ARAYAT, Pampanga - It always brought me to amazement everytime I put glance on this lonely mountain during my trips in Central Luzon and up north. He seems so immovable in the midst of vast plains, sturdy and as if a proud gent chinned-up-standing-tall. I learned stories about it, those mystical experiences by its spectators, legendary folklores told by the locals and historical facts, made me more curious of what it feels like delving around it.
Finally, after months of mound-less trips which was focused on island hopping, exploring beautiful beaches and got my sun-kissed-skin, walking city tour, heritage site visits, witnessed a colorful festival, museums and galleries, I was then back on mountains. And this time, my yearning for Mt. Arayat materialized.
This climb was organized by Dewi, a climbing buddy in our SMB Mountaineers group. But just to make clear, it is not an official climb of SMB. The group was composed OF 10 individuals (Dewi, Ma'am Riz and a friend, Mark, Syene, Sir Mike, Roshan, Tanya, Jayson and yours truly).
We left Metro Manila at 3 AM from our meet up point in Robinson's Pioneer going to Magalang, Pampanga through our hired van. We reached Magalang after 2 hours and started our ascend at 6 AM.
We trekked through the huge boulders with grown up roots alight on the trail. The trail was gradually steep on the first 2 hours. Arayat resembles Makiling in some aspects. I noticed that the forest in this mountain is well preserve. Apir!
Take five! The rest of the Aray-at gang!
We had a perfect weather for that trek. Just enough rainfall on the early morning that cooled down the surroundings. After 2 more hours we arrived at north peak.
At North Peak a military camp was nestled. We had our water break and eat some of our baon. After an hour, we proceeded on the next phase of this traverse--on the South peak.
The group at South Peak view deck.
After the photo ops, our knee-cap breaking descend began. What best also in Mt. Arayat, is the trail has lot of boulders to step on and roots to hold on. It is technical in someways because in some portion, one have to rope to help bring you down but it is manageable. The type of weather we had on this trek is just perfect. I think summer would be the best season to explore this mountain. I can't imagine how it feels like climbing it during wet season. It could be dangerous at malamang sa malamang isusumpa ko to! Hehehe!
At 4PM, we finally reached the end of the trail. In the last part of the trail, we trail-ran until the end.
Indeed, there is always a feeling of longing in the place where you was born. My passion for travel began on mountains, in Pico de Loro/Mt. Palay palay specifically. It is where I realized that there's oneness between me and nature. Then, I discovered that this country where we live in is surreal beautiful that it urged me to explore more of her.
Mountain is where I feel more alive, living and I feel like carefree as birds in the sky. It is where my soul could play boundlessly. And no matter how I tried to avoid the mountains, a voice would reverberate on my ears hollering me. It is my first love, a true love that will be my forever refuge.
To Aray-at peeps, Salamat for this fun climb. Hard but I enjoyed it really. Sa uulitin!
Photo credits to Syene Acosta and Roshan Karnani.
This fun climb happened on 24th of May.