The path to the jump-off is a known place for pilgrims during the Holy Week season. There are statues which serve as the markers for the “Stations of the Cross”. Climbing at 4am where our only light are from our headlamps, these statues can actually be freaky. Lol
At 6:30am, we managed to reach the campsite of North peak, and around 10am at the campsite of South Peak of Mt. Arayat. There, we had our lunch. Imagine how hungry we were by that time! Few minutes from the summit, we reached a view deck where you can see the snake river and vast fields of rice. At 11am, we left the peak to descend the mountain, and we reached the jump off point at about 2PM. After that, we went to Mt. Arayat National Park for some quick swim, then had our early dinner at San Matias Ihaw-ihaw Restaurant (Thank, Nei for the treat!) And yes, the whole trip back to Manila was a sleeping session for all of us tired hikers.
Tips for Mt. Arayat Traverse (North - South Peak)
- WATER WATER WATER – I’ve brought more than 2L of water. It was heavy, but you know, better safe than sorry.
Always bring more water than needed.
- GOOD SHOES - My second major hike meant another painful death for the shoes. This experienced just screamed at me to invest on my hiking gears.
- INSECT REPELLENT – lots of mosquitos in Arayat National Park. Best to spray some on while waiting for your turn to wash up, to reduce risk of mosquito bites.
- TRAIL FOOD – bring enough trail food to boost your energy throughout the hike.
- FIND YOUR PACE – there were moments during the descent when I almost felt like giving up because my legs and knees were seriously killing me. Just take your time.