Exploring the Mountains Beyond Mount Manunggal: The Hidden Utopia

Exploring the Mountains Beyond Mount Manunggal: The Hidden Utopia

Wandering Soul Scamper


Mount Manunggal is a historical mountain situated in Baranggay Magsaysay (formerly Sunog) in Balamban Cebu. Mount Manunggal stands at an elevation of 1,003 meters above sea level and is within the enclave of the Central Cebu National Park. The mountain is protected by the Republic Act 8457, otherwise known as the “Central Cebu Protected Landscape Act”.

The mountain is the crash site of the presidential plane Mt Pinatubo which killed the President of the Philippines Pres. Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others on March 1957.

Mount Manunggal is accessible through a quite number of trails but the main route for the yearly death commemoration of of Pres Ramon Magsaysay were the trails from Tagba-o and the Cantipla in Tabunan, Cebu City. There is also a trail from Sunog.

The Monument:

At the campsite, the monument of Pres. Magsaysay and the cylinder block of one of the Pinatubo’s engines remind visitors of…

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Today, with the world more connected than ever, it is easy to share experiences through various social networking sites – allowing more people to know that behind the totally developed urban areas of the country, lies a beautiful stretch of mountain ranges, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers. In a day or two, people will then flock around the area, take multiple selfies, and share via Instagram this so called “adventure”, “travel” and “nature activity”. As a blogger, it feels good to be able to help and share information about densely populated spots; however, with the influx of people gathering around the area, I realized that I forgot to share something very essential to others – the love and care towards the environment.

SIRAO (Top) Photo by Chasing Potatoes on the “Amsterdam of Cebu” – Sirao Flower Farm. (Bottom) Photo from TreasuredWanders on what happened after people came to the…

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Days Like These Beat Days Like Those

Days Like These Beat Days Like Those

#FreedomClimb at Mt. Lanaya with the NCR Trekkers Club.

The stunning view of Mt. Lanaya from below
This is my fourth trek with NCR Trekkers Club, thanks to Lanz (others call her Mel or Melai) for inviting me; who also happens to be our small but incredible group leader. But unfortunately this time, she wasn’t able to come with us due to important family matters. That is why by virtue of no choice, she needs to select someone to care for our group while she’s away, at least to maintain the peaceful atmosphere of the loud nature of my groupmates. And indeed we are very fortunate enough to have Julz as our acting leader. Although we missed Lanz, we are that matured enough to move on with our trek that day without her. (haha!)

On the left is our group leader (Lanz) and on the right is our acting group leader (Julius)
By the way, we called our group TRIBU ISKWATTERS. During this trek, we are grouped into three and we are the mid-group.

I was definitely excited for this day, coz I woke up ahead of the alarm I had set a night before the trek (multiple alarms are necessary for sleepyheads like me but this time it was useless haha!) and as usual I arrived on time,  at Cebu South Bus Terminal (feeling proud). And there I saw Lanz, bidding us goodbye. Even if she’s not coming, I can sense her sincere support to us and even called me many times checking if our group is already complete since we had to pick up two of our groupmates (Tonix and newcomer Leowil a.k.a. King of the Gil) in Carcar City. It was annoying to me though coz I don’t usually answer calls or even text while riding in public utility vehicles but I understood the situation and it made me realized that she’s just being concern to us. (I cried “Monggo Tear” for her effort haha!). And by the time we are already complete, off we go and forget about her. (evil grin)

Our bus arrived at the town of Alegria by nearly 12:00 nn, we went to a nearby market and buy some necessary stuffs that we forgot to bring (wet wifes, toilet trees, sun black, etc. haha!) and eventually had our fast lunch there. Promptly after, we took motor taxi (habal2x) to proceed to our jump off. Going there was a bit a shaky since my partner for the ride Chloe is not a big fan of long road curves and strange gear shifts of the motorcycle we are riding. But thank God, we arrived safely, had our funny yet very useful mandatory stretching and of course we did not forget to say our prayers then fire away, we jumped off.

‘Twas a  good weather while we had our trek to the campsite, not until we camped in and talked about challenging each of our tent’s capacity to withstand thru heavy rains, and shortly, minutes after, the sky did not fail us and brought us the heavy rain we asked. It was then I realized that the tent we had camped in with my partners (Tonix and Pete) was a failure and had inside it full of water (lesson learned: check your tents at home before using it to your next treks especially those that are not used for years in order to avoid this mess). On the other hand, we gracefully managed to laugh at our situation and just enjoy the rain till it stops. (Too bad I got no picture of our flooded tent.)

Then the good weather’s back, and we eagerly moved forward to the summit. It was approximately 10-15 minutes of trek to get to the summit, once we got there, we had our obligatory photo ops. It was an amazing experience being up there in the summit particularly being able to see the stunning views from down below grasped by an impeccable sunset. It was indeed a good time to shoot. And what made it more interesting, is that I got some of my groupmates brought some props (the flag) and costumes (the long dress), perfect enough to commemorate the Anniversary of Philippine Independence Day. Yes, it’s really weird, coz there is this certain kind of FREEDOM that I can’t explain every time I reached the summit. But whatever freedom that is, I guess, it’s mainly freedom from exhaustion and just be overwhelmed with the achievement at that certain point. I hope you readers and fellow trekkers feel me too.

At the moment we got already those instagram-worthy shots and just in time the sun is about to go down, we headed back to our camp site and prepared our delicious meals for our grand dinner. This is one of my favorite part of the trek wherein I get to hang-out with my groupmates exclusively, then act crazy with them comfortably. But nobody beats our acting leader (Julz), he’s the craziest, coz I find it hard to identify every moment we have our conversation whether he is serious or not, he’s always the cracked one. Who will ever forget his famous specialty, the Chicken Pork Binignit and the Brazilian Salad with Romanian Sauce? Whew! This is a lot to digest but I dare you to try it by joining us in our next trek, I’m pretty sure you will never regret it for the rest of your life.

Preparing our Grand Dinner

See pics below for evidences of  our group leader’s craziness. haha! Peace Julz!

This is a good thing though, sometimes we need to forget our sanity even just for a while in order relieve the heavy thoughts/feeling we brought before the trek. And that literally made sense, it felt very light to be with this kind of people. All are in synch with positive vibes and care for one another.

Dinner ends so we proceed to the most exciting part: The Socials, wherein we get to interact and become to know more with the other two groups. We played our favorite sensational game which I just learned with the NCR Trekkers, during my first trek with them at Mago Peak (Carmen, Cebu). They call this The Werewolf Game, basing on my simple understanding, it’s a game of survival between the humans and the werewolves moderated by a narrator who gives us instructions and we just simply played each of our role smartly. As usual we had a very interesting game that night, though I was one of the humans, some of the villagers were traumatized with our game last time in Kandungaw Peak (Dalaguete Cebu), wherein I played as a werewolf, sacrificed my good reputation by betraying some of my good alliances and almost won. That is why some of the villagers’ past experiences of the game with me as werewolf seemed to linger and kept suspecting me that I’m still one of the werewolves but in the end, with the help of the “Litte Girl”, I was able to prove I am not.  Though I felt bored to play as a useless villager, at least I belong to the side who won the game, the humans.  The game, as well as our socials ended early and we are now free to sleep. But instead of sleeping we continued playing more exciting games with some of my very close friends I met at the trek. And finally, we ended that night with a remarkable stargazing experience while sharing each our doze of non-sense. Good thing the sky is very clear and no sign of rain that night. Though I forgot so many things with our conversations, all I know is that, it was fun and the experience was memorable. Lights out and thank God for the day.

Then came the next day, we camped out and traversed our way down via Legazpi Trail. This time, it wasn’t a walk-in-the -park to us since the path is made up of rocky edges, slippery dry leaves and added by the heavy rain at the middle of our trek. It’s wasn’t just me but also my groupmates struggled along the way. Truly these moments brought us the worst and best in us. Worst, coz it really tested our will to continue (which by virtue of no choice, we need to) beyond those physical exhaustions, anxieties and the fear of falling. Best, coz I had witnessed how everyone in our group took care of each other, the boys carried the heavy bags of the girls and we assisted them whenever they had difficulties. This is not so normal to me, coz I am naturally insensitive but to see our group leader Julius patiently assisting our girls and to see their exhausted faces, which I can’t help but noticed, I assertively helped them right away with no more hesitations.  This moment has taught me lot, apart from being sensitive with the needs of others, I also experienced that certain kind of fulfillment every time we are able to help. Indeed we can be heroes in our own little way. We might see it little but it could be a big thing for others especially those who had our help.

Finally we survived our way down and had this scenic grassland wherein we played like freed children in the green fields of rainy days. Then we moved forward to Mainit Spring (Somewhere in Malabuyoc, Cebu) and enjoyed a dip at a large tub of hot water. After all the hardships we had encountered, these were all priceless.


All in all, it was another one of the best experience I had with NCR Trekkers Club. They had taught me the real reason why we trek, it wasn’t always just for fun nor to relieve our stress and depression, it also a good medium to extend our understanding that life is not just about us, it’s also about being sensitive in taking good precautions to our surroundings. Being on top of the mountains we had climbed, made me see that it’s really a big world to us but to the world, the impact of our little helping hands joined together with the other people we have inspired will make a really big difference. I know this doesn’t stop here as I aspire myself to Becoming a Responsible Mountaineer someday and tell these awe-inspiring stories to my future family one day.


Photo By: July
Thank you NCR Trekkers Club for this opportunity! Keep up the good job and together let’s inspire more people.

P.S. Thanks especially to Master Kring for encouraging me to write my first ever blog, @wanderinsoulscamper for the assistance and constant support, and also to my photo-buddy during each trek @foureyedlaagan for always challenging me with those awesome blog photos and write ups. More tips please!