Link to the traverse here.
After coming back from Palawan and still had the itch to go out and explore nature, we decided to do an advanced hike, this was to supposed to be in 2014 and be either an overnight traverse or a day hike traverse, the only problem we had in planning was the logistics and no one in my group has done a traverse personally, all were just news and stories. So that being the baseline of our IT, I opted to scout Mt. Arayat with a team of beginners but with strong and young legs of steel.
We adjusted the IT so that we would reach the North Camp before dusk and have enough time to catch the sunset, at first the weather was playing with us, the trail was hot and dry all through out. We took an Olongapo Bound bus (Victory) on EDSA(southbound lane) fare was 102 php and it leaves every 30mins. We reached SM Pampanga, San Fernando a little over 2hrs of travel time. and went to the Jeepney Terminal bound to Magalang fare was 35 php. We reached the Jollibee land mark had our lunch there and went to the tricycle Terminal beside it and told them that Arayat was our destination, you can haggle for 20-25php per head just tell them until the concrete road ends, or hanggang DENR.
And plan your exit strategy here, exiting in magalang will be hard since no tricycles ever wait for passengers here, get the number of your tricycle and tell them to pick you up on your preferred time. We had to ask around a store if they can catch us a ride for us, they had only one tricycle on the garage so we were ok with 25php per head. There were 5 of us.
After hiking for an hour we reached a path just after the 14th station of the cross, where a the leaves are going to stab you. Wear some arm protection here or just avoid them. After another hour of hiking you'll be seeing a Hut, that has 2 paths ahead, the Left one is the Poste Trail or New trail, this is purely ascends since you will be only following the Electric posts. On the right trail however is the Traditional route, this path has more scenic views and access to White rock and the only water Source on the trail to North Peak. The water source is placed near the large area of boulders, a small path to the right.
Landslides are evident, some trees were uprooted and cleared along the trail, be extra careful when climbing, loose rocks and loose soil is common for the traditional trail. after an hour along the traditional trail you will see another path on the right and upon taking this path you will see a campsite, this is the path to the White Rock, it was closed during our climb for unknown reasons to us, but I decided to scout the area and bring one along for safety reasons, and indeed it was the path to white rock.
After 45 minutes of hiking up we reached the convergence point of the Traditional Trail and New Trail, it was only 15 minutes after we reached the Police Camp and they were very nice to us :)
We met Kayo Mountaineers along the trail, we first caught up with the tail of the group, they were a lively bunch! At the Camp, we caught up with their lead pack, they were already camped and preparing food for their dinner and we also did our preparations, it was a "Sakto sa IT" climb. The sun was hiding from us at first and wouldn't let us get a glimpse of its setting glory, we lost hope and rested for a bit, then she came out and showered us with warmth and beauty.
It was around 30 minutes later before the rest of the Kayo group reached the campsite, and wasted no time to setup their camp and cook their dinner. My group has finished eating and cleaning and decided to call it a night. 7pm. ang aga diba? We had our shut eye while the other group was busy cooking and it was one of their member's Birthday!
Morning came and did not caught any Sunrise glory, no clearing. until 7am and the summit cleared off, we could see the Sun lighting all the land below us, and the photo ops started, both groups decided to get photos.
They were doing the Arayat Traverse and they had to leave early, I on the other hand decided not to do it yet, one factor was we only have limited supplies left, 5L of water left after all the cooking = 1L for each of us, and not for underestimating my team but, we had beginners, I don't want them to get injured or get dehydrated along the way. So we took the New Trail down and reached DENR after 2hrs. This is also where we showered for 10php, had our snacks Turon(sarap) and nilagang itlog :)
After Showering we walked for another kilometer to where we got a ride back to Jollibee
0830 Assembly at Victory Liner Cubao EDSA south bound. Take bus passing San Fernando, Pampanga
1030 Alight at SM Pampanga
1045 ETD jeep bound to Magalang
1130 ETA Magalang Jollibee, Lunch take tricycle to Bry. Ayala (jump off), register
1230 Commence trek
1300 14th Station of the Cross, Take the upper left path
1345 Sharp leaves Area, North Peak and White rock is visible ahead
1400 Kubo, Take the left trail for the Poste trail or right for the Traditional trail
1545 White rock Junction (small path to the right of the traditional trail)
1600 White rock photo ops!
1615 Back to Traditional Trail
1900 Dinner Time!
2000 Tulugan na!
0500 Wake up, wait for sunrise.
0630 Coffee and breakfast
0830 Break Camp
0930 Start descend to new trail
1230 Start walking the concrete road and look for a ride
1330 Jollibee Magalang, Lunch
1400 Pasalubong buying.
1430 Jeepney Terminal besides Jollibee Sm San fernando
1530 Sm San Fernando, take bus to desired Destination (cubao lang ang nakikita ko haha, meron bataan)
we took bataan transit headed to cubao farmers
1730 Cubao Gateway
|Last Station of the Cross|
|Entering the thorny path|
|This is where the split to the traditional and new trail|
|View from White Rock|
|The White Rock|
|The Morning after, with Kayo Mountaineers|
|As Arayat Clears|
|DENR at base of Mt. Arayat|
|A long way from home.|