Pres. Quezon himself led the way towards the establishment of the park by developing his own hacienda in Arayat. His Kaledian estate was where he sought refuge from the pressure of his work, often retreating there together with wife Aurora Aragon. He began transforming Arayat into a tourist area, what with places of natural interest like springs, slides, rock formations, dotting the place.
On 27 June 1933, the national park was thus established. Plans were set in motion for the park’s immediate development. Buracan Lake, for instance, a picturesque sanctuary of flora and fauna west of the mountain was looked at as a health resort. A certain section lying within the vicinity of the lake and the Quarry Reservation was to be turned into a landing field for airplanes. Also, as a wildlife reserve, all form of hunting were prohibited in the area.
The post-war years saw the park increasingly becoming popular tourist haven. Company tours and excursions from Manila and nearby provinces were regularly organized. Public utility buses included Arayat in their travel routes to take advantage of the growing number of mobile Filipino tourists.
Today, Mount Arayat National Park—even if it has degenerated into a local resort with little infrastructures— has a few attractions to offer. It boasts of a picnic site with lush greeneries, two swimming pools fed by natural spring waters, recreation halls and various plant and animal life like monkeys, civets and native birds. Run by the government, the park’s latest attraction is the Tree House, a cluster of huts and houses ideal for private gatherings. The park also is the perfect starting point to scale the mountain peak. The peak has a view deck from where one can take in the view of the plains and fields of Pampanga, including the famed Pampanga River and the Zambales mountain ranges.
In 1993, the national park was declared a tourist spot by the enactment of Republic Act 7690. Still, the park has been overshadowed by more high-profile destinations—including private resorts--considered safer and more modern. In an effort to revitalize tourism again in Arayat, Rep. Rey Aquino, in response to the has urged the House of Representatives to declare the mountain an eco-tourism haven. It is hoped that in the near future, fair Mount Arayat can reclaim once more its stature as a natural monument, whose beauty and grandeur radiates throughout the great Central Plain.
(*NOTE: Feature titles with asterisks represent other writings of the author that appeared in other publications and are not included in the original book, "Views from the Pampang & Other Scenes")