By JOHN MARASIGAN
It was in the summer of 1977, when I first visited Western Minolco Mining Corporation a big multinational company which mined Boneng, Kapangan, Benguet . I was with my Father who happens to be the mechanical supervisor of the Heavy Equipment Department . As a kid I was impressed by the size of those Wabco and Euclid trucks, both having the load capacity of 180 tons of ore. What was imprinted in my memory was the roaring sound of Loaders and Dump trucks that used to roam the open pit of Boneng. Back then I thought that this mining corporation was to thank for, for giving progress to the nation, and providing job for my dad (Well what do you expect from a three year old?).
RARE OFF-ROAD TREK. Boneng’s dirt road gives bikers the rare uphill climb and downhill rush.
Just last February, 30 years after, I had the chance to revisit Boneng. With Atty. Wrenolf Panganiban as the lead man, we biked our way to this old mining site passing through Km 30 in Atok, way down to Naguey and the neighboring sitios. It was a gruelling 48 km. ride. What was exhausting was the 5.5 km. killer climb approaching the downhill of Boneng (not even Gary Fisher can finish this climb, I bet.).
We had our lunch at the top of the mountain where you can find the only multipurpose cooperative of one of the sitios and had our fill of canned sardines, dried fish and tons of rice. After an hour siesta, we pedalled our way down to Boneng. As every biker will say, if there’s a steep climb there’s a downhill (and it was one heck of a downhill). It was an 18-kilometer pure adrenaline rush.
Stopping at the open pit near the dam, I swear I heard the roaring of the big trucks again (or was it my memory?). It looks the same, but doesn’t feel the same. The once barren open pit is now a hill of luscious vegetation. The dusty, loose gravel roads are still the same but the air is fresh.
MINED OUT. What’s left of Boneng after the mines abandoned it.
After 30 years….my heart was skipping a beat. Boneng looks better now. This area adds up to my list of unforgettable off road experiences…
Salamat sa kalikasan! #