Mount Manunggal is situated in Cebu, deep within the Visayan region of the Philippines. It is considered the second highest peak in Cebu and the place where an important historical event happened. This is the mountain where Pinatubo, the presidential plane of Ramon Magsaysay, crashed in 1957. The tragic accident killed the leader and his companions in the flight. This is why hundreds of mountain climbers would flock here every year on March 17th for the annual trek up Mount Manunggal, commemorating his death.
The environment surrounding the trail is composed of upland farms, cemented ground and scattered grasslands. There are only a small number of trees by the trekking area, thus hikers should expect little to no shade on their way up the mountain. Wear enough sunblock and proper clothing to protect you from the scorching glare of the sun. However, despite the heat of the sun, cool winds would frequently blow through the path, balancing the temperature of the climb.
For a comfortable hike, make sure to check the weather before you go on your adventure. As for water sources, there are plenty along the base of the mountain. A spring can be found near the camping area itself. A monument for the late president marks the camping site. Situated in grassy fields, the barangay has built several buildings for campers. This makes an overnight stay more comfortable and convenient.
As you continue on your journey up the mountain, you will encounter several locals living along the paths. There are a lot of things to see and you can choose to go on a side trip to see the actual crash site of Pinatubo. Once you reach the summit, all your sweat and tired muscles will go away as you gaze upon the wonderful view!
Because Mount Manunggal is located in Visayas, it is not easily accessible by hikers in the Luzon area. One must travel to the southern islands to get to this mountain. However, it is definitely a must try hike. So, why not go a little further out and explore the wonders that await you in these regions!?
Elevation: 1,003 m above sea level
Days needed to complete hike: 1 to 2 days
Average hike duration to reach summit (From jump-off point): 3 to 5 hours
Major jump-off point: Tagba-o, Brgy. Magsaysay, Balamban, Cebu
Although there are several trails where you can kick-start you trek up Mount Manunggal, the trail from Tagba-o is the most frequently used. This is the trail used by the annual trekkers commemorating the former president.
At the start of your hike, expect to use a cemented path developed for the hikers. This steep trail will go on for quite some time as you pass through several farmlands and wide grasslands. Say hi to a passing local or a few ducks along the way. Keep yourself entertained by taking snapshots of the pretty scenery that shows up here and there. Once you reach the middle of your hike, more greenery will fill your view and the temperature will settle to a cooler degree. The path is pretty straightforward but requires endurance as you climb steep terrains. All will be worth it though when you reach the summit! Take a quick breather in the campsite and explore nearby attractions before you call it a day.
Up at the summit, the hike will reward you with a breathtaking view of other mountain peaks. See rolling hills and villages scattered below you as the sunrise along the horizon. Stay and chill for a while before you begin your descent. You can have a side trip in Balamban and try their famous and sumptuous liempo!
It’s important to plan your trip in advance to make sure you know exactly what to do and where to go on the day itself. Here are some ways to get to your destination:
Mount Manunggal is located in Balamban, Cebu. From the city, you can head on over to Barangay Tabunan, where the Tagba-o trail starts. Take a van bound for Balamban on Ayala Center Terminal. Remember to get off at either Barangay Ga-as or Barangay Magsaysay and continue on to the jump-off point. You can opt to have breakfast before proceeding to the start of the trek.
Should you have access to your own transportation, hikers can now go to Mount Manunggal with private vehicles via Ga-as, Balamban.