: From the Buendia LRT terminal, ride a bus to Nasugbu, Batangas. Alight at Sitio Bayabasan, Bgy. Aga in Nasugbu KM 83 of the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway. From Bayabasan, take a tricycle to Brgy. Kayrilaw where visitors register, pay fees, and hire a guide. These requirements are redundant though if you’re already entered in an organized Talamitam trail running event.