Site Visit in Tublay, Benguet

The Bio+Mine – Philippine group conducted an ocular visit in Tublay, Benguet, on July 17-20 which aimed to do scoping in the Sto. Niño mining area and to engage with various communities. The honorable Municipal Mayor Armando I. Lauro welcomed the team and discussed the proposed research activities. After, the team visited the mining area with the help of the Barangay Ambassador Capt. Sison Balawen and Tublay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) officer, Ms. Sharmaine J. Vicente. Specific sampling sites were initially identified, which are mostly located around the thickener and waste dump areas. Although the team was not able to visit the Tailings Dam, it was assured that it would be open during the next visit. The team also had engagements with various institutions and offices, such as National Commission on Indigeneous People (NCIP), Department of Enivornment and Natural Resources – Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Mines and Geosciences Bureau – CAR (MGB-CAR) and Tublay School of Home Industries, to discuss the project goals. The requirements for securing permits were obtained from the NCIP and DENR-CAR offices.

Areas Visited in Tublay, Benguet

Date: July 18, 2022

Tublay Municipal Hall

The team visited Tublay Municipal Hall to meet the honorable Municipal Mayor Armando I. Lauro and the Tublay LGU staff. The team joined the flag ceremony, and Dr. Michael Angelo Promentilla introduced the project.

A courtesy meeting followed after the flag ceremony with Mayor Lauro together with the councilors of Tublay. The team presented the plans for the ocular visit and discussed possible concerns during fieldwork.

Mayor Lauro was supportive of the project and asked the team to share the project results with the LGU which they could adopt to possibly address identified problems in the community. 

After the meeting, Barangay Ambassador Capt. Sison Balawen and DRRMO officer Ms. Sharmaine Vicente provided instructions for the tour around the Sto. Niño area.

Sto. Niño Mine Site

Identification of Sampling Sites for Plants and Soil

Waste Dump A
Coordinates: 16°29’11″N,120°39’25″E

The team walked around from the thickener area to the Waste Dump A that was chosen as one of the sampling sites because it has more variety of plants inhabiting the area and is more accessible than Waste Dumps B and C.

Waste Dump D
Coordinates: 16°29’27″N,120°39’16″E

Another site considered for sampling is the Waste Dump D that is around the large thickener. The Bio team has found this site an ideal area for sample collection because of the existence of vegetations around the area that are planted by the locals.

Sampling Sites for Water

Sto. Niño River
Coordinates: 16°29’25″N,120°39’19″E

The river near the thickener that is a tributary to the Agno River was considered by the water team as sampling site for the determination of the characteristics of the river’s upstream and downstream locations.

Spring Near the Thickener
Coordinates: 16°29’31″N,120°39’24″E

The spring along the road near the thickener was also identified by the water team as one of the samplings sites.

Small Water Bodies Near the Thickener
Coordinates: 16°29’31″N,120°39’23″E

Some small water bodies near the thickener which were described to be acidic by the people in the community were also considered for sampling.

Along the Road:

Near the Spring:

Date: July 19, 2022


The Ridge (Sto. Niño Viewing Deck)
Coordinates: 16°29’52″N,120°39’20″E

The team visited The Ridge which is the Sto. Niño viewing deck where the whole Sto. Niño Mine Site is visible.

Polig Farm (Ullmann Viewing Deck)
Coordinates: 16°29’29″N,120°40’39″E

Another viewing deck that the team visited is the Ullmann Viewing Deck where the Polig Farm and the Ullmann area can be observed as shown in the pictures below:

The Ullmann area, visible at the right of the viewing deck, has active small-scale mining activities.

Offices and Institutions

Aside from the ocular visit to the sampling areas of the mine site, the team also visited the following offices and institutions:

Ambassador Barangay Hall

The Sto. Niño Mine Site is under the jurisdiction of Brgy. Ambassador, Tublay Benguet and hence, the team visited the Ambassador Brgy. Hall to secure a Certification to Conduct Research through Brgy. Captain Sison Balawen.

Weaving, Arts & Crafts of Tublay

The social team visited the Weaving, Arts & Crafts of Tublay where handwoven products in different colors and designs are sold. The team was given the chance to be exposed to the culture by trying the mechanical weaving looms to craft the products.

Tublay School of Home Industries

The social team also visited the Tublay School of Home Industries where they discussed with the principal the project’s aim and the school’s possible participation.

CENRO-Buguias and DENR-CAR Office

The social team visited CENRO-Buguias to inquire about the requirements necessary for the acquisition of permit to conduct sampling and were advised to submit the requirements to the DENR-CAR to secure the Gratitious Permit (GP) to be able to proceed with the sampling activities.

NCIP Office

Another office that the social team visited is the NCIP office to inquire about the requirements to secure permits concerning the indigenous people (IP)

Date: July 20, 2022

MGB-CAR Office

The Bio+Mine team visited the MGB-CAR office to discuss with the officials, led by the Regional Director, Ms. Fay W. Apil, about the project.