Nestor Mata

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Nestor Mata (born 1926) is a Filipino journalist whose writing career has spanned six decades. He is perhaps best known as the lone survivor of the 1957 plane crash that killed the President of the Philippines Ramon Magsaysay and 24 others.


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.

Beginning in the 1980s, Mata penned a regular newspaper column for the Manila Standard. As of 2008, he writes for the Malaya.

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 compartmentI 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...
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