Ramon Magsaysay Trek

Balamban Councilor Dave Karamihan, one of the wittiest and funniest men you’ll meet on this island, is once again at the helm of a noble project: the Paghandum ni Magsasay Annual Adventure Trek ’10. Held in commemoration of the 53rd death anniversary of Pres. Ramon Magsaysay, this annual climb runs from March 20 to 21 in Dave’s bailiwick called Balamban.

Paghandum ni Magsaysay Annual Adventure Trek ’10, 53rd Annual Commemoration of the Death of President Ramon Magsaysay, March 20-21, 2010, Mt. Manunggal, Barangay Magsaysay, Balamban, Cebu

The Annual Commemoration is actually on March 17.  A simple wreath laying rite will be held in the crash site at 9:00 in the morning.

On March 20,  Saturday, the weekend of festivities will kick off with the 5th Annual Paghandum ni Magsaysay (PNM) Adventure Race.  This is a climbathon open to professional runners, weekend warriors, and locals.  The race starts at the Welcome Arch of the Municipality of Balamban at the Transcentral Highway all the way to the crash site in Mt. Manunggal.  There is also a Women’s category.  The route is 17km (13Km for the Executive, Local, and Women categories) of partly concrete road, dirt road and mountain trails.

In the evening is the San Miguel Beer Night.  A concert by various bands will be held in the campsite.  Trekkers can have the chance to party with fellow mountaineers.  Food and beverage stalls are situated all around.

On March 21, Sunday, the 7th Annual PNM Mountain Bike Challenge commences from Poblacion in Balamban with the finish line, likewise at the campsite in Mt. Manunggal.

The campsite has comfort room facilities and is fully secured by the local PNP.  An ambulance and medic team is on standby 24/7.

Balamban dumptrucks will be picking up trekkers as early as 5Am in JY square in Cebu City.  There will also be a pickup point in Balamban for local trekkers.  These same dumptrucks will be ferrying trekkers on Sunday back to Cebu City and Balamban.

Paghandum ni Magsasay Annual Adventure Trek ‘09
53rd Death Anniversary of President Ramon Magsaysay Sr.

The aim of this event is to showcase the beauty and the eco-tourism potential of Mt. Manunggal and its environs.  Before, it was just the hardcore mountaineers who can get to this place and set up camp.  Over the years, an access road has been laid out and comfort room facilities added, more and more weekend warriors or families who just want to go on a picnic have started trickling in.

Through all these events that are lined up for the commemoration of the death of a beloved president year in and out, we may be able to put Manunggal in the map of must see destinations for foreign and local tourists alike in Cebu.  This could help out in both ways:  more economic activity in the area, and more consciousness on environmental issues for locals as they would tend to take care of their resources more to keep tourists coming in.

Nobody really knows how this adventure trek started.  Some say, it was the mountaineers who like spending their March 17 weekends atop Mt. Manunggal and integrate themselves with the locals.  Some say it was the University of San Jose Recoletos volunteers who started some outreach programs (they even constructed a chapel near the monument) —and continues to do so— since several years ago.

One thing definite is, this all started with a mountain, which happened to embrace a great man in his death.  It is ironic, that with Magsaysay’s death, a new life is born.  A new life for the constituents of Barangay Gaas and Manunggal.

That is our goal and our promise.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!


  1. Dear sirs/madame;


    Sir we are the NihongoWorld Adventurers group and we will surely join the climbathon. We would like to request if it is possible that another dump truck will leave at 7 a.m to accomodate our group and others that can not make it at 5 a.m. sharp at JY Square? In our group alone … we are 25 already. Hoping for your kind consideration.

  2. wew!mt. manunggal once a beautiful scenery,bt now?damn!its been destroyed by politicos COMMERCIALIZATION (ilahang ge bulabog ang kina-iyahan).sooner or later we can no longer enjoy manunggal.peace!

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