Mt.Arayat – Challenge Accepted!
By: Mon Carlo Tinonas
Mt. Arayat is my 5th mountain to hike this year. It was such a rewarding experience. Why? I have felt so much accomplished because I could see my growth as a mountaineer. I may be still a novice to the craft but I am moving forward. Our day began with full challenges along the way. There was an imminent typhoon and transportation issues however we as a team pushed through. No obstacle will hinder us from completing our journey. Wow!
June 15-16, 2018 – Mt Arayat Major Hike Endurance TC 7
Preparing for our trip.
We took a Victory Bus line to Dau, Pampanga to travel by van going to a jeep terminal to our jump off at Arayat National Park. It was raining too much back then and it did not stop us from moving on.
We arrived at our jump off around 9am. At this point it is still raining, we anticipated mud and dirt going to be tainted on us. It was all for goodwill! I have not taken much pictures but I will tell you how it goes. We paid our registration fee to the camp administrator and prepared to waterproof our gears as the weather is really against us. We asked for divine intervention and prayed that we will be able to arrive safely to our destination led by Sir Ceejay Custodio. As soon as we have gathered our courage we started to trek. We passed through the famous Stations of the Cross in Mt. Arayat. For me the Stations of the Cross reminded me of how blessed I am and always believe that how much struggles we have, we always can surpass them.
Our path may be wet and thrilling due to the heavy rain but it is all worth it. The ascending trail is my biggest challenge and I took it positively. I have prepared myself in every aspect to maintain my pace with the team. I may be lacking physically but it is a good thing because I brought Hydrite which is my aid during a muscle spasm. Thankfully, I have Sir Carl Vitalicio who lent me his knee pads that help in the circulation of my blood from my lower limbs. While I was ahead since I am part of the Lead group, I was talking to our guide and asked him about Mt Arayat. Our conversation was very informative and inspiring. It was inspiring due to the fact that I noticed that he was barefoot during our hike and I was just stunned. If a man like him could do it then why can’t I.
We arrived at our first campsite at around 1130 am and from there we ate our packed lunch. The team had a few cool conversation under the rain and we spent about 30-45 minutes before we left the camp. By the way at the campsite we also collected water from the water source which I almost slipped at a pool of rainwater. (Hahaha) Luckily, only a few of my teammates saw it. Now I have to be careful.
Campsite 2 was drawing near while I move my feet up to the ascent. I was first to arrive and welcomed by Sir Ceejay Custodio and Sir Rhynald Alcala with a cute joke about a centipede. The joke was really funny and I could not help but laugh at it. I would really remember it because after arriving at the camp with so much sweat and lost energy, you will be asked how many legs does a centipede had? I was not thinking straight and answered 20 which is wrong! It should be a hundred. I know that fact. It was just a confusing moment. Both of our mentors tested each Batch 13 member when they arrived. Good thing, Ms. Mae Delima answered it with confidence (Haha). After a few more jokes we went off to reach the North Peak of Mt. Arayat.
Finally arrived at the peak of Mt. Arayat at 430 pm and it was fulfilling. The gushing rain did not push me down and I made it to the top. Now spot the difference on my pics (Hahaha). Totally no difference because I am all wet and happy.
We settled our bags on the small shed and had a few moments to absorb the breeze of the heavy winds. As some of us now settle, we were advised to set up our tent while the rain is not pouring a lot. My tent buddy was Sir Jerrel and he was a Pro in setting up our tent. Our whole Batch 13 helped each other to build the tents despite of the strong winds howling against us.
No clearing for us but it is “All Worth It” even when the fag is clouding us. Since it is cold and not much to see, we early prepared our dinner which Ms. Jewel Deorayom is the chef for the night. She will cook Afritada along with Ms. Missy and Ms. Mae. I helped too you know (Lol). It may be a first time for Ms. Jewel to cook but she did it with conviction. The Afritada tasted great though we had three different versions of it. One was served with a lot of her love (sweet style) was tipped by Ms. Missy (Hehehe), the second one is a bit sour and the last one is not bad at all. We all appreciated the food served by a first time cook! It was fun cooking with the gals. The boys helped too you know in opening the burners (Hehe). Just kidding.
Ms Missy what are you thinking??? Ms Jewel are you ready for the cooking challenge??? (lol)
The boys talking about us. Will our dish taste good? Cant wait!
This is it. Mixing the chicken. Ms Jewel are tou still okay?
Peace be with you Ms Mae!
The sweet style afritada. (First Version)
Sir Raymond may you taste test?
Jewelures Calderata Espesyal! Critic it if you must.
Pray before you eat!
The day ended with chills in our bodies and to heat ourselves, we had a few drinks of liquor. I learned that liquor actually help hikers in colder regions to relax their fatigued muscles. It was a fun night of jokes with our mentors and teammates. I was just laughing with them and making the most out of my time with GMT members and our batch.
Sir Raymond wake up! (lol)
Hello. Good Morning!
The morning came without a sunshine. Rain and winds are scattered all over our campsite and I for one was a bit flustered as we would be going to the South peak but due to the weather condition we may have to climb down and proceed with the South peak on a different date. It was still okay with us and we are happy going down. Now it is my turn to cook for the team and I will prepare a simple dish which is Adobo. Unfortunately, we did not have any more garlic cloves and I have to sort to another way to make the Adobo taste like adobo. Well, good thing I have a few tips from our team chef, Ms. Missy and I was able to cook the dish with conviction as well. Thanks to Ms. Jewel and Sir Justin (Haha). I am not blaming you guys. The challenge is really accepted!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!
Breakfast is served! Longganisa and Tocino Galore by Missy and Adobo ala Mokkah.
Prep time for descent. Leaving the North Peak of Mt Arayat.
Going down is fun.
I am Big and Strong! (LOL)
Ms. Jewel and I are taking the Lead team. Whoooa!
One of our mentors, Sir Rhynald Alcala. He taught us to that we can do it and we did.
Sir Justin Canda is our team leader for Mt Arayat climb and he was exceptional during this endurance trek. But this picture says that leaders are born. One of them is our very own great Leader Ms Jewel.
Smiles for everyone except me. (I dig with my tongue out. Hahaha)
More of Batch 13 on the rocks!
This is me after the shower! Fresh and ready to go home.
0750 ETA Dau Terminal (Pampanga)
0850 ETA Jump Off Arayat National Park
0930 Start Trek
1120 ETA First Campsite
1210 Depart to Second Campsite
1310 ETA Second Campsite
1330 Depart to North Peak
1600 ETA North Peak
0900 Start Descent
1300 ETA JO Arayat National Park
1430 Depart to Jollibee Arayat Pampanga
1530 ETA Resto
Before we went home we met with Sir Ryan and ate food in this restaurant. We had a few rounds of drinks and we appreciate the treat we had from Sir Ceejay, Sir Rhynald and Sir Ryan.
Picture at the resto.