What to expect
Climbing in the Philippines will force you to love limestone. Our crags offer a range of limestone types—some young and soft, others old and bullet-hard; some sharp and skin-biting, others smooth and slimy.
To sample the variety, Dingle’s Nautod Wall (Iloilo) has inconspicuous angles that result in unidentifiable shadows, making it easy for the newcomer’s eye to pass off slopers for jugs. Cantabaco (Cebu) is fun for on-sighting with smooth pockets and large cracks pasted over a clean, “highway”-like surface.
Both sets of limestone features can be found in Montalban (Antipolo), apart from the common stalactites, tufas and flowstones that require good pinchers, sticky shoes, and relaxed, lay-backing technique.
These rock faces are set in different scenes. Palawan has 200-foot cliffs at the edge of white sand beaches; Atimonan’s views are that of luscious mountain ranges; while the boulders of Bulacan and Lamtang run alongside streams and rivers.
In all climbing areas, being located in small, less-urbanized (or completely rural) towns, the feel is laid-back; travelling from point A to B an escapade; food and lodging is cheap; beer is good; and the people, though shy, are friendly and accommodating. And the local climbers are sure to show you a memorable time!
The Yosemite Decimal Scale (YDS) is the most widely used grading system in the Philippines. If you’re using something else, below is a conversion table for your guide.