Hiked to: Mt. Arayat

Wednesday
November 30, 2016

After passing by the sleeping giant of the north so many times, I was finally able to climb the awesome mountain of Arayat. When I started to hike, I promised to climb it one day, and after a small amount of time (years) I was finally able to deliver on that promise.

The organizer of this hike was still Dencio who made my Tapulao climb happen. We met up with the others (all new faces) at Cubao before heading off via private van to the jump-off in Magalang, Pampanga. Thank you, holiday in the middle of the week!

Me plus a bunch of harkor mountaineers
Me plus a bunch of harkor mountaineers

Once we arrived, we secured our guides and started the hike after the short prayer. The first half of the hike was very nice and the trail was actually runnable. It gradually steepened until I was huffing and puffing to keep up with the lead pack.

Greetings from the trail!

We had a short detour through the “White Rock” that our guide pointed us to. There were other groups of hikers on the mountain as well. Some going up for a dayhike traverse like us, and some going down from spending the night at the peak.

Pictorial at White Rock as other mountaineers look on

After a few more huffing and puffing, I was surprised to see an outpost in the middle of the forest. The guide said that it was a place to stay for the PNP. It also marked the North peak. Here, we got a good view of Pampanga and the South peak looming up ahead.

At the outpost and at the North peak

The group took a break to get some pictures. Mt. Arayat is the only bump in the otherwise flat Pampanga. That’s why it’s very easy to spot from the expressway. Finally being on top of it made me feel all kilig as I admired the view.

Managed to get a shot before the fog rolled in
Managed to get a shot before the fog rolled in

Some minutes after, fog started to block the view. That was the signal for the group to start the traverse to the South peak. This was honestly the most stressful part of the trek.

From the North peak, it was a steep descent that seemed to last forever. We had to hang on to trees and vines or else we would drop straight down. The trail reminded me of the Apayang descent. A bit wild for a mountain that gets climbed a lot. Some parts of the trail also had thorny plants so those who had no proper protection (aka me) had to move extra carefully.

We reached the landmark called “Haring Bato” but because there were tons of hikers lining up and waiting for their turn to have their photo-ops, we went ahead.

Finally at the campsite!
Finally at the campsite!

It was really miserable traversing, but finally we reached the campsite near the South peak. Here, we left our bags and headed straight for the peak. We lined up as some hikers were having their pictures taken as well. When it was our turn, we took lots of pictures before heading back to the campsite for lunch.

South peak finally reached
Lunching at the campsite
Lunching at the campsite

After having lunch, we started our descent. The way down was easier than the traverse route. There were still some steep parts, but everything was manageable. I passed the time by talking to the expert mountaineer, sir Regi, about his experiences on the harkor mountains I’ve yet to climb.

Pretty soon we were already at the jumpoff at Arayat, Pampanga where we will be exiting. Here, we waited for the group to be completed and then we fixed up and boarded our waiting Van. Arayat complete!


Itinerary:

  • 07:45 Start Trek from Magalang
  • 09:00 White Rock Viewdeck
  • 10:10 North Peak, Photo-ops
  • 11:35 South Peak. Photo-ops and lunch
  • 12:50 Start Descent
  • 13:55 Jump-off at Arayat, Fix up

This hike seemed way longer than it actually was. I was surprised to see that we only stayed at the mountain for around 6 hours. Not bad, a quick stroll through the mountains always seems to do me good, especially one during a hectic work week.

Thank you to Dencio for a successful event once again. Also to all the new friends I’ve made, especially sir Regi for the dried mangoes and the information overload as well as the pictures used in this post. Sobrang harkor niyo pong lahat. Until the next hike with you guys. See you on the trail!

How to be you all po?
How to be you all po?

And thanks to Papa G for the favorable hiking conditions and for my fambam for allowing me to climb the mountains while they join the rally in the city. #MarcosNotAHero

And that’s the story of how I’ll never look at Arayat the same again. Being able to step on its peaks gives it a much bigger importance than just being another mountain.

#PinkAtThePeak
#PinkAtThePeak

Climb safe and have fun.

-jgzn

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