The UST Miguel de Benavides Library, in collaboration with the family of late Thomasian journalist Nestor Mata, launches the new edition of the book "One Came Back: The Magsaysay Tragedy" on Monday, March 18. (Photo by Jeremy R. Edera/ The Varsitarian)

COMMEMORATING the 67th anniversary of the tragic plane crash that killed former president Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others, the UST Miguel de Benavides Library launched a new edition of the book, “One Came Back: The Magsaysay Tragedy” on March 18.

The memoir, co-authored by Vicente Villafranca and the late Thomasian journalist Nestor Mata, the sole survivor of the 1957 crash, offers Mata’s first-hand narrative of the late president’s final moments and his own experiences after the incident. 

In his opening remarks, UST Vice Rector Fr. Isaias Tiongco, O.P. highlighted the significance of the memoir, describing it as “not just a mere recollection of events, but a testament to the resilience and courage that defines Filipinos.”

“This event is not just a launch, but a celebration of an enduring spirit of inquiry, the pursuit of knowledge, and the profound connections literature can forge among us,” Tiongco said. 

Descendants of Mata and Magsaysay attended the relaunch, during which the UST Library also opened an exhibit that featured books and photographs chronicling the plane crash and its aftermath.

Mila Magsaysay-Valenzuela, daughter of the late president, said the memoir is a testament to Mata’s journalistic sense of duty and serves as a reminder for Filipinos to be patriotic. 

“The biggest relevance of this launching is that integrity, character, honesty, and duty, and love for country will never be irrelevant,” she said. “This should be the only thing that should remain relevant at all times as Filipinos.”

Jocelyn Mata, daughter of Nestor, said her father believed he survived the tragic plane crash because he was meant to chronicle and retell the story of the accident.

“My father believed that God saved him for many reasons, most of which was to write a first-hand account of a tragic plane crash,” she said. “Although he was suffering from intense pain, he managed to dictate something to the nurse–the beginning of the beautiful making of the book.”

Engine breakdown was ruled as the cause of the crash that happened on March 17, 1957 at Mount Manunggal in Cebu.

Apart from Magsaysay, whose presidency was cut short because of the accident, 24 other people were killed in the crash, including key government and military officials, members of the presidential press, and the pilots. 

Mata, a UST alumnus, became a lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, and wrote newspaper columns until his death in 2018. 

Last year, Mata’s family donated the late Thomasian journalist’s collection of books to the UST Library, including a signed copy of “One Came Back: The Magsaysay Tragedy.”


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