Remember Mt. Pinatubo? It was almost 17 years ago when it erupted which was considered one of the most catastrophic volcanic disaster in recent times, not just in terms of human lives lost and properties, crops, lands and rivers destroyed, but also the damage done to the environment particularly in global warming problem. But this post is not about that unfortunate disaster.
So, the post title is kinda strange – a volcano crashed on another mountain or volcano? Seemed odd, did it happened? Well, on March 17, 1957 – or about 51 years ago, Mt. Pinatubo did crashed on Mt. Manunggal. But that Mt. Pinatubo wasn’t a volcano, but the name of the plane that carried one of the most loved Presidents of the Philippine Republic. Mt. Manunngal, an obscure mountain in the central part of Cebu, Philippines ended the life of a good President – a man for the masses, as what he was called.
Pres. Ramon Magsaysay was killed on that plane crash – and the nation saw one of the biggest crowds gathered during his burial – estimated at about 2 million, more than enough to oust a Philippine President from office in recent times. But that was the age of innocence, the age of the Hukbalahaps turned into rebels, no text messaging, no cable tv, no internet – but was still able to gather a crowd that huge.
Pres. Ramon Magsaysay imbued a character of a true statesman and a gentleman. He could have been a great leader, had he given the chance to complete his term. Although some critics called him indecisive and not after the country’s progress, but these were the words of people who have their own personal interests – the kind of people we ever saw today in Philippine politics.
His ways should inspire current and aspiring politicians. And his legacy should not be forgotten in the next generations to come. A well known Asian Award for government, and public service, leadership, peace among others was established under his name to commemorate his ideals, integrity and courage in defending and upholding democracy. A monument and a chapel were built on the crash site at Mt. Manunggal, a good place to trek a top Cebu’s highest peak.
Way back in my college days, I was president of a student organization that adopted Mt. Manunggal as our project in our school’s community outreach program. During that time, there was no highway yet going to the place – so we had to hire a military truck to take us to the nearest point where a transport can pass by. Then we walked for 4 hours to get on the foot of the mountain. After crossing a river and 2 hours of climbing – at times knees touching the chin up a trail in Tabunan, Balamban, Cebu, we could finally reach the chapel near the peak of the mountain.
Not to mention we were bringing some bags of cement, or bunch of lumbers we used to repair the Magsaysay Monument and the chapel. We also made desks and chairs for the 5-classroom school located midway in the mountain, a place named Brgy. Magsaysay. I had written some nice stories about this project in my rebellious blog, check it out.
I committed myself to re-visit the small town, and find out how this place is doing after 15 years since we went there. I could still remember the smiles on the children’s faces on every single school desk we assembled then. Got to check that 5-room school and see if there are still classes done outside the school, under the shade of trees, where the children are sitting on the ground as their teacher talk about ‘education’.
Perhaps I can bring in some computers and an internet mobile connection this time for the children – and maybe, through the generosities of the Bloggers in bloglandia, this simple undertaking can become a reality.
Check it out soon – and maybe we all can ‘chip’ in for some cash for this project. If you are interested, leave me a comment.