In the sitio of Manlauyan, barangay Gango, in the municipality of Libona, tunnels have been painstakingly dug into the earth for decades to extract the gold inside.
The small settlement is located in the hills just behind barangay Cugman of Cagayan de Oro City.
We were here for the first time in 2003 and passed through on a Sunday hike with our German shepherd. Then we were here again in May 2014 and did a blog post with photos. Now we were here again to film this video.
We don’t film in situations like this without asking permission first. Since we didn’t know whether we would get it, I didn’t film the approach via the really disastrous access road, but start directly with the entry into the tunnel of one of the miners.
From one of the sari-sari stores we had asked for permission to film and ended up on the highest point of the sitio and the worst road condition of the sitio.
We had arrived at the home of 82-year-old Nathaniel and his large family. The spry man rarely climbs into the tunnel any more, and if only for an inspection. Today, his sons, grandsons and nephews are responsible for that, and they take the boulders with the gold out of the belly of the earth. They do this with the simplest means at their disposal.
The boulders are crushed and then ground in ball mills using the wet method in a process that takes hours until a very fine slurry is produced. This is then washed out, and I was also shown the small bottle with the mercury without hesitation.
The rumbling of the ball mills can be heard throughout the village. The return journey shows very well the inadequacy of the road, which really does not deserve this name.
We met hard-working but good-humoured men and a few women. Greetings to all the nice people we met there that day.
REAL Life in the PHILIPPINES – Daily life in Cagayan de Oro City, Northern Mindanao, Philippines
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