My good friend Gian sent me a message one day declaring that he wanted to give mountain climbing, hiking, and trekking a try. Being supportive of his (sudden) interest in trekking (which can only be good,) I told him that we could start by going to Mt. Manunggal in Balamban. Mt. Manunggal, as you all know, is the mountain where Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay and his cabinet members met their tragic end when the plane that they were boarding (presidential plane Mt. Pinatubo) on their way to Cebu City failed to clear the peak.
Anyway, the original plan was to make it a two-man trek. However, we figured that it would be more fun (and safe) if we had other people on the list. So, I told my other friends about the deal. Harry, Redjie, John, and Roman agreed to go. However, Redjie had to back out the last minute for some unknown reasons. Hahaha.
We all decided to meet at the Ayala Jeepney/Van Terminal at 9 in the morning. By 10 am, we were all dozing off at the back of a cramped van headed for the town of Balamban.
The long (and very cold) trek to Mt. Manunggal.
The Ayala Center Cebu Jeepney and V-Hire Terminal facing the soon-to-open Grand Cenia Hotel. Really nice!
Gian testing his new video cam. Cool!
The gang. That’s Roman, Harry, John, and Gian.
We decided to start our trek in front of the GL Highland Resort in Baranggay Gaas. It’s approximately 32 kilometers from Cebu City. And the Mt. Manunggal crash site is approximately 13 kilometers away.
To distract ourselves, we decided to enjoy the scenery and take as many pictures as we could. Hehe.
Satchmo having a swell time!
A young kid enjoying his ‘handmade’ skateboard. Cool!
View of the mountains of Balamban. Gorgeous!
Roman and Gian smiling for the camera.
A few minutes later, we reached Kilometer 33. It’s where the famous K33 Zipline is located. Just above the facility is a small restaurant which serves hot goto. It was raining a little and it was getting really cold. So, we decided to stop by for a while and give it a try. Here’s Satchmo waiting for his order.
Manang and our gotos! Woohooo!!!
Bottom’s up, Harry!
After eating, it was time to get back on the road. Literally.
One kilometer and a few liters of sweat later. LOL
But the view is to die for!
A portion of the very cold and wet transcentral highway.
After an hour, we finally reached the corner which leads to Baranggay Magsaysay. Group picture!
We didn’t know that this sign was trying to tell us something. Hahaha.
Through puddles and mud.
Gian taking pictures of some ducks. Hahaha.
Look at all that fog!
Just keep singing… Hahaha.
Do you know where you’re going to…. Hahahaha
What’s up, Gian?
Roman and Gian and their nice cameras!
Taking a short rest.
Uhm, are we there yet?
The trek was just so long. That’s us an hour later.
Harry and John walking silently through fog.
All of a sudden, a huge machine rolled past us. The locals said that they were fixing the visitors’ area near the camp site for the upcoming death anniversary.
Wow! It was really cold.
Harry and John relaxing under a mango tree.
A few minutes later, we saw a young girl with a cow. We asked her if we were near. She said, ‘not even close!’ Oh, come on!
Here comes the fog again.
Then, we started seeing houses. And some cows. Woohoo!
We took a short break and bought some…. chips. Hahaha.
We also bought a few pieces of sopas (bread) for lunch. Yes, you read that right. Hahaha.
And we were walking again in no time.
Then, another machine rolled past us. We had to get off the main road. Hehehe.
A small chapel.
Just keep walking.
I asked this lady where she was headed. She said she was going to ‘town.’ I hope she was kidding. Hahahaha.
An old abandoned house.
Grrrrr. Too cold!
I’m sorry. I couldn’t wait. I was just so hungry. Hahahaha.
Roman in action.
Harry taking a short break. Hahahaha.
Bananas along the road.
A little insanity to keep us sane. Hahaha.
The locals said we were almost there. Woohoo!
Thank heavens for my trusty sandals.
Welcome to Mt. Manunggal! Finally! And I must say, the font they used for ‘Hills Angels Organization’ is scary. Hahahaha.
Wait. I thought we were ‘almost there?’
Nope. We were not ‘almost there.’
Mud men. Hahaha.
Part of the adventure. Hehe.
Finally reached the visitor’s area. Now, it’s time to walk down towards the camp site.
But first, a couple of pics.
And a group shot.
And off we go!
Finally, there’s the monument.
Hello, Mr. President!
Idolo ng Masa
And then, there’s a short trek to the actual crash site.
We reached the crash site a few minutes later. After taking a few photos and resting for a short while, we were on our feet again. The idea of walking all the way back to the highway was scary. But we had no choice. We already walked around 8 kilometers when a multi-cab stopped in front of us and asked if we needed a ride. Of course, we needed a ride! Hahaha. The multicab dropped us off at the highway. Just as we were crossing the street, a Ford pick up truck stopped and asked if we needed a ride to the city. Wow! Are we lucky or what? Smiling much? Hahahaha.
The pretty transcentral highway.
Sadly, when we reached Baranggay Malubog, the kind couple declared that they weren’t going to the city after all. So, we got off and thanked them. Then, we were back to walking when we accidentally discovered this just a few meters off the highway. A waterfalls! Wow!
Satchmo had to pose.
We stayed for a couple of minutes to take pictures and just have fun. Afterwards, we saw a vhire headed for Ayala Center Cebu. Less than an hour later, we were eating dinner in Ayala.
It was a short but very memorable experience. We’re definitely doing it again!
Visit Mt. Manunggal now!
Additional photos by Romanslerz!