A little reflection…
I had the opportunity to hike Mt. Arayat in Pampanga for the first time last January 20, 2018. Since then, I’ve hiked it three more times (January 26, 31, and February 16). My brothers always ask me, “Why do you keep going back?”
The answer to this question is simple: Because there is always something new to see, feel, taste, hear, and smell every time I visit.
I haven’t climbed many mountains (landform, not on a personal level, because if we talk about the latter I’ve come across so many of that haha!) in my 28 years of existence, and I’m glad I’ve discovered this connection this year. Before Mt. Arayat, I got to hike for a fair bit, yet because of my outlook back then, I didn’t get to appreciate these trips as I do now.
Interestingly, I find it more difficult to climb mountains these days compared to when I first started doing it in 2012. I still run during the weekdays, but I guess it is gravity and poor nutrition taking over. However, even with this internal challenge, I look forward than ever before on taking these hikes. I guess in life if something clicks at the right time and space, then it will stick, no matter how much you want to push it against the puzzle.
Now, enough of me.
Let’s get down to business on how you can plan your trip! 🙂
Official name of mountain: Mt. Arayat
Address: Barangay Baño, Arayat, Pampanga
How to get there: Via private vehicle, navigate towards Mt. Arayat National Park, then go past the park’s entrance towards “Treetop.”
Before starting with your hike: You need to register at the jump-off point with the guides on duty.
Fees are as follows (as of March 2018):
- PHP 30/person (environmental fee)
- PHP 700 for up to 5 people for South Peak (local guide fee)
- PHP 1,500 for up to 5 people for Pinnacle (local guide fee)
- PHP 1,750 for up to 5 people for North Peak (local guide fee)
- There is no water source at Mt. Arayat. You have to bring enough water to sustain your entire hike.
- It is going to be hot on the first hour of the hike because of Mt. Arayat’s open areas, so wearing a cap or hat, and light long sleeves or arm sleeves is a must.
- Toilets are not available along the trail. They are only available at the jump-off point.
- There is a small local store at the jump-off point where you can purchase water, Gatorade, chips, and candies.
- Please bring a plastic bag for your own trash. It’s unfortunate that many hikers leave their trash along the trails. As any responsible hiker would know, what you bring to the summit, you must also bring with you when you get back.
- Please don’t haggle with the local guides’ prices. Many guides have this as their sole source of income. If you’re doing budget travel, save on other areas of your trip, not on the guides’ fees.
Why you must consider a trip to Mt. Arayat: Mt. Arayat, a protected virgin forest, is home to thousands of flora and fauna species. If you are lucky, you will come across monkeys wading on the sides of the trail, or the Philippine Eagle’s majestic songs. What an experience!
P.S. The keys to sustainable hikes are universal (lifted from The Leave No Trace Behind program): plan ahead and prepare | travel and camp on durable surfaces | dispose of waste properly | leave what you find | minimize campfire impacts | respect wildlife | be considerate of other visitors | listen to your gut ❤