Arayat - Our Ancestral Home





    There are many wonderful and marvelous places in this world, famous for their modern sky crappers, cathedrals, towers and superstructures, invigorating climates, beautiful tourists' belt, disneylands, and are more blessed in point of prosperity. But whatever we are in this planet there is no spot more dear to us than the land of one's birth - the town we always mention with pride, the town that cannot be reached by "lahar" - ARAYAT


Origin of the name Arayat

    First, Arayat was originated from the name of Fernando de Arayat, a Spanish encomiendero whose birthplace in Spain was called "Arayat". Over time, a particular reasercher claims that the natives had transformed the word to "Daya".

    Second that the original vernacular name "Dayat" was derived from "dayatan" which literally means dry season rice crop.

    Third, that Arayat was formerly known as "Alaya" or "east". Thus, bunduk alaya" or "eastern mountain" referred to Mt. Arayat. Likewise, this same source considers the word "Arayat" to be of Spanish coinage.

    Fourth, that a contemporary researcher believes that Mt. Arayat and the biblical Mt. Ararat, where Noah's Ark landed are one of the same thing which the town was named. This does not account for the etymological background of the present name and does not explain why another Mt. Ararat exists in the Middle East.


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Founding and Early Development of Arayat

    Historically speaking, the exact date of Arayat's foundation is still unknown. Definitely, the town was reported to be one of the thriving settlements of Pampanga between 1335 to 1380. One chronicler alleges that Prince Balagtas or his son Araw (Lord) Malangsic (rulers of the Madjapahit empire) was the founder of Arayat. At that time,it occupied what is today barrio Palinlang and was called Balayan ning Pambuit. Present-day Poblacion or seat of government was then a wilderness inhabited by pagan tribes, especially the balugas (Aetas).

    Another account mentions such names as Jose Carlos Garcia,Macapagal, Simbulan, Lapira and Maria Vinas as the early pioneers of Arayat. By 1571, Arayat was one of the eleven most important communities of Pampanga. Because of its strategic location along the Pampanga River, it became a major center of trade and commerce - supplying the rice requirements of Manila, the Capital City.

    On August 29, 1590, the Augustinians were granted permission to establish a mission in Arayat by the Bishop of Manila, Fr. Domingo Salazar. In the same year, the first Augustinian mission in Arayat was founded by Fr. Juan de Valderrama.

    By 1600, the parish of Arayat already existed according to one historian of the Augustinian order in the Philippines, Elviro Jorde Perez. Available documents even show that a certain Fr. Contreras was the parish priest of Arayat until 1621. However, it requires further research work to determine whether or not originally built by the Augustinians. Also, it appears that the first baptism to be recorded at the parish was performed Fr. Villalobos in 1758.




More Of Arayat

    The town of Arayat is located in the northern part of Pampanga. It is surrounded by the towns of Magalang on the northwest, Cabiao on the northeast, Candaba on the East, Sta Ana on the South and Mexico on the west, with a total area of 17,694 hectares and a population of 90,013 more or less.

    Only 19 kilometers away from San Fernando, the capital town of Pampanga, Arayat is about an hour drive from Manila. The town is the biggest in northern Pampanga, It is composed of 30 barangays/barrios namely:Map of Arayat Arenas, Baliti, Batasan, Buensuceso, Camba (Kaledian), Candating, Cupang, Gatiawin, Guemasan, La Paz (Turu), Lacmit, Laquios, Mangga-Cacutud, Mapalad, Matamo, Palinlang, Paralaya, Plazang Luma, Poblacion, San Agustin Norte, San Agustin Sur, San Antonio, San Jose ( Mesulo), San Juan ( Bano), San Mateo, San Nicolas, San Roque (Bitas), Sto. Nino (Tabuan), Suklayin, and Telapayong, not to mention subdivisions that sprout outside the town proper among which are: Fidela, Guemasan, San Nicolas, Aliwalas, Castillo (Bitas), and Leonor Subdivisions.

    A popular landmark of the town is the majestic Arayat Mountain or Mt. Arayat - Pampanga River"Bundok Alaya" . Mount Arayat is likewise known as Mount Sinukuan, named after legendary Goddess and enchanted lady, Maria SinukuanMaria Sinukuan. It has three peaks, the two highest of which are the Northern Peak with 1086 meters altitude and the Southern Peak with 984 meters height. The Pampanga River has its bank at the foot of Mt. Arayat. One does not have to climb its summit to see its natural beauty, for its centrally located in the region, so that one will inevitably enjoy its splendor as he travel along national highways of Central Luzon.

    Situated at the base of the well-known Mount Arayat is the Mount Arayat National Park, a major tourist attraction not only in Pampanga, but whole Luzon. It is noted for its swimming pools, wholesome, refreshing and verdant surroundings and its cool water cascading from its waterfalls. To Arayat National ParkThis Park was originally a project of Dona Aurora A. Quezon, wife of the late Manuel L. Quezon of the Philippine Commonwealth, and has been developed into its present state during the post war era.

    Arayat is generally a level land, except the areas where Mt. Arayat stands and its vicinities, with a type I climate and two pronounced seasons; dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year.

    Arayat croplands cover 7,716.49 hectares or about 60% of the total area. It can be also said that it falls within the category of those with traditional industrial structures as reflected by its lands use, agriculture has the widest area, followed by forest land, swamp and marshed land. Rice and sugarcane are the main staple products of the town, followed by corn, mongo, watermelons, turnips, peanuts , camote and different kinds of vegetables. Fresh fish are abundant in its rivers and swampy areas. The forest land of Mount Arayat is the source of firewood, charcoal and the famous "Teak" wood used in furniture making.

    As with the rest of the town of Pampanga, Roman Catholic remains the dominant religion in Arayat, accounting for more than 90% of the entire population. Easily over-shadowing all other sects. Iglesia ni Cristo is second followed by the Aglipayan Church, Seventh Day Adventist, Rizalists, Jehova's Witnesses and Methodist.

    The people of Arayat, although pre-occupied with the present economic difficulties, are not remiss in their religious obligations. The Catholics are keeping pace with the demand for more religious facilities and services. The town old catholic church, St. Catherine ParishSt. Catherine Parish, which was built in the Spanish era, was the object of the recent major renovations vis--vis the church proper, the convent and church patio, through the collective efforts of mandated organizations. And due to demands of religious services to barangay northwest of the Pampanga River and to bring such services more accessible to people, the St, Isidore Parish (Camba) was established by the Archdiocese of San Fernando.

    The education of the youth is still the primordial concern of the government and the private sectors. There are at present two secondary schools in the town proper, namely; the old Arayat Institute and the new Berline High School. Two public high schools are subsidized by the government, Mangga-Cacutud and Camba Public High Schools, schools cater mostly from barrio youth. All baranggays have their own elementary school.

    The town is not wanting in socio-civic conciousness. A local chapter of the Philippine JayceesArayat Town Plaza - Glorieta was organized the Sinukuan Jaycees and since its inception, it is very active in social and civic activities. There is also the famous 100 Club- responsible for its civic projects and annual social affairs at the town plaza.

    Like other towns in Pampanga, Arayat has contributed its just share of prominent and outstanding national figures from the Spanish era to the present. Northworthy to mention are: General Jose Alejandrino, a contemporary of Jose Rizal, Dr. Emigdio C. Cruz, of world war II, former executive secretary and ambassador Amelito R. Mutuc and Press Secretary Leoncio R. Parungao, both of the Macapagal administration. Not to mention military figures who made their marks in the high echelon of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, namely: Commodore Lodovigildo L. Gantioqui of the Philippine Nave, Col. (Ret.) Vicente A. Pascual, former Deputy Judge Advocate Genenral, Major General Rene R. Cruz, former RaCom V. Commander and PC-INP Deputy Commander for Administration.

    During the last decade, so much has done towards the improvement of Arayat. The continued threat of lahar during rainy season in the towns of Minalin, Sto. Tomas, Bacolor, Guagua, and San Fernando, have resulted in the influx of migration from these towns to Arayat, especially business and commercial establishedments, which now proliferates in the town proper such as supermarkets, banks, drug stores, pawnshops and hardware. Indeed, Arayat, has in recent years become the fastest growing business community.St. Catherine

    Arayat is all the more lucky in the face of recent devastating natural calamities such us the 1990 Killer Earthquake and June 1991 Mt. Pinatubo Eruption, it being miraculously spared of major damages in lives and properties. The town is lucky to have as its Patroness, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, in whose loving care and protection, peace and tranquility among the people reign, despite the modest livelihood of the people and their varied political and ideological persuasions and beliefs, not to mention social inequalities. By her benevolent intercession, Arayat continues to be on the forefront in so far as peace and progress are concerned.

Arayat Town Fiesta Souvenir Program



Mt. Arayat St. Catherine Parish Maria Sinukuan

Created 1999 by DenMarC. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Aug 2003 07:55:41 AM -0700.