First things first, Mt. Arayat is safe! Forget those myths about diwatas or tikbalang (half-man, half-horse creature) and also there are no NPA’s or rebels. It has been explained to us that those rumors were just made up to cover individuals who practice illegal logging and kaingin.
Mt. Arayat’s two peaks can be reached via Magalang – Arayat traverse. It has been categorized as a major climb with a difficulty of 5/9. The trek requires a lot of technicality with almost five hours going to the North Peak and eight hours going to the South one.
How to get there: Take a bus bound to Olonggapo for 120php at Victory Liner Cubao and ask the driver to drop you off at San Fernando Pampanga. From SM San Fernando, take a jeep plying Magalang route. From the terminal you can take a trike to the jump-off point in Brgy. Ayala, Magalang.
To make your life easy, you can hire a local jeepney driver to fetch you at San Fernando and drop you off at Brgy. Ayala. He can also do the same during your traverse in Brgy. Arayat and drop you at Dao Bus Station. I recommend Kuya Olympio, our uber kind on the spot driver and for the rate you can ask it with him directly but sure enough that he will quote just the right amount.
From the jump-off point, you will be welcomed by the Via Crucis or the Stations of the Cross. Just follow their lead and right after the 14th or the last station you can check on for green posts for guidance. You can also hire a guide in there that will serve as your porter as well. And Jason, our porter that time together with his pet “Putot” was able to lead us safely in and out of the mountains.
The trail is like a stage where you get to pass on easy one’s first until you reach the difficult level. There were times in where we need to squeeze ourselves through passages and hold on to our dear life on narrow ravines. But one thing’s for sure, Mt. Arayat made fun and somewhat-dangerous synonyms.
Those I have posted above were just some of the stages that you’re going to encounter before reaching the summit. They all look easy but wait ’til you get there. But no matter how you find the trail, it will all be worth it. The best portion for me of the North Peak is the White Rock, it is postcard-worthy! One can have a great view of Pampanga and the South Peak in there.
The traverse to the second peak is the most challenging part since you will take on downward slopes, 90 degrees stone wall and steep descent, there are portions wherein you need to cling on branches or roots in order to make it alive. But after reaching the campsite in Peak 2, everything will be in favor of you – yes, here comes the easy but long trail.
Itinerary: This is for a two-day trek taking the Magalang trail in Brgy. Ayala then the Magulang trail in Arayat the following day. You can start early if you want and the time here depends on your group’s pacing.
0900 – Take a transpo to take you to the Jump-Off point in Brgy Ayala
1000 – Climb Prep (Load Balancing and Final Check)
1200 – Arrival at the only water source
1300 – Lunch and Arrival at the White Rock
1500 – Camp Site of Summit 1
1600 – Dinner/Socials
0660 – Wake up call / Breakfast
0700 – Start trek to Summit 2
0900 – Arrival at the Boulder / White Rock
1100 – Arrival at the Summit 2 / Lunch
1200 – Continue trek
1500 – Arrival at DENR San Juan Banyo Arayat, Pampanga
1600 – Travel back to Manila
Things to bring: Liters of water though there is a water source available before the junction to the white rock and the summit. Mosquito repellent and trail food (power bars).
What to wear: It would be better if you wear pants or at least have a pair of long socks if you prefer wearing shorts since there are paths wherein you need to pass by grasses. And also to avoid plants/branches to bruise your legs. It would also be much better if you wear shoes instead of sandals but make sure of the soles since the path is slippery. You can bring with you a warmer to protect your hands and a jacket to make you warm during the night.
Contact Person: Mr. Olympio Galang (Jeepney Driver) at 09217255561 | Jason Guttierez (Guide / Porter) at 09353991633.
Full story of our experience here: Mt. Arayat Traverse