Friday, February 01, 2008

Pampanga: Hiking in Mt. Arayat

Mount Arayat towers over Pampanga. And you definitely cannot miss it since it's the only mountain you'll see in the plains of Pampanga as you drive along the NLEX. Ever thought of climbing it? Well, there are two ways to get up. The first is via the Mt. Arayat National Park in Arayat, Pampanga. While the second is via the town of Magalang, near the Pampanga Agricultural College.

This mystic mountain has always been an important symbol in Kapampangan folklore being the home of Aring Sinukwan, the legendary deity of the ancient Kapampangans. There is also a thriving Rizalista community in the Arayat side. I was able to visit their shrine several years back.

We did an ocular inspection of Abe's Farm last Sunday in preparation for our tour next week. And we decided to hike up Mt. Arayat. Since we arrived late, reaching the summit was out of the question. So we had to settle for a resting area called 7-11, an hour away from the jump-off point. It's called 7-11 because there is a convenience store there.

From there, you could see the famous White Rock, a rock formation seen from afar and which is more defined during the summer months when the plant growth dries up exposing it completely. You also have a view of Pampanga but not as spectacular as from the summit where you'll be afforded views of the Pampanga River meandering towards Manila Bay.

For the Magalang side, you can arrange for guides with the Pampanga Agricultural College or Abe's Farm. They charge PHP1,000 per guide and they usually come in pairs, one in front and one at the end. But you can try negotiating with them too.

Related posts
An afternoon in Abe's Farm

Up, up and away in Pampanga

Rio Grande de Pampanga
Wandering around the Candaba Bird Sanctuary
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