Mount Arayat Experience (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)

This is the second mountain and first major I have conquered. I’m still a newbie in this outdoor thing. There are still a lot to climb and things to learn. Some people don’t like the idea of getting exhausted and the possibility of getting into an accident. Yes, there are risks, as a matter of fact, it does not matter where you are or what you do.

Any adventure you do can be tiring and dangerous but remove that negativity and fear, it is very rewarding–spiritually and mentally.

We are about 28 individuals who hiked. We arrived at the jump-off at around 10:20 – 10:30 am and began to hike shortly after. We took the north peak in our ascent to Mount Arayat. Along the trail, sir Mike, caught up with us halfway carrying two backpacks. The other backpack is from his wife. Take note that this is not “pack light” as we are staying overnight. I offered some help to alternately carry the bag which he agreed. I thought it would be a training for my next climb. We also have a foreigner with us from Mexico and he said he has been traveling around the world for 2 years. Man, I wish I could travel around the world too. His name is Daniel.

We arrived at the summit between 2:00 – 3:00 pm. I was not able to record the exact time but they said we did it about 4 to 5 hours. It’s funny though that there is a police station at the summit. Some say they are there to protect the mountain from Government rebels (NPA). At the top, you have a 180-degree view of the city below. Personally, I like it during night time when you can see the city lights as well as the stars.

Time is indeed fast, one moment we were having lunch and the next thing, we were cooking dinner. We had adobo, sisig, and sinigang. The sisig and sinigang was care of sir Ulo and sir Mike.

We socialized after we had dinner. Yes, that included booze.

Rise And Shine

I had enough sleep but the coldness makes me want to sleep more but it’s time to wake up, make breakfast and get ready to descend. Photo-ops first before descending of course.

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This is a traverse so we took the south peak in our descend. Not very far from where we camped, someone took a dump along the trail and was not able to bury it deep enough that it surfaced when someone stepped on it. It was unpleasant to our eyes and nose.

I was kind of paranoid that some might think it was me since I too, had a call of nature. Though I made it far from the trail and buried it deep and properly covered, I still feel they suspect me.

South peak is harder than the north peak. There’s a ridge, almost 90 degrees, to climb down and a couple of climbs that your face is nearly kissing the ground. Slipping is not an option at the south peak. There’s also a lot of vines with thorns. Some had punctured bags and tents because of this.

We had our lunch at the south peak campsite where there’s a wonderful view deck.

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Water

At this point, all of us have little to no none water left (another lesson learned). It was fortunate that it rained. Not that heavy but enough to wet the leaves where I can somehow sip from them.

Going down with the lack of water made me appreciate more about the little things and be grateful for what we have. Without water, all I can think was, when we get down, I’ll eat watermelon, ripe mangoes, a burger, and drink a gallon of water. I have never craved this much.

This thirst made me think about life, about how lucky we are alive. I am very thankful for this journey in life.

Thank you to Travel Tipid for the event.

image source: Tony Wong

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