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At launch of new edition: Thomasian journalist dictated Magsaysay plane crash memoir from bed, Magsaysay daughter says

2 min readSpeaking at the launch of a new edition of Thomasian journalist Nestor Mata’s autobiographical account of the plane crash, Mila Magsaysay-Valenzuela recalled seeing Mata in hospital after the crash and wondering how he would recover from the incident.
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Published 30 days ago on March 19, 2024

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The sole survivor of the plane crash that killed President Ramon Magsaysay in 1957 fought through the pain of recovery to write an autobiographical account of the last moments of that flight, the daughter of the late president said.

Speaking at the launch of a new edition of Thomasian journalist Nestor Mata’s autobiographical account of the plane crash, Mila Magsaysay-Valenzuela recalled seeing Mata in hospital after the crash and wondering how he would recover from the incident.

"...I said a prayer, ‘Please God, help him.’ Just a few weeks after, he was slowly recovering. He was dictating this book,” she said at the UST Miguel de Benavides Library during the launch on Monday, March 18.

Magsaysay-Valenzuela said that Mata’s first article about the incident for the Philippines Herald was dictated from his hospital bed and became the backbone of “One Came Back: The Magsaysay Tragedy.”

The book, which Mata co-authored with Vicente Villafranca, details the last moments of the flight of Mount Pinatubo, the presidential plane that crashed into Mt. Manuggal, the highest mountain in Cebu, on March 17, 1957. Out of the 26 passengers and crew aboard, including Magsaysay, only Mata survived.

The Miguel de Benavides Library, together with the families of President Magsaysay and Mata, launched a new edition of the book on Monday, exactly 67 years after the tragedy.

Mata's daughter, Jocelyn, read an excerpt from an article her father wrote and honored the legacy of then-President Magsaysay in her speech.

"The book 'One Came Back' serves to immortalize the legacy of President Ramon Magsaysay and Nestor Mata. By publishing a new edition of 'One Came Back,' we hope it would perpetuate and conserve the memory of two legends," she said.

Copies of the book were presented to Vice-Rector Rev. Fr. Isaias D. Tiongco, O.P., Prefect of Libraries Rev. Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P., the descendants of President Magsaysay and Nestor Mata, Faculty of Arts and Letters Dean Melanie Turingan, and representatives of the National Library, and National Historical Commission of the Philippines, among others.

Mata earned his degree in philosophy from the then-Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (now Faculty of Arts and Letters) in 1959. He had covered President Magsaysay since his election in 1953 and returned to journalism shortly after recovering from the crash. Mata spent the succeeding decades in journalism.

He died in 2018 at the age of 92. -With reports from MJ Jadormio and Paolo Cootauco

UST Miguel De Benavides Library

Nestor Mata

One Came Back

The Magsaysay Tragedy

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