No man has ever hiked the same mountain twice, for in every hike, the experience is never repeated.If you're a constant reader of this blog, then you know for sure that Mt. Makiling (a MakTrav dayhike) is the blogger's personal favorite. But did you know that there's a mountain up north that gives an equivalent thrill as MakTrav? If Mt. Makiling is to south, for me, Mt. Arayat is to north. I don't think I will ever get tired of hiking both Makiling and Arayat, my favorite mountains, my training grounds.
Last Sunday (Jun 2, 2013), I did a traverse, yet again, on Mt. Arayat — same route (Magalang to Arayat). Well, it never gets old, the excitement, fun and thrill that I felt more than a year ago during my first Arayat Traverse is exactly the same feelings that I felt on my fourth.
So what happened on my 4th Mt. Arayat Traverse? here's a quick run through:
Commute to the jump-off
Catching the Magalang-bound jeeps early in the morning (5-6 AM) is quite a challenge you know, That's why in my previous traverses on Mt. Arayat, we always end up taking a hired vehicle (van/jeep) from the drop-off points (either SM Pampanga or Dau Bus Terminal) to the jump-off in Brgy. Ayala, Magalang.
But last Sunday, we reached the Magalang jump-off purely by commute. hurrah! From Manila, we traveled by bus (4:30 AM trip bound for Olongapo) to San Fernando, fare was P102 and travel time was about 2 hours. It was around 6 AM when we alighted the bus in front of SM Pampanga. There, we were advised by the taho vendor to wait for the first Magalang-bound jeep coming from the bayan of San Fernando as it will arrive anytime soon. The jeep did arrive after 30 minutes or so, fare from SM Pampanga to Magalang was P35, travel time was about 30 minutes. Lastly, at Magalang town, we rode a trike (terminal is located a few blocks from Magalang Municipal Hall) to the jump-off at Brgy. Ayala. Fare was P70 if until the Campo (registration site), P100 if until the end of the concrete road.
A 2nd registration site at the jump-off
It wasn't there the last time I did Arayat Trav!
Originally, when climbing Mt. Arayat, you would have to register twice, first at the military camp at the base of the mountain and second at the communication tower at the north peak. No required fees. But last Sunday, surprisingly, there's now a 2nd registration site at the base of Mt. Arayat, located at the trail head of Magalang Trail.
This 2nd registration site was put up by DENR after their recent visit/inspection in Mt. Arayat. Again, no registration fees needed.
|DENR station at trail head of Mt. Arayat|
New Trail vs Traditional Trail
Roots, rocks and boulders — I think these are the words that would best describe the traditional trail. Perhaps, 70% of the whole traditional trail is made up of these.
|boulders and rocks...|
|and a combination of the three.|
|huge boulders along the trail to white rocks view deck|
|the White Rocks view deck offers a view of the plains of Central Luzon. |
But in this photo, look at the insolence of some of the visitors of Mt Arayat.
The New Trail (or Poste Trail), on the other hand, will take you directly to North Peak, bypassing the White Rock, thus a quicker route. It is, however, not as scenic as the traditional trail, quite unremarkable, and purely ascending.
|The new trail (poste trail). This photo was taken during my third Arayat traverse last November 2012.|
We accidentally have taken the trail which was, by that time, newly created. An account of my 3rd Arayat traverse in this link.
Past the talahiban area, the single trail will diverge into two, to the left is the New Trail and to the right is the Old Trail. A kubo will serve as your landmark.
|the single trail will diverge into two once you see this kubo.|
|this photo, taken from my hike last Nov 2012, shows where the old and new trails meet again.|
Yellow Arrow = Traditional Trail
Blue Arrow = New Trail
Hikers This Way
Another change that I noticed in my 4th Arayat hike is that the military camp at the north peak now has a perimeter fence. Hikers are no longer allowed to get near the communication tower, and are rerouted towards a new trail on the side.
|Hikers that way!|
North Peak - Haring Bato - South Peak - View Deck - Brgy. Juan Baño
Trekking from North Peak to South Peak is as refreshing as ever. I won't be discussing much in this post, just look at the photos that follow!
|View from the North Peak. click the photo to enlarge.|
Time: we reached the area at 11:00 AM and left at 11:45 PM
|Pampanga and Zambales mountains (Mt. Pinatubo) as viewed from Mt. Arayat's Haring Bato.|
Time: 12:37 PM
|The 80 degrees boulder challenge, this is my most favorite part in the whole traverse.|
Time: 12:45 PM
|At the grassy South Peak.|
Time: 01:20 PM
|this view deck is probably Mt. Arayat's ultimate photo ops. We spent more than 30 mins here taking selfie and groupie photos|
Time: we reached the area at 01:30 PM, and left at 02:10 PM
|Descending the exciting trail of Mt. Arayat (southern side)|
Time: 02:55 PM
|Concrete road again at Brgy. Juan Baño! Finished the traverse after 8 hours.|
Time: 04:05 PM
Another hike in Mt Arayat has been completed. Yahoo! Salamat sa mga kasama ko sa hike na ito.
Read also my previous hikes in Mt. Arayat. Check them out!