ⓘ Mount Arayat
Mount Arayat is an inactive basaltic volcano on Luzon Island, Philippines, rising to a height of 1.026 metres. The volcano has a breached crater on its northwest side with a smaller andesitic dome in the collapse amphitheater. There are no historical records of eruption in Arayat and the only dated rocks are 530- and 650-thousand-year-old basalts predating the collapse and formation of the lava dome. The Mount Arayat National Park was established in 1933.
The mountain 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 16 km to the west of Mount Arayat is Angeles, Philippines and the former Clark Air Base. The active volcano Mount Pinatubo is located 26 km 16 mi west. The volcano was officially declared as a tourist spot on 1997.
The mountain is mystical, the legendary home of Aung/Aring Sinukuan/Sinkuan/Suku or the Fairy known as diwata Maria Sinukuan depending on which version of the story the readers or listeners prefer, but in ancient Kapampangan folklore as well as the research 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. The mountain is currently under an immense deforestation threat. Locals have cited that there is a man in the mountain, angry due to the deforestation that was happening. Others say that it was Aring Sinukuan.
The first mention of the origin of Arayat is a travel diary from 1696 by Gemelli Careri. The author mentions that according to the natives, the original name of the mountain is Bondo Kalaya, which later became Bondoc Alaya literally "Mount Alaya". Later on, Alaya became Arayat.
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 kilometres 0.75 mi 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 1.026-metre 3.366 ft summit stands on the northeast side of the breached crater, known as North Peak, while the 984-metre 3.228 ft 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 State Agricultural University. The Arayat amphitheatre is said to have been caused by the summits 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.
5. Hiking activity
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 State Agricultural University 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. There is a 2 new trail in Mt. Arayat as of 2017 the Pinnacle which has a knife edge monkey trail and the TKO which is the Hardest Trail, If you want to access that Trail start the Trek in San Juan Banyo, Arayat Pampanga. However, these two features, the Pinnacle and TKO cannot be considered as peaks because they are not prominent unlike the North and South peak, thus only considered as view decks as per International Mountaineering definitions.
5.1. Hiking activity 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. 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 Pinatubos 1991 eruption or when the time to call his servants upon the end of the world has come.
Prior to Spanish colonization, Sinukuan was known as a powerful male Kapampangan god, named Aring Sinukûan, who was in par with the Kapampangan god of Pinatubo, Apûng Malyari. The two were the second most powerful deities in Kapampangan mythology, next only to Mangechay sometimes called Mangacha, the great elder and creator goddess. Aring Sinukûan was the sun god of war and death, taught the early inhabitants the industry of metallurgy, wood cutting, rice culture and waging war. He had three children, namely, Munag Sumala, the golden serpent god who represent dawn, Lakandanup, the god of gluttony who represented the sun at noon time, and Gatpanapun, the noble god who only knew pleasure and represented the afternoon. He also had a winged assistant named Galura, a giant eagle deity believed to be the bringer of storms, and a wife named Mingan. However, when the Spanish arrived, they rebranded Sinukuan as a woman, thinking that the people would not revere the deity if he was a female, not knowing that the great elder deity of the Kapampangan was a woman named Mangechay. Despite this, the natives continued to revere Sinukuan. Furious, the Spanish added Maria to Sinukuans name to somewhat turn her into Catholic in a bid to further subjugate the natives and convert them into Roman Catholicism. In recent years, locals have cited that there is a man in the mountain, angry due to the deforestation that was happening. Others say that it was Aring Shinukuan.
Fumarole activity is reported on the NW side of the summit.
The Global Volcanism Program lists Mount Arayat as Holocene?
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology PHIVOLCS, list Mount Arayat as Inactive.