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).


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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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