062712 - The Urban Tracker (In Pampanga): The Dalmatian of San Roque BItas

Arayat's updated municipal map.
ecuring a copy of Arayat's municipal map revealed it has 33 barangays, surrounded by 4 Pampanga municipalities and bordering a province. 

From the west comes the municipalities of Magalang and Mexico, Sta. Ana lies on the south and Candaba on the right. On the north, Arayat borders to the province of Nueva Ecija.

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View of the park from Arayat's municipal hall veranda
From the municipal veranda came the view of the Arayat's municipal hall park this gloomy morning - a warning of an impending rain. To get things ahead, we proceeded to commute via Magalang bound jeep and dropped down to San Vicente.

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Traces of fiesta just days ago in one chapel in San Antonio

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A carabao takes a selfie from the outback Arayat
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Organic Farmer's Multi-purpose Cooperative in Arenas
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Watermelons are highway attraction in Arenas
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Palinlang's Arch welcome almost blocked by a tarpaulin with a rear view of Arayat's outlines
Starting off in San Antonio, where there's still a trace of Fiesta in San Antonio de Padua parish with its ribbons and festoons, men were cleaning up. We furthered our way to Arenas highway where an outback rural life still at large. A carabao was all poise before a tree behind the outback atmosphere here. Farming was very much a practice with the presence of Organic Farmer's Cooperative here and those huge watermelons sold over the highway taste were so sweet. People told us when we reached the  Palinlang side that the best and closer view of Arayat lies in San Juan Bano that's on the opposite side of the mountain.

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Barangay San Roque Bitas takes dalmatian for its emblem
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Getting a hitch ride along with other deliverables into city proper.
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Green bananas loaded in tricycle getting ready for market turn-over
San Juan Bano was our next pit stop after taking a break on the signage marker by the highway the part of San Roque Bitas. I still couldn't move on figuring out why a dalmatian statue had been put on along with the signage while aboard a white van taking us back to the main town with only us, a soft drink case and Gasul as passengers on our track to San Juan Bano. We must first pass Lacquios and waited for the rains to die down to clear our way to San Juan Bano. Along the way, we noticed this tricycle loaded with freshly picked bananas ready to get its way to market.

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At last we invaded San Juan Bano in that foggy afternoon
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Fogs and clouds conceal the nearer and perfect view of Arayat in San Juan Bano
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Pink painted houses become more adorable with foggy Arayat on the back.
The foggy clouds blocked the closer view of Arayat mountain in San Jose Bano. But here you got the total feeling that the mountain was just within reach with the cold breeze and the moisture of the fogs. For the daring mountain hikers, this is the best point to start climbing the mountain although local residents warned that some attempts of reaching the mountain extremes failed and some never returned. The neighborhood was also teeming with foliage. We have yet to see the best view of the mountain in coming days but here Arayat can earn your awe and respect as something so unpredictable.

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The streets with traditional march of bands and majorettes, a hard habit to break
We found a jeepney ride just in time to get out of the rains starting to pour. Aboard the jeep, passing the marching of the band that's causing traffic along Provincial Road in Plazang Luma was a dry run for an approaching fiesta this coming weekend. We made home safe with sweet thoughts of those watermelon and the gratitude towards the dalmatian statue who might have guided us through.
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