See Palawan from atop its most magical mountain
- Cost: US$610 per person for 5D/4N (all inclusive from start point to end point)
(equivalent to approximately UK£450 or €540 at time of publication)
- Start Point: Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
- End Point: Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.
- Group Size: 2–8 (inquire for cost for smaller parties)
- Bespoke Tour: If you do not wish to join a group tour, we can customise a private trip to fit your dates and interests. Please email us for details and a quote.
Palawan is the most forested and least spoiled of all the large islands in the Philippines and in recent years it has seen increasing interest from tourists for its long coastline of fine beaches, diving and its subterranean river system, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, Palawan is also biologically unique, and the chain of mountains that runs its length are highly biodiverse. In the last decade, dozens of new species have been described from these mountains, and Mount Victoria is foremost among these as home to a giant pitcher plant, a group of terrestrial orchids found nowhere else, and plenty of other plants and animals besides!
Victoria is a straightforward but moderately challenging climb, involving a steady hike along and in the beautiful Buhawi River before ascending rapidly up the flanks of the moutain. Three nights of camping are required, but for those who wish to enjoy the summit area at leisure, it is possible to arrange an extra night of camping on the mountain so that the descent can be made more slowly.
Mount Victoria features in our Giant Nepenthes Expedition video!
Day 1: You will be picked up at 7am from your Puerto Princesa accommodation for immediate transfer south to the town of Narra. Once there, you will register in the local town hall for your climb before proceeding to the jump-off point. The first day's hike is relatively leisurely, taking between 2 and 4 hours depending upon your pace. Much of the walk is along or through the river, where the water is usually ankle to knee deep in good weather and peppered with small waterfalls and gentle rapids. Excellent swimming is available in the occasional deeper water holes. You will overnight at the aptly named Nepenthes Camp, where carnivorous Nepenthes philippinensis pitcher plants grow in some abundance.
Day 2: After breakfast, you will break camp and continue upstream, crossing the river at appropriate junctures for the first hour and a half. Thereafter, you will enter the montane forest, ascending the flanks of the mountain rapidly. The vegetation quickly changes from riverine to moss forest, and orchids and ferns become more abundant as you ascend towards Camp Jehson, the pre-summit camp. Fast groups have reached the pre-summit camp as early as 10am, allowing them to visit the summit on the same day, but most leisure hikers make it by 2pm, giving them ample time to set up camp before nightfall.
Day 3: After an early breakfast, you will leave Camp Jehson for the summit. Following a steady upward climb of about 1 hour in rich, mossy forest, the vegetation suddenly changes. Passing through a narrow band of tangled bamboo forest, you suddenly emerge into a dwarf summit scrub of stunted trees, ethereal cloud and giant carnivorous pitcher plants—it is here and only here that the enormous Nepenthes attenboroughii occurs. In good weather, it is possible to see both of Palawan's coasts, as well as the opposing peak that make up the twin peaks of Victoria, nicknamed "the Teeth"—crossing between the two can be done provided conditions remain fair. Thereafter, the group descends to the pre-summit camp for lunch, before descending to one of the river camps.
Day 4: After breakfast, you begin your walk back to the jump-off point, usually arriving by 11am at the pick-up point, factoring in the all-important swimming opportunities. Thereafter, you will be transported back to Puerto Princesa City for a well deserved hot shower and rest.
This expedition begins in Puerto Princesa, which is well served by Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines from the capital city Manila. Flights can be easily booked through all major airline websites.
Adventure Rating: Moderate
One or two day trips can be made to the north of the island to visit the subterranean river system or to go snorkelling on one of the nearby reefs. To get a quote for any extensions, simply mention which extension(s) you are interested in when you apply to Join this Adventure!