Climbing Mt. Arayat Traverse, Pampanga

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 Justin Vawter 32 Comments



Okay. First things first. This is my third climb of the year and now I can finally say, I'm addicted to climbing. There's just something about it that's so addictive. And with this climb, I realized that climbing is more than just the view at the summit but the experience itself. The trail. Meeting people along the way. The I-wanna-give-up-let's-go-back-now moments. All of it. It's just what makes the whole climb worth it.

Two weeks ago, I was invited by a friend to join them on their climb at Mt. Arayat Traverse in Pampanga. Being the adventurer kind of person, I instantly said yes. Plus, it would be nice to meet new friends (I don't know anyone from this climb personally. It was my first time meeting them actually). And so our trip started. Anyways, here's some details about Mt. Arayat Traverse.


Entry point: Brgy. Ayala, Magalang, Pampanga
Exit point: Brgy. Juan Bano, Arayat, Pampanga
LLA: 15.2067N, 120.7441E, 1030 MASL
Days required / Hours to summit: 1-2 days / 5 hours (NP) 8 hours (SP)
Specs: Major climb, Difficulty 5/9, Trail class 1-4 (10kms)
Features: Tropical forest, scenic views of Central Luzon 
This traverse, with its difficulty comparable with that of a Maktrav, takes you to the two peaks of Mt. Arayat: North Peak (Peak 1; 1030 MASL) and South Peak (Peak 2; 1008 MASL). Between these peaks is a ridgeline where much of the difficulty of the traverse lies. After 3 hours, its back to the familiar, forested Peak 2 of Mt. Arayat. At the North Peak, which serves as the campsite of an overnight traverse, the view is 270 degrees, and encompasses the Central provinces of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, and Bataan. The landmark here is the police outpost / tower. On the other hand, there is a viewdeck near the South Peak where a more southern view may be seen. Between these two peaks stand the major geographic feature of the mountain - the 'White Rock' which is visible from Magalang and other towns in Pampanga. Legend has it that this stone was hurled by the mythical personification of Mt. Pinatubo.

Mt. Arayat Traverse

For this climb, our budget is Php 700. Call time was 3:00 am at Victory Liner Bus Station Cubao. Don't get confused though. There are 2 Victory Liner stations, one is in Cubao (Southbound, this is where you should go) and the other one is in GMA-Kamuning (Northbound). Unfortunately, it took us around 2 hours before we were able to ride a bus going to San Fernando, Pampanga. We rode a Bataan Transit bus at exactly 4:50 am and arrived at SM Pampanga by 6:21 am. Bus fare is Php 102 (regular) and Php 82 (student). From there, you will ride a jeep going to Magalang. Fare is Php 37. Drop off at Jollibee Magalang (it's in front of Magalang Municipal Hall). You can have your breakfast there first.

Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse

Just across Jollibee, there's a tricyle station which will take you to the jump off in Ayala. Fare is Php 120 per tricyle (Php 40 each, 4 persons per trike). Upon arrival, you have to walk uphill to reach the registration area. You will pass the stations of the cross. Registration is Php 20.

Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse

The Road to the summit (North Peak)


Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse


The secret of perseverance? LOVE. Fall in love and you will never leave him. Hugot Sa Arayat!!!

Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse



We reached the White Rocks after 2 hours of trekking. It's a perfect spot to take photos. You'll find a scenic view of Pampanga. From there, we reached the summit after 2 more hours. The summit is flat and it's a perfect for camping. There's also a hut where you can take your lunch.

Mt. Arayat Traverse
Mt. Arayat Traverse


THE ROAD TO THE SUMMIT (South PEAK)


Mt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat Traverse
If you think the trail to the North Peak is easy, wait till you get to the South Peak. This is probably the hardest trail I've had. It's just crazy. No wonder it's a major climb. Time to descend. We arrived at the jump off by around 5:16 pm.

Mt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat Traverse

Evelio sleeping on the trail.

Mt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat Traverse

The place where the concrete road and mountain trail meets. Brgy. San Juan Baño jump off.

From the jump off, you can choose to walk or ride a tricycle going downhill. Fare costs Php 10. From there, you can take a shower for Php 20 or swim at the pool for Php 70. Based on other blogs, you can ride a tricyle going to the city proper then take a jeep back to SM Pampanga and then bus to Cubao. But since it started raining heavily right after we reached the jump off (there was a storm), we decided to take the offer of a local and rented a van which costed us Php 250 each + toll fee (there were 13 of us)

Mt. Arayat Traverse

Portraits on the trail


You know how much I love taking photos especially portraits. Well, why not do it on the trail? Here are some of the shots I took during our climb. (Photography: Justin Vawter, Model & Post Processing: Evelio Barion)

Mt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat TraverseMt. Arayat Traverse
11221074_10204290188354783_403059348_o
The awesome people I met during this climb. (From left: Aj, John, Evelio, Sarah, Mary Jane, me!!, Er, Jerico, CeeJay, Mitch, Nella, Jayson, Mac and the photobomber lol!)


ITINERARY


0300 Assembly at Victory Liner Cubao EDSA south bound.
0400 ETD Terminal
0500 ETA SM Pampanga
0530 Take jeep bound to Magalang
0630 ETA Magalang Jollibee, breakfast, take tricycle to Brgy. Ayala (jump off)
0730 Commence trek
1100 ETA North Peak (summit), lunch
1200 Resume trek, head to South Peak via ridge
1300 ETA Haring Bato
1400 ETA South Peak
1430 Descent
1630 ETA Bgy. San Juan Baño, Arayat
1730 Take tricycle to bayan, then jeep to SM Pampanga
1800 ETA SM Pampanga, dinner/snacks/post-climb
2000 ETA Manila



*we based our itinerary from pala-lagaw

Budget



Bus from Cubao to SM Pampanga = Php 102 / 82 (student)
SM Pampanga jeep to Magalang = Php 37
Tricyle to Ayala (jump off) = Php 120/tricyle (Php 40 each, 4 persons/tricycle)
Registration Fee = Php 20
Guide (Traverse) = Php 1500 (Php 120 each, 13 persons) *if you're just going for the North Peak and not the traverse, guide costs Php 800
Tricycle to San Juan Baño = Php 10
Shower fee = Php 20
Van to Cubao = Php 250 each + toll fee

Total Expense: Php 659.00

P.S. I'm still working on the video I took during our climb. It's my first time doing such that why it's taking a bit long. Plus, my summer is filled with travel trips that's why I'm having a hard time to finish it. And by the way, I'll be climbing Mt. Pamitinan with a side trip to Wawa Dam in a bit so expect a guide post about it soon. Here's to more travel adventures~!


Life is too short to live without adventure


Cheers~!

- Justin -

32 comments:

  1. Great trip report. I hope to use your route later this year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can almost feel that cold breeze coming from the mountains.

    ReplyDelete
  3. it's pretty hot actually because it's summer. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You are indeed piling in the mountains you've climb. The view here is awesome. I like traverse portions of the mountains as it gives you different peeks of the mountain.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The photos won't load. :( Anyway, I want to experience a climb but I don't know how to start. When I saw this on our FB , I wanted to tell you that I want to join but I have no courage apart from gears and all. I'm just here in Pampanga but i haven't tried climbing Arayat. :(

    ReplyDelete
  6. Indeed! Looking forward to more climbs. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awww. Too bad the photos won't load. I'll try to fix it so that it will load faster. You should join us soon! It's a nice experience

    ReplyDelete
  8. It must have been more than a good day when you when to Mt. Arayat. I love all your photos - gorgeous blue skies and perfect greens. I would want to do this soon. It's a different kind of adventure.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mt. Arayat means a great day as I see. Your photos are amazing, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  10. amazing trek! and your photos were simply amazing... how I wish you've just put some captions in it :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awesome photos as usual! I don't think climbing mountains will ever be my thing but I can imagine how satisfying it probably is to climb one.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I could see from your photos that you had a lot of fun. Your adventures looks so amazing. It makes me want to get my backpack right now and venture at Mt. Arayat too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I haven't tried climbing.. feeling ko hindi ko kaya but I think it's all worth it when you get to the top and see the scenic view.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm not much of a climber now..I used to when I was younger. Thanks for poeple like you that we somehow get to experience these even by just reading your post.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, it's me! I was laughing when I saw that "photo". Really man? Why'd you have to do this to me. Haha. Now help me blog, I am loving your site. **claps**

    ReplyDelete
  16. required po ba ang guide ser?..kaya po ba tumawid sa south peak ng walang guide..plano po namin mag hike dito sa june..we'll be follow ur itineray ser..tnx po

    ReplyDelete
  17. Love all the pics. Made me feel like I'm there with you which is perfect since I don't think I can do this climb myself. Galing!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Noel. Guide is required especially sa traverse. Medyo nakakalito kasi ang trail. Do tag me sir once umakyat kayo. I would love to check it out. Enjoy and God Bless on your climb! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. hahaha. ikaw kasi eh nagpose ka pa. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  20. thank you for your sweet words Michelle :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. it really is worth it. nakakapagod but once you reach the top, mawawala lahat ng pagod mo.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Go ahead and climb Mt. Arayat! It really is a nice place

    ReplyDelete
  23. Meeky Mulberry1 June 2015 at 12:51

    Hope to hike this place soon and wish it will be the same with you guys in Daraitan! It really looks challenging and I'm getting more and more excited :3

    ReplyDelete
  24. I miss my mountaineering days. And you're right, there came a point that it's so addicting you'd want to climb weekly hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Haha reminds me of my Mt. Arayat climb. It was my first time to try it, after an hour or so I started asking, 'bat ko ba pinapahirapan sarili ko? sarap bumalik. but reaching the summit is such a wonderful feeling. Parang gusto kong gawing weekly habit ang pag akyat. nice travel tho :)

    ReplyDelete