Mount Arayat is a beautiful volcano in Pampangas, north of Manila. I've seen it plenty of times from the highway during the last four years, and finally it was time to climb it.
Summit log:10-Feb-2013: Mt Arayat North Peak 1026 m (prominence 1000 m)
10-Feb-2013: Mt Arayat South Peak 1004 m (prominence 70 m)
Participants:Lyngve Skrede - Norway
Emily Homillano - Philippines
Getting there:From Manila take a bus to San Fernando, then a jeepney to Magalang. Here you can hire a tricycle to Brgy. Ayala where the trailhead is located. Magalang is also easy accessible from Angeles City by jeepney or tricycle. We hired a tricycle from our hotel in Angeles City and all the way to the trailhead, more expensive of course but far better in terms of an early start.
Red tape:No permit or local guide is required if you start from north (Brgy. Ayala). Starting from the south (San Juan Bano) is a different matter, because there you have to pay a registration fee and they will also require you to take a local guide. So better start the traverse from north to avoid this hassle. Mt Arayat is notoriously known because of NPA activity (communist rebels) in the past, but nowadays it's considered safe. There is also an army camp on the summit to improve security.
Route description:From the trailhead (elevation 160 m) in Brgy Ayala it's 4 km on an excellent trail to the north peak, which is the highest point on Mt Arayat. The trail is easy to follow because there are electrical posts along the trail all the way to the north peak. You will need to register your name at the army camp on the summit. The summit is a big flat area with awesome views in all directions. It must be a really nice place to pitch a tent if you are on a two days itinerary. From the north peak you can continue the traverse to the south peak, a distance of 1.2 km on a recently established trail. Halfway into the traverse, there is a short rock section which can be a bit tricky to down climb. The final uphill to the south peak is very steep, but there is plenty of roots and branches to hold on to. On the south peak there is absolutely no views at all, because of tall grass and bushes. But you can continue a couple of minutes to the campsite then do a short side trip to the interesting view-deck. Take a few minutes to enjoy the fantastic views of Pampangas. From the view-deck backtrack to the campsite and start the easy descent to San Juan Bano (4-5 km). As soon as you hit the road, start to look for a tricycle which can bring you to the jeepney terminal. Then jump on a jeepney bound for Angeles City or San Fernando, both cities are well connected with Manila (by bus).
Link to my GPS-track at EveryTrail (also possible to download)
Notes from the trip:Emily has written a trip-report on her website. Thus I don't waste any further time to write my own personal account from this hike.