MT. ARAYAT (ARAYAT TRAIL)
Major jump off: Arayat National Park, Brgy. Bano, Arayat
LLA: 15.20° N 120.742° E, 1030 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1 day / 4 hours
Specs: Minor climb, Difficulty 3/9, Trail class 3
The legendary Mt. Arayat rises like a solitary giant over the central plains of Luzon. Long before it drew the attention of hikers, it was already popular in myth. It was said to be dwelling-place of the Kapampangan sun god, Sinukuan. Writer Alex Castro, in “Views from the Pampang”, narrates the story: “[Sinukuan] was supposedly imprisoned in a cave sealed with a “white rock” visible on the mountainside.” He was engaged on an epic battle with his rival, Apung Pinatubu, who “hurled stones” at Sinukuan. Perhaps this is actually a recollection of Pinatubo’s pre-Hispanic eruption, over 600 years ago?
The next legend about Arayat is about Mariang Sinukuan, counterpart of the Tagalogs’ Mariang Makiling. In some accounts she was Mariang Makiling’s sister, and like her, she was a mountain dweller with fairy-like powers. She was the subject of songs and poems until the present time. Finally, Mt. Arayat is sacred to Rizalistas, who, Castro writes, “gather every December to honor the national hero in quiet ceremonies. The cult was brought to Arayat by the late Apo or Mahal na Inang Birhen Sinukuan in 1947, acknowledged as Rizal’s female incarnation.”
Thus, whether as a mountain of myth or a towering landmark, Kapampangans take pride in Mt. Arayat. During the 1970s, Mt. Arayat National Park was built – complete with natural pools, picnic areas, and the mountain trail that leads to Arayat’s Peak 1. Although the National Park has degenerated into a local resort, it is still the jump-off for Arayat’s Peak 1. This peak has a spectacular view deck, where you can behold seemingly all of Central Luzon. Pampanga river meanders like a snake across the rice fields; the mountains of Zambales and Bataan come into view; so Sierra Madre on the opposite side.
Meanwhile, Peak 2 can be accessed from Magalang, Pampanga. In either trails, the ‘balding’ of the mountain is evidenced by the intense heat of the sun. Still, some forests survive and therein, monkeys continue to roam free. You can hear their calls along the last leg of the trail. There are also sightings of wild boar, local civet (musang), and native birds. A separate article for this trail is under construction.
NPA scare continues to scare hikers from climbing Arayat, but there is now military presence in the trails, and the last pockets of NPA resistance were subjugated in 2002. Thus Arayat remains one of the most exciting hiking destinations in Luzon.
Last April 3, 2014, my friends and I planned to have a trip in Mt. Arayat.
Departure Date: April 5, 2014 05:30 am
Mode of transportation: Bike 🙂
Suppose time of arrival: 08:00 am ( but we arrived there at 10:00am)
This trip was very fun and exciting because my friends will be there for the first time. I have been there last 2011 and this was my 2nd time. We bring our own packed lunch, water, extra T-shirts and of course money and cellphones. We were only 4 but we really enjoyed it. We begin our trip at my friend’s house in Sulivan, Baliwag, Bulacan. We checked there our bikes and the stuffs that we needed to bring. We begin our ride at 05:30 am. Our first stop over was at 7/11 in Candaba, Pampanga. We bought there our extra water and foods. We were just using Map in my cellphone because i already forgot the way and directions in Mt. Arayat. So this was happened to us, we got lost because we travel in wrong direction HAHAHA. My friends are really annoyed at me. We travel in a very long road and the sun was starting to rise because it’s already 7 o’clock in the morning. We feel tired so we decided to stop by in a tree. My friend decided to asked the residents where is the nearest way to Mt. Arayat but we were shocked because they said that the way we were traveling was to Cabiao, Nueva Ecija HAHAHA. We were just lucky because there’s a shortcut in the farmland or “Bukid”. Even though it was already hot and rocky road we decided to start biking again in shortcut so that we can arrived there on time. To make it short, we arrive there at 10:00am.
Road to Mt. Arayat Peak
We continue our biking until we reach the dead end of the road. We registered in DENR Information center and we park there our bikes. We start trekking at 10:30 am.
Start of our Trekking
When we got tired, we ate our lunch under the trees where there’s a clean water flowing from the mountain.
When we are heading to the peak, i feel saddened because we saw kaingins, they were burning trees in Mt. Arayat :(. It was very hot there because there were no trees that were protecting us from the sunlight.
We didn’t reach the top because my friends decided to go back because they were already tired. So we take our last shot in Mt. Arayat.
Mt. Arayat View near the peak 🙂
After our adventure in Mt. Arayat, we went to Mt. Arayat National park where there’s a swimming pools and stores.
Swimming at Mt. Arayat National park
After that, we went back home safe and we arrived at 04:30 pm.
If you are going to travel, make sure that you are physical and mentally prepared. You must be in good condition so that you can enjoy your travel adventure. 😀
Thanks for reading my article. 🙂