Baguio, You’ve Never Seen! (Part 1)

Posted: November 9, 2011 in Blog, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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Baguio, You’ve Never Seen!
Part1
ITLog No. 12
(28 October – 1 November, 2011)

After my last day from the company I have been working for, for the past 11 years, I promised my parents that I would be visiting them and would stay with them longer than the usual 2day visit that I do, we headed for the Victory Bus Station and took our 2320hr bus reservation up to Baguio. Arriving in Baguio at 0530hrs and bought tickets for our trip back to Manila, so we would not go back again to the station and buy our tickets. Took the taxi going home and upon arriving in the house we rested a bit for our next destination later in the day.

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We would not only visit my parents in Baguio, but to see other places not usually visited by visitors in Baguio, unlike Mines View, Wright Park, Mansion House which visitors to Baguio often flock to, I have been searching the web and found a couple of nice places to go to, including the Balatoc Mine Tour.

Woke up around 0800hrs and prepared to go mine touring, left the house at around 0900hrs ad headed to downtown Baguio, we took the jeep going to Acupan, in front of the Petron Gas Station beside Baguio Chinese Patriotic School, which costs Php25.00 each and took our seats in the jeep. After the jeep was full, we headed for Acupan passing thru Loakan Road.

We were dropped off at the tow of Balatoc and walked our way to the entrance to where the Mine Tour is, asking the guard on duty if we could join the tour. After a phone call, we were escorted to the Staging Area of the tour near the Balatoc Tourism Office. After registering our names and paying Php250 per person, we were issued our tags or what they call “chapa”, this is what miners are given to identify each miner going inside the mines. I was issued number 137006 BC and carol chapa is 137007 BC, then we were issued wellington rubber boots and hardhats for our safety, I was asking why there are no miner’s light were issued to us, and they said that we would not need it because the mine is well lighted.

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Benguet Corporation was established in 1903 as a “sociedad anomina,” known as “Benguet Consolidated Mining Company.” It pioneered with the first modern mining operation in the Philippines when it opened the Antamok Mines in 1908 at Benguet province.

In the 1920s, the Company introduced a profit-sharing system with small mining companies and individual owners around the Itogon area, wherein with this technical expertise and financial resources, it would bring into production promising mining properties, which would otherwise be left idle because of lack of capital and engineering know-how.

It was during this formation that it required interest in the Balatoc and Acupan Mines, which led to the formation of the Balatoc Mining Company.

Perhaps, the new company’s charm was in the name “Balitoc” which is the igorot word for gold and the igorots had certainly managed to mine gold out of the mountains.

In 1956, the company was incorporated under the name Benguet Consolidated Inc. and later renamed “Benguet Corporation” in 1980.

Its new corporate name Benguet Corporation spearheaded a diversification of operations in different parts of the country. This was when the original underground mines named the Benguet Gold Corporation.

The glorious moments of the BGC have been seriously threatened in the late 60s with the decline in metal prices ad increase in operating cost.

The problem was aggravated more when a major portion of its Acupan underground was flooded as a result of the July 16, 1990 earthquake that has an intensity of 7.8 in the Richter scale.

The Balatoc Mines Tour is the first show mine in the Philippines and thus said to be the most unique attraction. The mine site once had nine main levels and nine sublevels. The entrance of the mine is at 600meters above sea level, the lowest level is at 425meters below sea level, 1.025meters below the entrance. Access to lower levels was provided by a mine-shaft.

The Mine Tour is planned to resemble the daily life of the miners, so it starts with the issuing of Chapa, which serves as an ID to the miners. These chapas will tell whether a miner still has not left the mines and will also reveal where one is trapped inside the mine in case of a cave-in.

We started the tour near the statue of “The Miner”, then proceeded along the rail tracks to where they bring out the Gold Ores. After showing us all the equipment used, we then proceeded to enter the mine entrance known as the Vegas Tunnel. Our Guide, Derehlene Ayson, showed and explained to us what the miners do and use, how they work in the cave and what miners usually do on emergencies. We reached a part of the tunnel where we were introduced to Bartolome Toyoken, who I is a miner here in Itogon for 35 years and was honored by an award in Malacañang. He showed us how the drill works and even showed me how to operate it.

We then headed to the part of the cave where they set up some blast pattern on the wall and showed us how to install dynamites inside the bored holes and how the dynamite should be triggered to blast to be effective, then Mr. Toyoken went to a part of the mine to light up a dynamite, which would be the highlight of the tour, but since he was not the one who set-up the dynamite it miss fired and went back to set it up again. This time we could hear a heavy thud and a gush of air passing thru us indicating that the blast has occurred (and he just used half a stick of dynamite), what more if it was more than one stick of dynamite. Upon feeling the blast of the dynamite, we were given samples of rocks where you could see some glittering stuff which they call “fool’s gold”, then you could here the mine cart coming which will take us out of the cave just like mine ores.

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Going back to the main center where we were issued our certificates indicating that we have completed the tour of the Balatoc Mines and then getting to know the tour guides and getting their names, I told them the one reason I wanted to visit the Balatoc mine was, because my Grandfather worked here as head of the Power House, and they say you are always known for our alias and the alias of my lolo was tisoy because he looks like a foreigner.

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Saying our good-byes to our guides, we headed out to and wanted to try some local foods, so we ended up in a local eatery where we ordered white beans with fish, ginataang tuna, inihaw na liempo and rice. After a hearty lunch we walked back to where we were dropped off by the jeep and took pictures of the locals including their bunk houses, I wanted to go in and see how they live but a vacant jeep arrived and boarded it headed back to Baguio.

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Going down at North Drive, then walked towards Pink Sisters Convent where we said some prayers and thanks for the graces we received, then planned to proceed to Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral, passing along Gen. Luna Road, when I remembered a place where we played in high school that a few people would visit, this was the Emilio Aguinaldo Museum.

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The Emilio Aguinaldo Museum was erected to house personal memorabilia of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo which include the different uniforms and barong tagalogs he once wore, his photographs and those of his family, a work desk, and the wheelchair which he used when he was confined at the Veterans Memorial Hospital. Also on display is a three-dimensional miniature scene depicting his inauguration as president and a replica of the Philippine flag, which was originally designed by the general, with revolutionary words embroidered on it.

Here is where you could see the original Philippines Flag (due to its old and fragile state, no photos are allowed to be taken inside the museum) is shown, where they say when Marcos declared Martial Law, he tried to seize the Original Philippine Flag, but was hidden in a bank named Monte de Piedad, which was hidden and not properly preserved from element, was almost to fragile when it was discovered and displayed.

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After our tour of the museum we then headed for Our Lady of Atonement CathedralOur Lady of Atonement Cathedral or better known as Baguio Cathedral.

Construction on the cathedral itself was begun in 1920, under the leadership of the then-parish priest, Fr. Florimono Carlu. The building was completed by 1936, and consecrated that year, dedicated to Our Lady of Atonement.

During World War II, the cathedral served as an evacuation center. It withstood the carpet-bombing of Baguio City in 1945. The remains of thousands of bombing victims during the war are interred within the grounds of the cathedral.

The cathedral has a distinct pink facade with a rose window and twin square bell towers with pyramidal roofs.

Within its large courtyard is a view deck that overlooks Session Road and the downtown commercial district of Baguio City. The cathedral is accessible to pedestrians from Session Road through a 100-step stone staircase, or through the adjacent campus of Saint Louis University.

Was not able to take a good photo of the interior of Baguio Cathedral because there was a wedding going on so we just headed back outside and took photos of the exterior of the Cathedral.

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Heading to SM Baguio to have a cold drink and buying some food to take home, after waiting for a cab at the taxi stand we headed back home to rest from the long day we had which was about 1700hrs. Going to bed early to wake up early the next day to hear mass.

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Thanks to:

Benguet Corporation
Balatoc Mine Tour

Our Guides:
Derehlene Ayson
Alma L. Caballero
Bartolome Toyoken

Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo Museum
Geam.info@gmail.com
0918.759.0303
Our Guide:
Noel Ramirez

All photos are owned and copyrighted by Joey Rico (also known under these names: alien_scream).
All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use, copy, editing, reproduction, publication, duplication and distribution of the digital photos, without his explicit permission, is punishable by law

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.

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Comments
  1. Joel Rico says:

    That was an excellent lecture on Baguio’s history, did you drop by the house in Gen. Luna?

  2. Jonathon says:

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  3. Latia says:

    I savor, result in I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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