Central Luzon is famous for its plains but in the midst of it all is one mountain sticking out like a sore thumb – Mt. Arayat.
For the longest time, people avoid Mt. Arayat for the following reasons:
- NPA presence – there was none for the past years, unlike Mt. Talamitam or Mt. Batulao in Batangas that are closed regularly due to military encounters. Plus, there’s actually a military outpost at the summit of Mt. Arayat to ensure safety.
- Mosquitoes. Well, there’s no going around it. Use lots of anti-repellent and be fully covered.
- Atrociously high local guide fee. The trails are fairly easy to follow on one’s own, but I’d still rather not. The backtrail is around PHP800, the trav PHP1,500 (they say the PHP500 is for the tricycle back). It will be best if there’s at least 6 in your group so as to lessen the financial burden.
I strongly recommend going to Mt. Arayat – the vegetation, rocks, and the trav along the ridge is so worth it.
How to get there (from Manila)
- Take the Five Star bus to go to SM Pampanga (~PHP100-200?)
- Take the jeep to go to Magalang (PHP37). Trips start around 6am, and there’s no line so fight for your seat!
- Take the tricycle to go to jump off point (PHP60 per tricycle?)
- To go back, just take the tricycle to go back to the town proper and the jeep going back to SM Pampanga.
- Mosquito repellent is critical.
- Bring your own food and drinks – there’s no water source/store on the mountain.
- Gloves are optional.
- Do start early if going with a day hike – but bring headlamps to be safe.
- Haring Bato, I think, is 80-90 degrees. Hence bringing a guide for newbies is highly recommended.