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Travel and Tourism

Hiking gems in the North: Bulacan's hidden trekking destinations

Marane A. Plaza - Philstar.com
Hiking gems in the North: Bulacan's hidden trekking destinations
Digo's Hills Viewing Deck and Sierra Madre scenery (left); en route to Tila Pilon Hills
Philstar.com/Marane A. Plaza

MANILA, Philippines —  The North is a wilderness gem that can literally be a quick breather for the residents of the bustling Metro Manila.

Bulacan, which is just a couple of hours drive from the metro, particularly has the charm of the countryside, plus the accessible convenience with its close distance to the urban side of the capital region. It equally boasts of cultural highlights for a scheduled group tour, plus recreational spots worthy of a slot in your outdoor travel itinerary. But did you know that Bulacan houses some super cool hiking destinations, too?

For now, let's focus on the exciting outdoor activities you can do in Bulacan. If you're into discovering new hidden hiking trails just a couple hours away from the metro, Bulacan is your best bet.     

As the travel sector starts to recover, North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Lakbay Norte hopes to help the industry spark that wanderlust dream and once again satisfy that travel itch. As the main gateway to the progressive north, the NLEX-SCTEX expressways provide the safest, most comfortable, and efficient way to access areas like Bulacan.

So with a 4 a.m. pickup time in Buendia Metro Rail Train (MRT) Station, we started our tour going to Bulacan. A couple of hours drive later and we found ourselves at the NLEX Traffic Control Room, wherein we got to see how NLEX is being overseen with monitor screens. 

Later on, we got on with our tour with a visit to the municipality of Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT). Considered as the province’s “Last Frontier,” DRT can surprise tourists and outdoor fans to an epic hike — from challenging trails, panoramic vantages, to local delicacies.

Digo’s Hills View Deck

The first stop was Digo’s Hills View Deck, located in Barangay Talbak. Offering a panoramic view of the Sierra Madre Mountains, Digo’s Hills makes a perfect spot to unfold tents and break for a picnic set-up. With its fresh air and lush greens, you'd definitely forget the hassles and smog in Manila. 

Whether catching the sunrise or chasing sunsets, Digo's Hills is a wonderful escape from the city. Digo's Cafe makes a perfect spot to enjoy a cup of Talbak Coffee, a homegrown brew of DRT, so you're sure to pamper yourself with the beauty of Sierra Madre and a relaxing coffee session.

Talon Pari Falls

Our second stop is the Talon Pari Falls, just a 20-minute drive from Digo's. The heat and humidity will surely make you want to drench in cold waters, and just a few minutes of walk or even car drive can lead you to Talon Pari Falls. The many layers of natural big stones make for a great series of mini waterfalls of bluegreen pristine water. Swim the waters and you'd totally forget the tiredness you feel from hours of hiking. Such a exhilarating experience to soak your body in the super cool waters, especially this summer. When we arrived, the waterfalls didn't have strong currents, but that did not stop us from dipping our toes into the waters for a quick cool down.

Tila Pilon Hills

After lunch, we prepared ourselves for a 45-minute trekk to Tila Pilon Hills. Dubbed as the Chocolate Hills of Bulacan, Tila Pilon is an easy day hike for beginners with its gradual ascents and descents for over half a kilometer. The brown hills certainly did not disappoint, as they make for a good backdrop of your nature selfies. Tila Pilon Hills is an ideal easy day hike spot too, perfect for beginners who are exploring some mountaineering in the future, but are already itching to burn some calories amid nature. 

Indeed, the Philippines is a tropical paradise made of the best water spots and trekking destinations. Even Bulacan which is considered so near the metro, you can surprise yourself with unique outdoor experiences that does not require you to splurge on plane tickets.

RELATED: Taste of ‘Ang Probinsyano’: Philippines’ first Stevia farm reimagines Bulacan heritage cuisine 

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