Misty Mt. Arayat
Mount Arayat is an extinct stratovolcano on Luzon Island, Philippines, rising to a height of 1,026 meters (3,366 ft) There is no recorded eruption of the volcano, and its last activity probably dates to the Holocene era.
The volcano is located in a flat agricultural region at 15°12′N 120°45′E. The southern half of the mountain lies within the municipality of Arayat, Pampanga, while the north half and the mountain summit lies within Magalang, Pampanga. Ten miles to the west of Mount Arayat is Angeles City and the former Clark Air Base. Mount Pinatubo is located a further 16 km (10 mi) west. The volcano is a popular Tourist destination for people visiting the central plains.
It is considered a mystical mountain, the legendary home of Aung/Aring Sinukuan/Sinkuan/Suku or the Fairy known as diwata Mariang Sinukuan depending on which version of the story the readers or listeners prefer, but in ancient Kapampangan folklore as well as the research known to have been gathered by Kapampangan students of Henry Otley Beyer, it was and is the abode of Apung/Aring Sinukuan, rival of Namalyari of Mount Pinatubo, who is in varying versions, the son of Cargon-Cargon who was mortally wounded in a fight with a giant from the Zambales Mountain Range which is said to be the home of Apu Namalyari.
Mount Arayat stands in the middle of the flat Central Luzon Plain, consisting of rice paddies and a typical elevation of about 15 to 35 metres MSL. The mountain is topped by a circular volcanic crater about 1.2 km in diameter, much of which has collapsed on the western and part of the northern rim due to erosion. This has resulted in a breached crater which opens in a west-northwest direction. This area is the apparent source of a major debris-avalanche deposit that forms hummocky terrain beyond the west and northwest sides of the volcano. The 1026-metre summit stands on the northeast side of the breached crater, known as North Peak, while the 984-metre Pinnacle Peak is located on the southeast crater rim. Post-collapse activity formed an andesitic dome known as White Rock in the collapse amphitheater.
There are no cultural records of historical eruptions. However, weak steaming is currently present in some of the heavily eroded vents on the North Western side of the summit. The ancient eruptions were said to have caused the formation of a Lava Dome on the Western Slopes of the mountain known as White Rock which makes a nice tourist destination and is usually a field trip destination for students of Pampanga Agricultural College. The Arayat amphitheatre is said to have been caused by the summit's collapse on the western side but a much deeper crater is present on the eastern side, it was said that the mountain was once a volcanic island, until eruptions covered the surrounding area with soil, eruptions were said to be the possible cause of a theorized re-route of Pampanga River which is said to have once passed on the western side rather than eastern side where it currently moves.
Rock types are basalt and andesite. The only rocks reported to have been dated are 0.53 and 0.65 million-year-old basalts. These predate the crater collapse and formation of the lava dome known as White Rock, which could have occurred in the last 2000 years. The mountain which is believed to be several peaks merged at the top by some local people is actually a Single-Cone Stratovolcano.
Two trails lead to the peaks of Mount Arayat. Mount Arayat National Park Located at San Juan Baño in Arayat, Pampanga has a trail to the southern Peak, taking around 3–4 hours to reach the peak. The Southern Peak offers views of Central Luzon, including a view of Pampanga River. The collapsed western Slope that forms the other half of its Caldera like crater can also be seen. It offers a view of the mountains of Zambales and Bataan (to the west), and the mountains of the Sierra Madre range (to the east). The northern or higher Peak can be accessed on a route from Pampanga Agricultural College in Magalang, Pampanga, taking a similar time to reach the peak, however, this route takes you through the Arayat Amphitheatre and the so-called White Rock which legend claims to be the Home of Apung/Aring Sinukuan or Sinukuan.
Arayat in Folklore
The Mountain is said to be the home of the god/sorcerer named Sinukuan/Sinukwan or Sucu, which could mean "The end" or "he who others have surrendered to." The mountain was said to have been located in the swamp to its south but relocated because of the evil ways of those who lived there, in addition to which, the people of the swamp were made to suffer numerous misfortunes. Sinukuan is believed to be able to transform and do as he pleases at will, his only real rival being Namalyari of Mount Pinatubo. The waterfalls at Ayala in Magalang, Pampanga is said to be his bathing quarters, and it is often visited by tourists and natives alike. Sinukuan is said to live at the White rock, a Lava dome possibly formed by the last eruption, where its glimmering properties were most likely to have inspired the legend. Contrary to reality, the mountain is believed to be several mountains merging at the center including the tallest two peaks.
In other legends, Sinukuan is said to have bested Makiling of southern Luzon almost effortlessly unlike his arch rival Namalyari. Sinukuan is believed to have daughters who come down only during time of grace and are disguised as humans; Sinukuan himself can be disguised as human. The day he comes back is believed to either be when he responds to the attack of Namalyari on Mount Pinatubo's 1991 eruption or when the time to call his servants upon the end of the world has come.
Trek to Mt. Arayat - Best Time: March to May
A prominent and formation in the Central Plains of Luzon is the majestic Mt. Arayat. Located at Brgy San Juan Bano, Arayat, Pampanga. It is a dominant volcano with an area of 3,715.28 hectares. At the foot of the jump-off point for the trek is the Arayat National Park.
It takes a 40-minute drive via the North Luzon Express up to San Fernando, followed by an additional 30-minute drive to Arayat National Park, jump off point. From the park, it is a 2-km trek up the Tree House, where huts and houses can be rented for conferences and meetings. The place has the best view of the mountain and the surrounding area.
Two trails lead to the peak of Mr. Arayat: Mt. Arayat National Park has a trail to Peak 1.. This is the more popular trail, taking around 3-4 hours to climb. Peak 1 offers views of Central Luzon, including the Pampanga River, the mountains of and (W), and the mountains of the Sierra Madre range (E), Peak 2 can be accessed from Magalang, Pampanga, taking a similar time to negotiate.
A climb to the peak is rewarded with a dip in 3 freshwater pools.
Tour includes private transportation to and from Manila, local trekking guide, unch, bottled water. Optional birwatching program in Candaba is possible.