Balatoc Mines is the oldest mining company in the Philippines. Located in Itogon, Benguet, the
mine was founded on August 12, 1903. The place has been a solid proof that the province was
once a mining site a long time ago. It contributed a lot of precious minerals to the country these
past years, helping the local economy of Itogon stay alive.
The mining town of Itogon is just minutes away from Baguio City. It was opened to the public
only in 1997, offering an interactive experience for the visitors to become miners for a day.
Since then, Balatoc Mines has been a frequent destination for school and office activities and
outings. Families, groups of friends, and tourists are also given a chance to see the mining
world of Benguet as it is now one of the tourist spots.
The mining site is situated underneath the mountain ranges. It is composed of interconnecting
tunnels forming a vertical and horizontal web of passages. The mine has three tailing ponds,
where the left-over materials after the mining process are dumped.
Inside The Mine
Before going inside the mine, guests are provided with safety gear such as hard hats and boots
to be used during the tour. “Chapas” are also given, which the visitors can take home as a
The “chapa” is the entrance pass of the miners during the early years. They will drop it in a box
before entering the mine, then get it once they are outside. The “chapa” indicates whether there
are still miners left inside the tunnel.
Visitors get to ride the underground locomotive train to the well-known Vegas Tunnel. There are
several lights inside the site to guide the people exploring the place. But in an operating mine,
usually, only headlamps are used to shed some light in the passageways.
During the tour, the guide will explain the history and future plans for Balatoc Mines. Then, a
sample of dynamite blast will be performed within the tunnel. You will be shown how an
explosive is placed in a hole and how the miners let it blow up. Also, you will learn about the
different phases of the gold mining process.