A Different Baguio: Balatoc Mines + Hydro Falls

Friday, November 30, 2012

Baguio City is always been one of my favorite places to go to. In fact, this is one of the places that I've been dreaming of to visit when I'm still young. I can still clearly remember how my first visit to this place occurred. After that first visit, it was followed by a number of visits which are more fun I must say.

Last month, I went back to Baguio to explore some of its places that aren't frequented. I've been to its touristy places already for quite number of times and whenever I return to Baguio I don't bother to see some of those touristy places I've been to again. Well, aside from the Burnham Park which I couldn't avoid seeing to as we often pass on this place whenever we go to some of the spots in Baguio. I had Carla of blissfulguro with me on exploring on these some not-so-known places near Baguio.


Well aside from that idea, she actually accepted my invitation because we'll be using the hotel room voucher from Azalea Residences which I've received during the bloggers tour.

Me and Carla planned to stay in Baguio for two days and head to La Union afterwards to go surfing. With that duration, I had set to visit two places near Baguio; a mining area and a waterfalls. These places sounds unusual for a tour in Baguio, right? Well, I didn't know that these places exist in this mountain city aside from Mines View if you can call it a mining area. 

We arrived at our hotel earlier than the check in time. Since we were early as I said our room wasn't available yet so we asked if we can leave our things so that we can go on to our errand that day. They agreed and so we left our things.

Balatoc Mines

Balatoc Mines is a mining town in Itogon, Benguet which is situated 30 minutes away from Baguio City. The place is said to be a living proof that the city has been once a known mining site during the early years. Today, the mining site is a favorite destination for school and office outings. Families, friends and travelers can also enjoy the place as it has now become a tourist spot. It is said that visitors of this area can enjoy to be a miner for a day because it provides an informative tour of the place for a fee. That idea of becoming a miner for a day really want me to visit the mining site. :D


From our hotel, me and Carla went to the Petron Station at Harrison road besides the Chinese Patriotic School. The place is just a few walks in front of Burnham Park. This is where the jeepney going to Balatoc stops and gets its passengers.

We took a jeepney with 'Acupan-Balatoc' signboard. Good thing when we arrived, the jeepney still has few seats for us. In no time it left the terminal and we're off to our destination. Fare is around PHP 25.00 per person with travel time of about 45 minutes.

Since we weren't familiar where to alight, we asked the driver to drop us off at the Balatoc mines. A few minutes after passing through the check point, we were dropped off near the stairway situated on the side of the road. The driver told us that it's the way down to the mining site. So we walked down using the stairway until we saw the entrance to the mining site.

We told the guard situated at the entrance gate that we went there for the mining tour. He let us in and took us to the museum area for the mining tour.

We were assisted by the mining tour personnel. We registered and paid the fee for the tour which is PHP 250.00. Student discount is also granted but only during field trips or large group of visitors.

We were given a hard hat and boots to be used during the tour. Also, we were given a chapa as souvenir. Seemingly, the chapa is being used by miners as their pass to get inside the tunnel. They drop it in a certain box and get it everytime they get out of the tunnel. This regulation ensures everyone's safety. If there's still chapa left inside the box; then there are still miners inside the tunnel. 


When everything has been set, we eventually started our tour .


We started the tour with our guide explaining the history of Balatoc Mines and some plans for the site. Afterwards, we walked towards the railway that goes to the tunnel.


I was so excited as we walked in the railway towards the mine train as I know we can experience to ride on it during the tour but unfortunately it isn't functioning that time. I was saddened with the news. I kept on asking our guide if she's making fun of us or what; but it is really is true. Sigh :(


Anyway, that doesn't stop us to enjoy the tour. With the muddy ground, we walked in the railway going to the tunnel entrance.


We went inside and had a picture of how the mining tunnel looks like. Our guide let us drill and experience how the blasting of dynamite happens inside the tunnel. But one of the most intense that occurs inside the tunnel is how our guide turn on the 'anaconda' thing.


Well me and Carla were shocked with how the drilling takes place inside. Wala man lang pasabi. The sound of it is really disheartening. We can feel the throbbing while the miner drills. Despite of all those things, we tried the machine and we're able to experience how to drill inside the tunnel. The experience? Well, it feels like my whole body vibrates as I drill.


Afterwards, our guide showed us how a real dynamite looks like and how miners planted such in the holes. As soon as our guide mentioned to us that it was a dynamite, I backed off and told her I couldn't be able to take anymore surprises. She cleared to us that she's not going to light it and she's just going to show us how they put such inside the holes. Good, just to be clear! :D

We moved forward until we reached a mini tunnel that leads up somewhere. Our guide told us that the miner was inside there and lighting up a dynamite for us; so for us to experience how a dynamite blasts inside the tunnel. When our guide received the go signal from the miner, we went back to where we are awhile ago and waited for the anticipated dynamite blast.


Me and Carla walked quickly back to the safe area. We covered our ears as we couldn't bear any more terrifying sounds. Few seconds after, we heard the blast that sounded the entire tunnel. It was remarkable, it feels like where in a Dolby digital film. :D

Too bad I wasn't able to record it or videotaped Carla to see how she reacted on the blasts.

We went out of the cave and went back to the registration area. We were given a certificate to appreciate our visit inside the Balatoc mines.


The amount we paid might be expensive but the mining tour is really worth it. One can really enjoy its visit inside the tunnel and get shocked with the thrill of the underground.

We went back to Baguio city proper and spent the rest of our day and night there trying out some restaurants and pubs.

Hydro Falls

It was our second day in Baguio. This time the sun showed up which is a good thing since we'll be going to a waterfalls.

We checked out early from our hotel room and had our things left in the hotel so it can't be hassle for us bringing in our things while we hike up getting to the waterfalls. I don't have any further information about the waterfalls aside from it's located in Camp 6 along Kennon Road in Tuba, Benguet.

From the hotel, we went to Jollibee at T. Claudio street corner Harrison road. The jeep that goes to Camp 6 stops on that area and gets its passengers. We waited for a few minutes until it arrived. We rode the jeep with the signboard 'Camp 6'. We paid around PHP 17.00 each for the fare.

We didn't know where to alight to again so I asked our driver to dropped us off where the Hydro Falls is. There are numbers of waterfalls along Kennon Road and good thing the jeepney driver knows what waterfalls we were talking about. 

Few minutes after we passed by the Lion's head along Kennon Road, the driver dropped us off and pointed to us the hanging bridge situated on the side of the road which goes to the Hydro Falls.


With the looks of the hanging bridge, I doubted if I can survive if I walk by this bridge. It's rusty and looks unstable. I asked Carla that we have to pass by one by one and so we did. I passed through it first by walking quickly and gently until reaching the other side. While Carla seamlessly walked through the bridge without showing any fear at all. Ikaw na!

With no guides or any map with us, me and Carla braved the way going to the waterfalls. Well, if there's a concrete way. But seriously, we used our instincts and just followed the trail we thought that goes to the waterfalls.

We passed by a basketball court, a goat that hindered our way which we asked the boy who was playing at the court that time to help us move the goat, the bushes and boulders. Well, the goat is the most difficult one. Lol! :D

With no trail guides visible in the area, me and Carla really just followed our own capability. Because of that, we lost in the middle of nowhere as we thought that we had to follow those tubes so for us to get to the waterfalls. We just realized we made a wrong turn when we saw the waterfalls from afar. We went back to the boulders where the fork is. So when you'll be visiting the Hydro Falls in the future and you encounter boulders on your way, walk through those boulders and it'll lead you to the waterfalls. Do not follow the path anymore that leads to the forest.

I know Carla doesn't like trekking but look at her while she trekked through the boulders and crossed the streams going to our destination. :D


But seriously, I didn't know that we have to trek this hard for the waterfalls. I thought it'll just spend us like 30 to 45 minutes to trek. In fact, I thought it's just going to be a walk in the park. 

We came unprepared, I must say. We saw some people crossing the boulders which we supposed that they came from the waterfalls. We were shouting at them and asking how to get to the waterfalls but it feels like they can't hear us.



So, it's just going to be me and Carla again in exploring the path to the waterfalls. 

We continued trekking. Crossing through boulders went hard as we have to hike up and climb up in some points. Well I will not divulge further that Carla fell down twice as we crossed the boulders. :D

When we heard of water streaming down, we knew that we're getting closer to the Hydro Falls.

After a few minutes of rock crossing and climbing, the Hydro Falls showed up to us. We were delighted when we saw the magnificent view of the falls. All the hardships were gone. We were refreshed with its view and the feeling of accomplishment.


Look how high we climbed up to get to the waterfalls.


The Hydro Falls is a multi-level waterfalls but we were only able to get to its lower level.


It looks better when nearer. This waterfalls is worth the effort we exerted in chasing it.


Carla took a swim. I tried but the water is so cold. Carla told me that the water is deep. Well, sya na marunong magswimming. 


I was so happy that we were able to reach the waterfalls by ourselves. It looks like risky crossing through the boulders but I guess it's worth seeing this waterfalls. One should take precautions when going to this place. If possible, take someone knowledgeable about the place when you visit the Hydro Falls.


After staying for like half an hour in the waterfalls, we've decided to go back. The descent is much easier now as we were already aware of the trail to take. 

We were able to get back to Kennon road in 45 minutes. We waited for jeepney to pass by that goes back to Baguio city but they are very rare so we tried to hitchhike. Unfortunately, none of the vehicles that passed by let us hitchhike. But after about half an hour, a jeepney going to Baguio City passed by. We rode the jeepney going back to the city proper.



13 comments :

  1. mga 100 times ko nabasa pangalan ko. hsha

    ano ulit ang "boulders" at "fork"? haha

    oo na ako na ang nalaglag twice at ako na ang naka dress mag trek!;p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dinamihan ko tlaga exposure mo in words. Quits lang! :D

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  2. Andami pa lang posibleng sidetrip sa Baguio sir. Tsaka pangarap ko makapasok sa loobg ng isang minahan. I've been there for once with limited time only, so i guess next time I could have all the time to explore Baguio. Thanks for your post sir. At! may certificate pa. nice.

    [www.thekidwanderer.blogspot.com]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Even in the Baguio city itself madami pang pede puntahan.

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  3. been to baguio pero di p nkapunta dito ..

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  4. hahaha! puro kalampahan ni carla. lol! at hindi ko alam na nakadress siya nun. ang aadik. bakit ba hindi ako nakasama sama dito./ hay!

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  5. Wow Balatoc Mines is one of the official challenge site of Amazing Race Philippines! Contestants try their skills in mining for a day too in that episode challenge.

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  6. Love to see these places too!

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  7. You can actually tour the mining site?? Thanks for the idea! :)

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  8. I'm from baguio and never been to this Hydro Falls. :) I was wondering, may signal ba dun? in case we get lost or something hehe thanks :))
    -Lyndale

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  9. How hard was it to go to Hydro falls? What were your major challenges going there with the boulders and all...?

    Are there guides? Or does one go to Hydro falls alone... without a choice?

    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. The path to follow and the boulders, it's really dangerous so be cautious.

      I don't think there are guides, we found none when we went there.

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  10. Hi approx how long was the tour? :)

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