Nestor Mata

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Nestor Mata
Born (1926-01-16) January 16, 1926 (age 92)
Nationality Filipino
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Animas

Nestor Mata (born January 16, 1926)[1] is a Filipino journalist whose writing career spanned six decades. He is also known as the only survivor of the 1957 plane crash that killed the President of the Philippines, Ramon Magsaysay, and 24 others.[2]


Mata was a reporter with the Philippine Herald newspaper. He covered the Korean War as a war correspondent. In 1953, he was assigned by his newspaper to cover the newly elected President Magsaysay.[1]

Beginning in the 1980s, Mata had penned a regular newspaper column for the Manila Standard (1986 to 1999). He later wrote for the Malaya starting from 1999. He also acted as a co-executive editor for the magazine Lifestyle Asia from 1986 to 1999.[3]

Plane crash survivor

On March 16, 1957, President Magsaysay, accompanied by several government officials and journalists, flew to Cebu for a speaking engagement. Later that evening, the presidential party took off for the return flight to Manila. Their plane crashed in Mount Manung-gal in Cebu at around 1:16 a.m, March 17, 1957.

Mata had been seated near the presidential compartment[2] and was half-asleep at the time of the crash.[4] He was initially rendered unconscious after the crash, and came to a few hours later. Mata later recounted:

I found myself on the side of a steep cliff among dried bushes…. Agonizing with pain, I was completely at a loss what to do. About three meters away from me were parts of the plane. They were still burning. Meanwhile, I heard the distant howling of a dog. It was only then that I felt hopeful of being rescued. Thinking that there were probably people living not far away from where I lay moaning with pain, I made an effort to shout. I noticed that my voice echoed in the nearby mountains.

After that, I began shouting, "Mr. President! Mr. President! Mr. President!" When no answer came, I shouted for Pablo Bautista, the reporter of the Liwayway magazine. "Pabling! Pabling!" Still no answer. It began to dawn on me that there was no other survivor except me.[2]

Mata was rescued by Marcelino Nuya and several other farmers residing near the crash site.[5] He suffered second and third degree burns all over his body[2] and would be hospitalized for the next six months.[4] It took eighteen hours to transport the injured Mata down the mountain.[2] Upon his arrival at a Cebu City hospital, Mata was able to dictate through a nurse a press dispatch to his newspaper. It began with the sentence "President Magsaysay is dead."[2]

Together with Vicente Villafranca, Mata penned One Came Back (1957), a memoir detailing the last moments of President Magsaysay and his own ordeal after surviving the plane crash.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Florentino B. Valeros; Estrellita V. Gruenberg (1999). Filipino Writers in English. Quezon City: New Day Publishers. p. 151. ISBN 971-10-0286-8. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Leon O. Ty (1957-04-06). "Nestor Mata's story". Philippine Free Press. Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  3. ^ "Nestor Mata: After Falling from Heaven, a Passionate Life of Music, Journalism, Chess, and Art". Manila Bulletin. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Julie Yap-Daza (2004-09-04). "The one real born-again". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  5. ^ Miguel Bernad, S.J. "Tragic Mountain: Manung-gal". Mountain Essays of Miguel Bernad. Archived from the original on 2009-08-05. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 

External links

  • Archives of Nestor Mata's column on the Malaya
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