Must have been in March 1996 (or was it 1995, I am not sure). I am referring to the first time I joined the annual Manunggal Trek. I was reminded of this when I dug up my old files and found this photo (top).
My first climb there, I was virtually alone because I didn’t know anybody. What I did was pitch my cheap yellow and green tent near the bust and marker for former president Ramon Magsaysay, whose plane Pinatubo crashed in Mt. Manunggal . I remember I was near the group of Don Bosco students (though the photo shows I was far).
The assembly area was in the barangay next to Tabunan, Cebu City, thus the route was farther than the present one. I tried walking barefoot for the most part of the climb, recalling the days when I organized the farmers in Cebu City. I soon found out that my soles had gotten soft because in the plains we need to wear shoes or slippers most of the time.
Only in my second climb did I get to Befriend members of C.E.B.U. or the Cimbing Enthusiasts and Backpackers Unlimited. I would later join them (was it in 1998?) in their trek from the Osmeña Peak to the Kawasan Falls in Mantalongon, together with Sun.Star’s Januar Yap and Josua Cabrera.
Since then, I made sure I wouldn’t miss the annual climb. And I have made many friends because of this in the process.
—Candido O. Wenceslao, September 6, 2007