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One major climb, indeed!
It was mid-September when my group, J-Hikers and Friends, decided to go through our first ever major climb. We were brave enough to face the lonely mountain of the north, Mt. Arayat!
It was a Sunday when we went there. Luckily, we had a private car so the travel going to Arayat, Pampanga was fairly easy. Before heading to the north, make sure to know at which jump-off point would you want to start the hike as there were two of them. We decided to try the traditional trail, the one with the longer trek but with the more rewarding view. We started at Magalang and finished at the Arayat side.
The registration fee of P20/person was paid after we finished the climb. Apart from that, the guide fee of P1500/group was the only expense that we had, not counting in the food and drink expenses though.
The hike started as we entered the Mount Arayat National Park and it was really peaceful, pretty and serene while we were trekking. Compared to other mountains that I've visited, this one has a few visitors so I can say that it seems virgin and not that much loitered yet. The trail at the beginning will give you the feels as if you're entering a rainforest that's really cool wherever you go. As we walk through, we passed by the stations of the cross, the spot that most people visit during the Holy Week. From hereon, we slowly felt that we're ascending despite not having to go through purely assault trails. We entered mostly rainforest areas where we got to enjoy and savor the feeling of being inside Mother Nature with the calmness and kindness of the weather.
After a matter of 3 hours, we reached the Puting Bato where we got to see the view of the North Peak which was 1 hour away from us by then. In this area, it's as if we could almost touch the clouds and we were so close to them. At around 9 or 10AM, it was still quite foggy here. After resting for a bit, we continued trekking to the north summit and finally reached it, right in time for lunch. We were welcomed by a worn-out but nice hut where we rested for a while and afterwards enjoyed the plain and simple summit which gave us an overlooking view of a part of Pampanga. From here, we saw how far is the South Peak from there but we didn't give up, no!
After re-energizing, we headed for more adventure and started the descend - ascend - descend - ascend - descend patterns leading to the the summit at the south part. The more challenging part came in, that's when we needed to go down the steep trails, not having anything to hold on to. We got improvised bamboo trekking poles to avoid is from slipping and breaking every bit of our bones and yea, they were helpful. Better to be slow and sure to avoid injuries.
We were a bit slow at this part because we also passed through a 90 degree ascend where we literally carried our weights just to reach the too. Upon nearing the south summit, we felt relieved as we were all getting so tired after passing through boulders and steep trails. The view from the summit was extra rewarding given that you get to see a beautiful skyline decored with the greens and oranges of nature.
After savoring every bit of the view and the fresh air that came with it, after having light snacks, we started the trek going down and I must say, the challenge was yet to come! The trail going down was crazy challenging given the steepness of the trails. It took us almost 4 hours to go down and it was even harder when the rain poured at around 7pm, when we were near the jump-off point. It cost us our patience and determination altogether but luckily, we all made it alive and grateful for another successful hike that we conquered!
After the climb, you can go to the resort near the jump-off point to freshen up before traveling back home. For every bath, you need yo pay 50php. We didn't pay any parking fees to as compared to other mountains like Batulao and Marami.
Despite the really challenging descent, Mt. Arayat is definitely a must visit mountain most especially if you wanna prep for another major climb which can be named as the MakTrav. The experience was fulfilling and I would certainly be more excited to do more major hikes because of this one.
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My birthday climb!
March 19, 2016🔹Dayhike🔹Traverse
1030 MASL (10kms)🔹Specs: Major climb
Indeed an amazing climb organised by Bacpackers Outdoor Adventure. Great views and cool people.
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I liked it.
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Have you ever heard a mountain called "Aray-at Sakit"?
Mt. Arayat is one of the hardest mountains I've climbed. It was an overnight camping. We arrived in Magalang,Pampanga at noontime. We went to the DENR to register. One needs to pay 50. 00 per capita for the registration fee. We heard negative comments about the place so we decided to get a host. The host regular rate is 500.00 pesos for a dayhike, but since it was an overnight camping, we paid 1,500 pesos talent fee which made me think twice to resign from my work and apply as a host.
There are two trails here. We took the old trail which was more difficult than the other one. Well, to be honest, the host didn't inform us about the new trail because that's just for those folks guarding the cellsite atop.
First thing first! There is no water source here. I suggest to bring 5 liters of water enough for an overnight camping. I would recommend to buy jelly ace as water substitute while trekking. In addition, do not eat chocolates while trekking why? because it makes you thirsty so avoid that!
Along the trail, you'll see station of the cross. This place is full-packed during "Mahal na Araw" which made this place popular. Some catholic folks believed that this place is very sacred. So many rich stories about this mountain which added more excitement to the visitors. Well,I can share it here,but it will take 20 bottles of beers to say it all Lol!
After passing the holy station of the cross, the calvary started. The demon servant named "Cobra" welcomed and greeted us.. duh! Not afraid at all even if you show off your ugly tongue.
After passing the old "Kubo",it was purely ascend going to the summit. It took us 6 hours to reach the summit because we took so many stop overs. We didn't even take more photos because we were tired and no time to smile.In addition, there's nothing spectacular view just branches of trees and not-so-tall grasses along the trail.
You know the hardest part of mountain climbing is when you're not prepared. Due to the difficulty, one of the participants fell down because he landed his step on a sharp -cut -tree. I had no choice but to bring his bag to the summit ( Kargador lang)… It was really difficult! I didn't imagine that I made it with two bags and the trail was so steep. I had to hold on branches of trees, crawled like a baby, maintained balance.
After hours of ascend trekking, we reached the summit. The CAFGU's guarding the site welcomed and assisted us. They offered GIN and LAMBANOG as a pain reliever. It was my first time drink gin and lambanog partnered with buko juice.. my comment? Hmmm.. yeah! t'was good! If you can only see my reaction after drinking,but I had no choice..."Act like A local"
We cooked a lot of food. The CAFGU's are allowed to do bonfire. We cooked adobo, Sinigang, Ginataang Tilapia, etc for dinner.
After eating dinner, we got a chance to meet each other. We asked the host about this mountain. The CAFGU's also shared some stories. They said they're here to guard the cellsite because some locals are trying to steal those bakal and sell it to junkshop. They also told us that they stayed for a week and another team will take over in maintaining the safety of the place.
Once at the summit, you will see the whole Pampanga province. You'll see taller buildings of Makati. A spectacular viewdeck, 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. Flies, mosquitoes, and other insects abound in Arayat; Off lotion is a must. Make sure to bring a reliable tent here because wind at night is strong.I don't recommend dome tent, use tadpole tent, it's perfect here! The NPA issue scared us, but the CAFGU's were there which made us feel comfortable and safe.
Photo: that's me carrying two bags going to the summit.
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1030 MASL (North Peak). 1008 MASL (South Peak). Day hike. Pampanga. 01 May 2014.
This is how we spent Labor day - we scaled Mt. Arayat, traversed from Brgy. Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga to San Juan Bano, Arayat, Pampanga. No available guide/s and we opted not to get one anyway since 1200php/guide. Too expensive to split between three hikers! My gulay.
Steep ascent. Steep descent. Boulder after boulder. Scrambling parts. Rappel part. Assault after assault. We passed by one too many landslide areas, some of which blocked the trail. It wasn't hard to follow the trail from the North Peak. Thanks to the trail ribbons; though some were camouflaged with the tree branches. We added a few though. Puso lang. <3
The view from the South Peak was spectacular...better than the North Peak. The Philippine flag at the South Peak was tattered as opposed to the one hoisted up at the North Peak. The view from the Haring Bato is also remarkable. One can see the flat land that is Central Luzon. Well, except for the distant mountains of Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales and Tarlac.
I am happy that I get to explore what was once my Lolo's playground. Too bad we can't exchange stories anymore. Just the same...Dad Ely, may kwentong Arayat na rin ako at napa-aray ako ng VVL. :)
Thank you Paolo and Jan! Thank you din sa mababait na tao sa DENR Magalang at Arayat, lalo na sa mga police na naka-station sa North Peak.
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