Remembering Mt. Manunggal & Magsaysay – Part 2

This is a long post, so I decided to break this post into two series. Hope you get to read the first part. This is part 2 of the post on Remembering Mt. Manunggal and Magsaysay.

To reach Tabunan, we have to rent a military 6×6 truck, with some soldier escorts as well. The place wasn’t that peaceful during that time – but there was indeed a very amazing experience I had with the NPA rebels and the soldiers. Got to tell this story in my subsequent posts.

Mt. ManunggalAt times, we have to walk for 4 hours to reach Tabunan, from the farthest point where an ordinary transport can take us – I forgot the name of that small barangay, when we can’t get a military truck to take us there. And from Tabunan, we have to cross a river and climb following the mountain trail for another 2 hours.

So what the hell we were doing there and we have to endure such hardship? I was President of an engineering organization at that time, and our school, University of San Jose-Recoletos included the area (Mt. Manunggal and Brgy. Magsaysay) as part of its adopted communities in its outreach program. Our group volunteered and adopted Mt. Manunggal and Brgy. Magsaysay as our outreach program project.

During our first ocular visit – we immediately decided on what to do:

    1. Repair some parts of the Chapel constructed at the crash site. Inside the Chapel you could see some parts of the plane displayed.
    2. Put some cement on the spring well – the only source of water a few feet below the chapel.
    3. Cleanup the memorial shrine and statue and put some cement and paint the flooring with white enamel paint.
    4. Train local folks on some livelihood activities such as candle and soap making.
    5. Pledge chairs and benches on Brgy. Magsaysay school. We saw children having class outside the classrooms under the shade of trees.
    6. Do some volunteer catechism and tutorial class in the school on weekends.

We raised some amounts for the project, we sold t-shirts during school intramurals, sponsored concerts and made some rounds of solicitations on different companies. Then on weekends, we go back to Mt. Manunggal, endure the long walks and climb the mountain for over two hours with cement sacks (for the chapel, the well and the monument) and several lumbers (for the school benches) on our backs. And we assembled the benches right there in the school.

We spent the whole year on this undertaking, we didn’t mind how difficult and tiresome it was. We were young then, full of ideals. Seeing those soldiers and some known rebels helping us carry the materials for our project was an awesome experience.

We completed the project – successfully as we assessed it – plus the fact that our organization was awarded that year in our school’s “Search for Outstanding Student Organizations Involved in Community Outreach Program“. We received a plaque of appreciation. I still have it – the other guys can borrow it if they wanted to. LOL

That was in 1991-1992. Haven’t been there since then. After traveling around the Philippines and in several countries abroad, going back to Mt. Manunggal is a dream. Perhaps I can get in touch with the ERTA guys who helped me out and do another round of outreach program there. Perhaps the best time is this coming March, coinciding Pres. Magsaysay’s death memorial.

To some former Engineering Researchers for Technological Advancement (ERTA), JPIA and USJR IE members who were part of the project – you may contact me here by leaving a comment or email me at roel (at) bloggista (dot) com. We can raise some funds as well.

(Thanks to Mr. Candido Wenceslao for the photo above).


Survey Question: Your Dreams…

Remembering Mt. Manunggal & Magsaysay

Well, for some, Mt. Manunggal is something new to their ears – Mt. What? Where’s that? For some piece of history, Mt. Manunggal, a rather unknown place became a landmark because of a tragedy. Perhaps, among a handful of fast Philippines Presidents who were genuinely ‘loved’ by the masa (common folks), President Ramon Magsaysay‘s supposedly messianic leadership ended abruptly when his plane crashed on the mountain. There were different stories on how the plane crashed – and I did managed to talk to some folks who swore they saw a thing engulfed in flames and bumped on the mountain’s rocky facade just below the summit.

Foggy Mt Manunngal from FOTOpages.comMt. Manunggal, claimed to be Cebu’s highest peak, is located in central Cebu and is part of Balamban, a municipality along the central-western side of Cebu province. When you’re on top (but I haven’t been to it’s summit – a tower of sharp rocks which can be reached only by experienced rock climbers). Rock climbing was still not that popular in the early 90’s when I climbed the mountain (perhaps, a dozen of times).During those days, going to Tabunan, a town where the trail going up the mountain can be found, took about 4-6 hours, and we go there using a military 6×6 truck – as it is the only mode of transport that can pass by narrow roads with deep ravines on the side. There was no highway going there during that time. I heard a new transcentral highway is already built going to Balamban today.

( To be continued…)


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A NAIA-Airport Challenge: Fight for your Ride

Maybe I could use blogging to bring out an ordinary citizen’s complaint to the appropriate government agencies.

Over the past 5 months, my Consulting job required me to travel in major cities and provinces around the country as Project Manager for a Sales and Distribution system implementation on a large multinational beverage company. I have taken more than 30 flights since then.

Everytime I fly (taking Philippine Airline flights most of the time), I usually bring my car and park it at the Centennial 2 airport or just being driven to and then fetched from the airport. Sometimes (since the Client would just shoulder the cost), I’d take the Airport transport service which normally charges thrice or even 5 times the usual cab fare.

It was only the last two flights (recent trips) that I did not brought a car, or did not asked to be fetched, and chose not to take the Airport transport service, instead, I went up the stairs at the Departure area of the NAIA Centennial Terminal 2 to take a cab. Unlike in Bangkok or in Singapore or in most other countries’ airports, there’s no Taxi Lane at the arrival area of the NAIA Centennial Airport! If you want a cab ride, you have to go up the Departure area and wait for cabs dropping off passengers. Empty taxi cabs are not allowed entry in NAIA Centennial Airport.

The first time I took a cab was 3 weeks ago, and it took me 20 minutes before I got my ride. The second time, last weekend, it took me more than an hour! I was sweating, getting a cab took longer than my flight time from Tacloban. You have to beat it out with so many other people! If you are a nice person, then there is no chance you can get yourselfBeat your ride a ride. But I couldn’t bare the thought of getting a ride over other passengers with children, or those elderly couple who, perhaps, have been there taking their chances longer than mine.

Then I saw cab coming with a passenger inside I did beat the other 2 or 3 guys and some ladies (I held on the door of the cab while it was still moving!). Finally I got my ride after more than an hour of fighting it out. With all the feeling of comfort, I threw my backpack and myself inside and told the drive of my destination. My relief suddenly turned into an instant outburst when the driver (Cab Plate No. PXG-593) told me he’s gonna be charging double. I am used to paying extra fare but I hated it when taxi drivers ask upfront.After uttering some real nice ‘curses’, I got off the cab and slammed the door with all my might!

Perhaps it was Karma, or so I thought. But there is now way I can go home without being tough and inconsiderate to other people.I was so disgusted at the thought that of all this time, I was unaware of what other people have to bare whenever they arrive at the NAIA Centennial airport. Airports in Cebu or Davao and even in other less progressive cities have taxi lanes. NAIA doens’t have any! Its my beloved country’s gateway to the world and it doesn’t have taxi lane! What a bummer!

I have never been so angry and so disgusted in my life regarding theLola at the airport inefficiencies of several government services. You would probably feel what I felt by looking at the picture – an elderly woman who has been there waiting for more than an hour!

I managed to assist her lady companion in getting a ride. Then probably that little act of kindness was rewarded when I finally got my ride – the driver was smiling, no questions asked – off he drove me away from that miserable place!

I am proud of this country, despite of its many flaws, the reason I display a Philippine flag at my blog’s very prominent place. I dream of being able to send this message to the right people – and quick actions be taken. It’s time to act and change, people!

Bai Ace D. (DOT), na-unsa man ni bai? Kinahanglan ang imo tabang.

~ blogRebel

My Tacloban Trip

The following day (Wednesday, 16-Jan-2008) after returning from the trip in Naga City, I took a 5:30am flight bound for Tacloban City. Again, I have to make another round of Business Process presentation with my client’s local Sales, Finance and Logistics group.

The rain had just stopped when the plane landed in Tacloban airport – which is a small airstrip right beside the shoreline of Tacloban City. After about 15 minutes drive, I was already in Mac Arthur Park Beach Resort, in Palo, Leyte where I will be staying for a night before flying back to Manila the next day. This was also the venue of the 6-day new Sales and Distribution system training conducted by one of our team of Consultants assigned in Eastern Visayas area.

I took some pictures with Uncle Douglas, whom I had a picture when I passed by Palo, Leyte 12 years ago. Gen. MacArthur looks snappy and clean this time. LOL.

I stayed in room 315, fronting the Seminar Hall and the swimming pool, and a few yards from the beach front. The room looked creepy, with all the ancient furnishings, and gloomy lighting. It has two big beds.

Good thing the Plant GM took us around that night. We had dinner at Stephanies, and I loved the food – fresh seafoods, shells and some sea weeds salad – yummy.

I had a feeling Gen. MacArthur would visit me that night – perhaps, yelling ” Hey, wake up, I have returned!” Hahaha. I would probably prefer a visit from Uncle Douglas rather than a visit with Gen. Yamashita or some Japanese Officer or General who died in the area when the Americans bombed and beached this site during World War II.

Here are some of the pictures I took during this trip.