Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mt. Arayat: The Most Popular Mountain in Pampanga!

Mt. Arayat  is one of the popular mountains in the Central Luzon region. It's an extinct stratovolcano, which has no recorded historical eruption.  The mountain is famous for its tale of the Kampangan sun god, known as diwata Mariang Sinukuan, counterpart of Mariang Makiling.

The TrailMadness group, which founded by sir Kiko,  invited me to join their Mt. Arayat  hike in Pampanga. I always see this mountain everytime I travel to the north ( which can be seen afar from NLEX, North Luzon Expressway). I heard a lot of good things about this mountain from my mountaineer friends and travel bloggers. Honestly,  I'm not really interested on the story of Mariang Sinukuan, but what I'm curious about is the trail going to the summit and traverse part of the mountain.


 There're 12 brave members of  TrailMadness including Sir Kiko and Sir Dan of Malaya group joined the event. We hired a van in Manila. Travel time from the Metro to Pampanga is 1 to 1.5 hours. The jump-off of Mt. Arayat is located at Barangay Ayala, Magalang. The local guide accompanied us to DENR Information Center to register our names. You can buy trail food as well water and soda here. No registration fee is needed.



Guide fee is negotiable. The fee is ranging from P500-600 and P50 for the succeeding pax. There will be a different rate for day hike, overnight and the traverse trail. It's not mandatory to hire a guide. If you're a beginner and first timer to hike a mountain, I suggest to hire a guide. It's better than to pay than to lost in the forest.


 According to guide, every Holy Week (Mahal na Araw), a lot of devotees are going to the jump-off of the mountain to reenact the significant moments of Jesus Christ’s life, from the time of his preaching, going through the time of his death, and until his resurrection. The first kilometer of the trail, you will find replica of characters in "Stations of the Cross" that represent events of Christ's Passion.

There're two trails going to the summit, the traditional trail and new trail (poste trail). The traditional trail features big roots, big rocks and boulders, which will lead you directly to the White Rock while the new trail features rough trail and big bushes and rocks, which will take you directly to the North Peak.



Along the trail, you will find a combination of descending and ascending trail. You need to be prepared to this kind of hike. It's a considered as major climb (if you do the Arayat to Magalang). It rises to a height of 1, 026 meters (3,366 ft). You will encounter assault type of trail leading to the summit. Even some of our veterans in hiking,  they experienced a bit of muscle pain or cramps.

For mountain gear, it's advisable to wear comfortable and quality shoes. Most of the time you will  walk/trek through rocky trails. Be careful as well in the trail because it became slippery when it rains. Wear headgear like cap, hat or turban  to protect your head and hair from direct heat of the sun. I advice to wear top and bottom which you think you're more comfortable.
No water resources available near the summit. It's advisable to bring 2-3 liters of water. Don't forget also to bring water for your "chaser sa inuman" lol.  "Ilabas na ang alak" hahaha.

 For those who scared to NPA,  don't worry guys there is now military presence in the trails. Their base is located at the summit of Mt. Arayat. So far, no new news reported that there are still living in the mountain.
At the summit,  you will see the progressive city of Angeles and the former Clark Air Base. You can also see there the Clark Airport as well the famous Mount Pinatubo.
The peak is served as the campsite of hikers/ mountineers. You need to make sure you have quality tent and it's pitched properly. Most of the time, the whole area is very windy. You need to also to put OFF lotion because flies, mosquitoes  and other insects are anywhere that are ready to attack your skin.
I will post another blog soon on what you can see especially the kind of trail on the Arayat traverse.
How to get there
You can take bus (like Victory Liner) going to Olangapo or San Fernando Pampanga. Travel time is 1.5 to 2 hours and fare is less than P200.  Drop off at SM Pampanga and take a Magalang-bound jeep. Fare is less than P50 and Travel time is around 30 minutes. At the Magalang town, take a tricycle ask the driver to bring you in the jump-off at Barangay Ayala or just say near  the "Stations of the Cross". Fare is less than P100.
Mt. Arayat Hike Itinerary (By Sir Kiko of TrailMadness Group)
Day 1
0730 Assembly at McDo, El Pueblo, Ortigas...
0830 ETA San Fernando
0930 At Magalang, proceed to jump-off point in Brgy. Ayala
1000 ETA Brgy. Ayala; Start trek
1600 ETA North Peak (Peak 1); Set up camp at Tower grounds

Day 2
0600 Wake up call
0700 Start traverse to South Peak via Ridgeline
1000 ETA South Peak (Peak 2); Visit Viewdeck. Lunch.
1200 Start Descent
1430 ETA National Park; Bathe at the natural pools
1500 Head back to Manila or to Angeles City for Sidetrips

MT. ARAYAT (Magalang Trail or Arayat Trail) Arayat, Pampanga
Major jump off: Arayat National Park, Brgy. Bano, Arayat or Brgy. Ayala, Magala
LLA: 15.20° N 120.742° E, 1030 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 4 hours
Specs: Major climb (Traverse Magalang to Arayat), Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 3

1 comment:

  1. Also worth mentioning, to bring mosquito repellant - bionic giant mosquitoes are all over the trail! hehe :)

    ReplyDelete

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