T&J Travels: Baguio 2015 (Part 5)

- Balatoc Mines -

The Mines is just too far from everything else that a taxi drive there has a special rate of 500php one way. You could expect not only paying 500php more back but more than that as well since you have to pay for the driver's idle time. Reagan refused the initial negotiation but seeing my worried face how far it really was from everything made him gave in. I honestly do not want to spend hours here hoping for a jeep to come. We settled for 1800 roundtrip from 1145 to 3pm. 

Based on other blogs, they were supposed to do the tour at 10am or 2pm. However, as experienced that time, they do the tours by the hour (with 30 minute intervals for cleanup of the tunnel mine, will explain later) for as long as a group arrives. Initially it was just me and Reagan (we missed the earlier group) and was lucky that minutes before we started, a family of 5 came to join us. 

The museum holds all vintage items related to the company. Everyone is allowed to go in without additional charge. Good to pass time while waiting for the earlier group to finish. 

While I do love looking at vintage items, the miniature house occupied my time. I have not even seen what it was supposed to be but my guess was it was temporary shelter for employees because the rooms inside have bunker beds. The detail amazes me so much it was so frustrating that the insides are dark to snap photos of. 

By 2pm our tour started, which is a plethora of new knowledge I must say. Who knew the mines could be this interesting!

For safety they provide helmets and boots. It is actually suggested that you come with socks because you may get irritated with the boot's plastic. 

The highlight of the tour was the lights out with matching dynamite explosion. It's not a simulation but an actual controlled explosion wherein we get to stay at an area safe for us to wait. The (muffled) sound of the dynamite and the force of air rushing out of the tunnel was surreal, I doubt you could experience that elsewhere. We would have been closer but since we had kids in the group, we had to stay somewhere safer as per tour guide instruction.

For a price of 250 php per person (senior is given discount, but I could not remember how much), better go there as soon as you can, before tourists flock in numbers. Definitely a must for families.

- Going home to Manila -

We had an extremely late lunch at Ganza, a quick trip at the market for vegetables and a stop at the supermarket for snacks, we eventually managed to check out our bags at the City Center Hotel. They're really awesome, allowing us to spend the day without worrying how to carry our bags nor checkout. It was around 5pm. 

Taxi was really hard to get by and it was already dark when we managed to get one. The driver took us to Victory Liner only to experience the same fate that happened to us when back in Pasay. Trips are fully booked until Monday so we had to rush to the next terminal we could go to. We decided to look for Genesis once more but had a hard time getting any taxi. We started to walk and ended up on the old Victory Liner terminal (nearer SM) where we remembered our taxi driver saying has no Manila trips. We didn't get to look at Victory but with adrenaline pumping, I decided to rush over to other bus lines asking each one if they got any left. We were lucky that the bus conductor  I talked to had 4 more free (those who had reserved haven't arrived) seats! We bought it as soon as we can and what do you know, it's another Joybus!

This maybe older than the bus we came in but it had more leg room, blankets every seat and snacks on board. I was grinning ear to ear. Lesson learned: Book early. Joybus is your friend.

By 1am we were already at EDSA, (5 hrs of nonstop trip) and managed to have our bus drop us off at Boni instead of Pasay so we don't need to commute back. We were really tired but who cares, we got home without any concrete plan of how to! 

Gallery here