Gold Mine! Never been to one before. I have handled gold almost my entire life but I never really had an idea as to how it is processed BEFORE it gets to my hands.
So Byan Yap, COO of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company invited me and Cathleen Summers to see exactly how it's done in Benguet.
My kids: Mom, can you bring some gold home?
Me: I am not sure they will allow me to bring any home
My kids: Just swallow some and they will never know.
Me: Ok, I will try my best.
First step, put on your gear. Bryan told me to zip my overalls higher to my neck. I guess I was still trying to look vivacious in the orange and gray overalls.
Step two, listen carefully to the orientation.
I could hardly hear anything because honestly, at this early point, I was already in panic mode.
We got into a van. Into a long tunnel we went. It was dark. I am claustrophobic so I was gasping for air as if I were drowning. I had wet and clammy palms. I was dizzy. I was terrified.
Finally we arrived at the first landing where we are to abandon the vehicles. It was a large, more open space with cool air circulating and I instantly felt better.
Step three, DON'T PANIC!
We got into a MANCAGE (we all loved this term) and went down, down....down.....and down until we got to 1000 level.
The trekking starts. You have to be careful with your steps because it quite rough and rocky. Although the tunnels are lit, we really relied on the lights on our helmets.
We finally hit a dead end where above us is where the gold, silver and copper were! OK, listen, you will not find them stuck in the rocks and see men chisel away like the dwarfs in Snow White. Actually, that's exactly what I pictured in my mind.
Above us were, of course, rocks. Inside those rocks are the elements that are not visible to the eye. Only the expert miners know that there's gold there.
They then dig, blast and gather. Step four, NEVER take off your helmet.
Up in the surface, I was told to prepare myself because the miners are wearing their underwear because of the heat. I thought they were joking. The miners were excited to pose as they were hopeful of being cast in the Bourne Legacy since Cathleen Summers was there.
Reminded me of the time I went to Adonis....(that's another story).
Step five, ALWAYS strike a pose!
Your bloggerina, handling a semi-heavy equipment.
OK fine! Not handling..but posing next to it!
See that container in wheels? That's where the rubble goes. They told me the name they call it but I forgot. Back to step two, always pay attention.
After spending around 30 minutes underground, I was so ready to see the sky. When we got up, we were taken to the processing facilities and here is where IT actually happens. Where the rocks go through cleaning process, where the gold is sieved from the rocks, and the melting into a bullion.
We had to climb up those stairs to see what's inside the "cooking pot"!
A mixture of this and that creates this gray gooey liquid that's very unappealing.....but in reality, you are actually stepping on top of gazillions worth of GOLD!
The whole tour was over. We got down to land and had time for one more photo. I have no idea how I still had the energy to POSE!
The final outcome of it all would probably look like this.
I was not able to swallow any, as my kids asked me. I just don't see rubble or gray gooey stuff with cyanide and a whole chunk of gold bar appetizing and feasible to swallow.
Overall, it is an incredible experience that I had and I just want to express my utmost gratitude to Bryan, Christine and the whole staff of
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company who allowed us into their world.
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!!