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Monday, February 20, 2012

Balatoc Mines Tour in Itogon Benguet

One of our Travel Tripsters favorite adventures is our trip to Balatoc Mines in Itogon Benguet.  The Balatoc Mines Tour was supposed to be only until 2 p.m. but we arrived around 2:20 p.m.  Luckily, the guides allowed us to take the Balatoc Mines Tour still.  We were given a visitor pass by the guards at the gate and were told to proceed to the Visitor Center.  

Our guide Evelyn met us outside the Visitor Center and led us in.  From there, we were instructed to wear helmet and boots.  We saw a photos taken inside the Balatoc Mines of celebrities such as Boy Abunda, Jessa Zaragosa, Paolo Bediones and Eric Quizon.

 
There were a lot of employees working when we came in.  The guide narrated to us the background of the Balatoc Mines and Benguet Corporation.  Benguet Corporation has been mining gold since 1903.  It expanded to chromite in 1934 and copper in 1971.


We got to see a lot of mining tools and equipments.  As we went along, our guide explained them one by one.  She also accommodated all our questions of curiosity.

 
We were each given our own chapas as souveneirs.  The chapas served as IDs for the miners.  They are given one as they enter and they should drop it into the box when they return.  The foreman shall inspect the chapas in the box at the end of the mining day to know if a miner is still in the tunnel.

 

When we entered the Vegas Tunnel, we instantly understood the need for the boots.  It was muddy inside.  The tunnel walls also had side spaces so miners can avoid the carts passing by.  That is also were they eat their lunches when explosions are going about.  The Acupan First Aid Team also hang out there.

 
Our guide explained to us the parts of the cave so we know which has a stable foundation.  We also got to learn the mining operations.

Kurt was able to try drilling holes for real with Manong.  The air pressure made the driller so powerful and loud that I became hesitant to try it.

 
Our guide explained to us how explosives in the mines are done.  Kurt got to hold an actual explosive.

The highlight of the Balatoc Mine Tour is the actual explosion.  It was so intense!  Of course, I can't explain the sensation in words.

Fool's Gold
Manong gave both of us fragments of rocks with sparkling fool's gold as our souvenir.  I'm using it now as paper weight. =p

We exited the tunnel by riding the mining cart.  We wished the tour could be longer but our minds back then were overloaded with so much information already. =)

We Travel Tripsters loved the Balatoc Mines Tour.  We highly recommend the you try it out!  It's a fun, educational and thrilling experience.  

Tip: If you will be using the jeepney as transportation, try not to visit on a Saturday afternoon like we did because all the miners go home on a Saturday and all the jeepneys are full.  We were fortunate that the locals were so kind and courteous as to let us seat ahead of them knowing that we are tourists.

Balatoc Mines Tour Balatoc Mines Tour Map
Price Per Person Adult: 250 php
Kids: 150 php
Payment Options Cash
Business Hours Mon-Sat: 10am-2pm
Reservation Required No
Contact (74) 447-2617
Other Email: balatocminestour@benguetcorp.com
Address
Balatoc, Itogon, Benguet, Philippines
Transportation to Attraction
Taxi, Jeepney