Linabo Peak has a lot of steps to reach the top. The way up is associated to the story of Jesus by the Catholics of the Philippines. It resembles the story of the suffering of Jesus on his final way to the cross. This means that Catholic devotees get in high numbers to Linabo Peak during Catholic holy days like Easter, Good Friday, etc. According to what you can read about it, but when you go there with Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter, and then take the following Monday. You hardly see any people on Linabo. On a midweek day you’ll find a handful of Philippine citizens and none foreigners.
The time to reach the top depend on your fitness and on how many breaks you need. It can be done in 1,5 hr to the top, but in a slower pace you can count 2,5 hrs. Depending on how long you stay at the top to enjoy the view, you can count on a trip of in between 3 to 5 hrs to leave your place in Dipolog City and be back there. There is no entrance fee charged for Linabo. An employee is sitting on a table with a logbook. The only thing that is required is to write your name in the book. The time you started and if you’re a foreigner or a Philippines citizen. Sign and you can start.
To reach the top of Linabo you have to work hard. It takes 3003 steps to get there and that takes a lot from your body. Around every 100-120 steps is a rest station that looks like a windmill. Has an image of Jesus on it with an associated message next to it. ‘Jesus falls the first time’, ‘Jesus falls the 2nd time’, while carrying his cross. There are 14 rest stations and all have benches to sit on. In steps that means a bit over halfway, at station 7 (around 700 steps) you have the first possibility to buy water. 35 php for a liter bottle. Coke and Sprite can be bought too, as well as instant noodles and chips. No more rest stations or drink/eat possibilities after the school village and a few more houses more up till let’s say 1800 steps.
Don’t expect much of it. Not a nice terrace, welcoming locals and clean place to sit and rest. More of a dodgy hangout place where people stare at you when you’re a foreigner. Don’t get me wrong though, you’ll be safe on Linabo Peak in that way. Locals might have nasty staring faces, but they’re overall friendly people. When you give a friendly sweating smile, they show more of sympathy than of danger. Up there you can see horses too. Some locals use horses to carry things up. It’s not been mentioned anywhere that you can take the way to the top on a horse, but in case you are in some sort of emergency, I guess that you can get help from a local with a horse. In case the emergency number doesn’t work.
Are there positive things to mention? Yes, the steps never get slippery, even when wet. They are of concrete and got structures in it to keep them rough. There is a hand grip all the way up, but always only on one side, either right or left (often occupied by ants). There are on three places ‘comfort rooms’, which means a toilet. I hardly believe they’re comfortable though. Up to 2300 steps you walk almost continuously in the shade because of the trees that cover the sun. There is an emergency number in case you have a Philippines simcard. There is almost all the way network and a lot of the way has 4G working.
Every 100 steps is mentioned on a step but after 2300 it suddenly stops. By there you walk in the heat and sun. You’re probably already soaked. By there the steps also get pretty steep at times. The strange thing is that you suddenly get at a (phone) tower and get around a sort of huge rock and stand in front of the last steps of the 3003. It confuses somewhat as you don’t expect the top yet. A welcoming surprise though.
At the top itself, which can’t have more than around 20 people at once, you finally get to see the full view around, of which you can see a sort of preview at step 2350. The backside of Linabo Peak and the frontside (north) with the valley, rice paddies and the sea. It’s a beautiful view although I wouldn’t call it a spectacular view. There is nothing to buy at the top and in case of many people, not enough benches to sit.
The location of Linabo Peak is just on the outskirts of Dipolog City in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, southern Philippines. About 6 or 7 km. from Dipolog City. It’s to the main roundabout where the Jollibee (fastfood chain) is located. Turn left and get over the old looking orange color bridge. From there turn the first right and at the end again right. Keep follow the road until your road makes a slight turn to the right while another road goes straight. There are name boards with Linabo Peak on it. Just take the road straight. Not the road you’re on. There you are at Linabo. Use these directions opposite (left instead of right, etc.) when you come back.
There is no public transportation going to the bottom of Linabo Peak. This means that you have to manage transportation somehow. There are plenty of motorbike showrooms, but motorbike rent places can’t be found in Dipolog City. You could ask the taxi motorbikes which you see so many in town as the only transportation around whereby you sit next to the driver on the right side..
Another option is to ask your hotel or someone you know to help you. They might have a contact number of a friend or someone with a motorbike to bring you to Linabo Peak for 100 php ($2). Don’t worry about how to get back. There are guys with motorbikes waiting for customers at Linabo Peak. When possible, make screenshots of your hotel from the outside or from Maps. The motorbike drivers might not know the place that you stay. So also try to pay attention yourself while going to Linabo Peak in the morning, which ways to take. That way you can explain the driver.
Although the altitude of Linabo Peak is just a 486 mtr (1594 ft), it’s not a peak to underestimate to get to the top.