Manipis party is over!

ALLEZ - JV Araneta (The Freeman) - August 24, 2020 - 12:00am

Manipis is a mountain barangay of the City of Talisay, Cebu Province. At the top, it is approximately 25km from the Cebu City Hall. I have tried to look for the official history of the Manipis but couldn’t find any.

Manipis connects downtown Talisay from the east to the mining town of Lutopan, Toledo CIty to the west. It was carved through the high mountains of Cebu by the US Corp of Engineers during WW II when Talisay became the the landing spot for the Allied Forces fighting against the Japanese.

My father, who passed away last February, always talked about Manipis with dread although I doubt if he had pass through the area in his lifetime. It warlike if you take that route, you’re like gambling with your life.But it just goes to show you how famous, or infamous, Manipis is.

What makes Manipis famous though is the over 6km stretch of ascent from which there are no respite. Right after the steel bridge where the climb starts, it is unrelenting. The design of this road, with sheer stone walls on one side and a deep ravine on the other side makes the road susceptible to land slides. It is not advisable to use the road during rainy days but believe me the view simply takes your breath away!

In the earlier days, the roads were narrow, just enough for one vehicle to pass through. For a long time, it was hard for the DPWH to keep the road fully tarmac’d 365 days a year. They would pave 4-5 sections and then the mountains would have their say with landslides and destroy 1-2 sections. It went on and on.

But then the past 2-3 years, the road was finally widened and cemented. It wasn’t as dangerous as before but you have to watch out for falling rocks. With not a lot of traffic, and just a stones throw away from the city, it became a good training ground for the competitive cyclist.

But then the pandemic struck. With people having so much time on their hands and no public transport, they took to their bicycles. With cycling as an exercise being encouraged by the IATF, every Tom, Dick, Jane and Harry suddenly found the wherewithal scale the the 503-meter high mountain.

Early in the lockdown, I could see photos on FB about the cycling activity going on at. I would pass by Manipis when from Lutopan  twice but I didn’t see that much cyclist both times.

Then last Saturday came. IMO, there were a least 500 cyclist mostly riding up and going down. When there are people converging, the next thing that will happen is that vendors will appear. Along the climb and even before the foot of the climb, vendors already had staked their spot. There was even somebody selling lechon!!!

If this was done during ordinary days, I would applaud the event. Cyclists enjoying the climb and vendors doing business. But lest we forget, we’re in a middle of a pandemic and some cyclists and vendors were not wearing masks, not social distancing. It was a new viral wave waiting to happen!

Finally, the City of Talisay has done what it should have been doing a lot time ago- take control of the situation and limit the access to Manipis to cyclists. Now, no one can now enter without the proper papers. I hope that we can understand what the government is doing. Its for the betterment of all.

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