Mainstreaming climate change adaptation (CCA) into plans and programs is still a new approach in adaptation and thus there is limited information on how to operationalize it on-ground. This paper addresses this gap by investigating the challenges in mainstreaming CCA into the local land use plans in the province of Albay, Philippines. Specifically, this paper developed 20 quantitative "mainstreaming indicators'' to assess the state-of-play and the challenges for local mainstreaming. These indicators were classified under three groupings, namely, the information, institutional, and resource capacities of systems. Qualitative analysis of the indicator scores suggested that developing the institutional capacities of local governments is crucial in the local mainstreaming process. Likewise, the results highlighted the ``institutional issues'' indicator as the primary barrier in operationalizing the approach. These institutional issues are: fragmented laws and regulations; overlapping policy requirements; and the lack of guidelines for mainstreaming CCA into the local land use plans. Meanwhile, the ``leadership'' indicator, as signified by a climate change champion in Albay, was evaluated as an opportunity for local mainstreaming. The champion effectively led the CCA efforts because the existing institutional mechanisms supported the champion's capacity to influence the behavior of people and produce collective action towards CCA.