My Mt. Arayat adventure is another day-hike away from my hometown–Baguio City. This hike is almost the same with my previous hike last January 2017 in Mt. Cayabu/Maynuba in Rizal, it is almost sleepless. My group for this hike, we are 10 by the way, had a call time a little past midnight at Baguio City to catch a bus going to Dau, Pampanga, supposedly. However, at the bus terminal, we had an unexpected arrangement with a van driver.
Since we are 8 in the group coming from Baguio, the driver agreed that he will take us to Magalang, Pampanga, which is the drop-off point for the hike and paying a little higher than the amount charged by the buses. At the same time, he agreed that we will pick up our two friends in Dau, Pampanga. So, since everybody agreed, we immediately boarded the van and started our leg-breaking, heart-pounding, and sweat-producing journey to Mt. Arayat.
Our Trip’s Itinerary
0100am ETD Baguio City to Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga
0530am ETA Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga, Breakfast and Registration
0600am Start of Trek Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga
0200pm End of Trek San Juan, Arayat, Pampanga, Rest, Halo-halo, Rehydrate, Freshen Up
0330pm ETD Arayat Pampanga
0350pm ETA Arayat Jeep Terminal
0400pm ETD Arayat Jeep Terminal
0500pm ETA Marquee Mall, Late lunch Early dinner, Stroll
0700pm ETD Marquee Mall
0730pm ETA Dau Terminal
0830pm ETD Dau Terminal
0100an ETA Baguio City
This trip is so tiring considering the compressed itinerary for a major hike. Overall, it is very fulfilling. You can see different types of plants and trees and you will not be bored by the singing of the birds along the way. It is always a good way to be one with nature.
The forest along the Ayala, Magalang area is still thick with a diverse vegetation going up the White Rock which is the first major spot of the mountain. But before you witness the good view of the plains of Tarlac, Pampanga, Pangasinan, and the nearby provinces, you will need to pass through series of assault that will test your leg muscles and your stamina.
Your way to the North Peak will also showcase the same sets of vegetation but with a steeper assault. Upon reaching the top, you will also see the plain from a different perspective and you will also see the Pampanga river snaking through the land. The North Peak is a major resting area for hikers and you can take good group pictures and jump shots, rehydrate, share foods, meet hikers from different places. For our case, we saw a man crying over the hike’s difficulty, I wish I could see him again on another trail. 🙂
Upon reaching the North Peak, the next thing that you will do is go down, of course. This descent will give you a different twisting experience. You will rappel on an almost 90-degree slope using a nylon rope built by the guides. A pair of hiking shoes that will hold you while you are going down is a must have. The trees and bamboos can help you secure your position while going down, but please be careful about the small ones, you might pull them off the ground.
After the descent from the North Peak, you still need to climb again. Yes! Again! You need to climb your way up the South Peak with an almost 90-degree assault, just imagine what will happen to your legs after the climb. The assault is also assisted by the nylon ropes built by the guides. The footpath is very narrow and made even more challenging by the hikers that you meet along the way who started their hike on the other side. In this case, please be reminded that you need to give way to hikers going up. A rule that is not always followed. You also add the dust and pebbles falling from the hikers climbing in front of you since it is very steep, please be careful with your eyes.
In the summit of South Peak, you will also meet hikers resting, eating, and taking pictures, but mostly, the hikers are already exhausted–sitting, especially those who came from the Ayala drop off. After this peak, you are bound to go down the mountain to reach the San Juan drop off which is the end of the traverse. This is the place where you can feel that there is “forever”, haha. It is as if there’s no end.
As you go down, you will see that the forest is slowly thinning, and when you are near the San Juan area, you will see a totally bald forest and you can also see certain areas, where the residents cook their charcoals. This should be taken into consideration by the authorities to stop the thinning of the mountains. One mistake I have done is that I was too concerned reaching the end and I was not able to document the sad part of the mountain.
Anyway, here is my photo collection for this hike which was taken when I’m still filled with adrenaline. 🙂
Mt. Arayat Photo Collection
(White Rock-North Peak-South Peak)
Total Mandatory Expense
Baguio-Magalang Van Fare Php 400.00
Registration (Php 1,500.00/5) 300.00
Ayala Environmental Fee 20.00
San Juan Environmental Fee 20.00
San Juan-Arayat Jeep Terminal Tricycle (Php 150.00/4) 37.50
Arayat-Marquee Mall Jeep 45.00
Marquee Mall-Dau Jeep 13.00
Dau, Pampanga-Baguio City Bus 306.00
Total Php 1,131.50
My Hiking Groupmates
Special thanks to Kapampangan Traveller for the travel tips, information, and answers to my queries. 🙂