Mountains and Volcanoes
Climb Mt. Manunggal, Where a Great Philippine President Met His Doom
Pinoy Adventurista | Sep 12, 2014
On March 17, 1957, the presidential plane of President Ramon Magsaysay, named Mt. Pinatubo, crashed in the vicinity of Mt. Manunggal, Balamban, Cebu.
At the time, Magsaysay was a well-loved "Idol of the Masses," perceived to be clean and incorruptible. He perished along with 26 other passengers; the only survivor was Nestro Mata of the Philippine Herald.
The barangay where Mt. Manunggal is located was renamed Magsaysay in his honor.
On our trip to Cebu with my friend, Mike of the Traveling Panda, we decided to climb the historic mountain of Manunggal.
From Ayala in Cebu City, we took a passenger van bound for Balamban (Php110.00). It took us 45 minutes to reach the jump-off at Barangay Gaas.
TIP: Don’t forget to tell the driver to drop you at the jump-off. It's located on the right side of the road, around 1 kilometer away from Adventure Café.
The trail can be reached either by foot or with a vehicle. We started the 5-km trek to the crash site at around 12:00noon.
Climbing Mt. Manunggal doesn't require a guide. The trail is an established road with some parts still rough, while the others are already cemented.
There’s one fork at the start of the trail that might mislead you; just take the left side and continue walking. At another fork at the last 500 meters of the trail, just take the right side of the trail.
Getting lost won't be a problem, just ask around if you’re not sure where to go.
It took us about 1 hour 30 minutes to reach the resting area. We took the stairs going down to where the engine of President Magsaysay's plane is located. Names are engraved on the marble marker commemorating the passengers who died in the crash.
The monument of President Ramon Magsaysay marks the campsite's location. The site is a wide, rolling grassland lined with several tall trees.
Knowing the historical significance of Mt. Manuggal, climbing it is a rewarding experience. To get to to the actual site of a place you've just read on textbooks is truly memorable.
Getting back to Cebu City can prove to be a challenge, though. It’s either you wait for quite some time at the highway for a passenger van to pass by (which is full most of the time). Or you can go to the Balamban Terminal to take a ride back to the big city.
(These travel essay and photos were previously published on www.pinoyadventurista.com. For more features about Philippine travel destinations, food, delicacies, festivals and products, as well as hotels, resorts and restaurants, LIKE Pinoy Adventurista FB Page.)