Mt. Manghilao: The Then and Now

The Mountain is Calling…
The first few months of 2016 halted my life. It was a make or break of my character but one thing that didn’t stop during that year - my love of the mountain. 

I made it sure that every turn of the year, I could at least start it at the top…at the summit. It is a promise more in the spiritual side of me that I will live up with what I want, find solitary bliss at the peak and reflect on things that I did the previous year. So this time, I revisited Mt. Manghilao which I had my first climb sometime in 2012.
"I was that young adventurer then but that is something that will never really change through the years."


A Throwback: December 29, 2012. More than 4 Years.
The time when RH Bill duly become a law. The time when Pnoy finally signed the Reproductive Health that caused a commotion specially the Catholic religion. The change of administration since the 2016 Election brought a lot of changes and political pandemonium. So as my life. It brought me into a limelight of blogging, success in career and a sudden plummet of everything – I was at lost. I disappeared from the spotlight until no one remembered me. 
""This was the news I read last 2012, hours before I went to Mt. Manghilao. Remembered that time, that I was eating my breakfast at Jollibee, Mandaue."
A Short Hiatus
Since I had my bike accident again before a major climb sometime in October, I felt that I need a momentary hiatus of activities. I needed to stop because I no longer find myself effective and capable. But then, there is really the cry of the outdoor that I couldn’t resist as well. The spirit of adventure, the love of sports and the excitement of what lies ahead are too deafening for me to ignore. Finally, I made a promise. I must get out of this short break otherwise, I will be stagnant and immobile again.
"The scenery is inspiring..."
"Motorists cross this narrow bridge to get to Brgy. Manghilao"


Before and Now...
Nothing changed. The scenery is still the same. The view is as breathtaking as four years ago. I am still in love with its steep terrain. Its challenging road. The floras and the faunas.
"The road leading to Brgy. Manghilao after crossing the narrow bridge."
"Escaping a deep sigh from this magnificent view"
"White Flower"
"In love with this beauty"
"Isn't she lovely?"

Mt. Manghilao shares a great part of my life - the then and the now. It always makes me contemplate of the good side, the worst scenarios, the struggles of life and the sweet side of it. 
"I found the shade of brown in contrast with green."
"This gigantic worm"

Indeed, every climb is a different experience. Though I had the climb four years ago, my trek this time was something more about myself and how I am looking forward for a beautiful year. 

“Ang Panaad” / The Promise
"Panaad", our term that means "to promise". Standing at the top of Mt. Manghilao is a wooden cross said to be planted by the local folks to protect the town from any volcanic eruption. 
"This is the wooden cross which was thought to save Brgy. Manghilao from a Volcanic Eruption."
"They say you can make wish or do a prayer when you are on top of Mt. Manghilao."

It was thought that this mountain is a volcano that laid dormant for so many years. Thus, the town folks resolved into praying the Lord of Heavens to prevent any mishaps. Nowadays, this cross is an ageing insignia of faith among the locals and devotees for their "panaad". As for me, I kept a promise for myself – to continue the life I am having right now. The life of opportunities, gratefulness and love.

The View is Extraordinaire!
"Of different shades of green..."
"I just love to look at it. I am lost for words."
"At present, Jam, Dave and I posed at the Cross."

In just a couple of hours, my friend and I and our young guides, reached the summit. The mountain is always majestic high up! Always immense in nature!
"The weather at that time was fickle. It was cloudy, then foggy, then a bit of sunshine and rain."
"Jam in the picture now..."

I gave a deep sigh. I love the view of the mountain range around the great Mt. Manghilao (960 MASL). The cross stood proudly at the top, inviting every climber to pray and contemplate. 
"Angling for my signature pose before the surrounding turned foggy."

Soon then, the cloudy weather turned a bit intense. The wind blew moderately and thus, we were covered in fog. It was amazingly cool. 

My climb in Mt. Manghilao made me realized how wonderful life is. At the top, it was so mesmerizing. It was the struggle that made it challenging. It was so fulfilling. I really had a great new year climb! I am willing to embrace this year with positivity, enthusiasm, kindness and love.

How to get there:
1. From Cebu City, take a ride to Danao City either by bus or by jeepney. The fare is 30.00 pesos. Ask the jeepney driver to drop you off to the city market or just in front of Danao church. 
2. If you are from Danao Church, you can opt for a pedicab for 5.00 pesos to bring you to the city market. 
3. Ask a motorbike driver to bring you to Manghilao. They know where the Cross is and they are happy to bring you there. Fare is 35.00 but mind you, don't try to haggle. The road is steep and it is a mix of cemented, rocky and you even pass by a very narrow bridge. So, I guess, the fare is all worth the ride. You can even make it 50.00 pesos.
4. Ask the driver to drop you off to Manghilao Elementary School and from there, you can commence your trek. Kids are willing to guide you at the Cross. The fee is up to you. During our time, I gave the two kids 50.00, and treated them some snacks.

Trivia: I asked the banana vendor whom I met across the school. She told me about the story of Mt. Manghilao. She said that before the cross was put up, the place was flooded with mud. "Gibaha og lapuk," she narrated. I asked her why. She then added, that the place was then a volcano. Then one day, a certain man dreamed about the volcano and was instructed from the heavens that in order to stop the volcano from erupting, a Cross must be planted at the top. With fear and belief of the spiritual side, the man willingly did so. 

Additionally, when I narrated the story to my Mom and to my relatives, they told me that the man who dreamed about the volcano was my great, great grandfather. Wow! Interesting! (Yeah, my grandmother was originally from that place. Talk about a successful climb, interesting volcano story and deep ancestry.)
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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