After check-out at Kahuna Beach Resort and Spa, we continued our journey north to the town of Bacnotan, La Union. We spent the morning, hiking around the eco-trail at the “La Union Eco-trail” by Holcim Philippines, Inc.
The thought of trail hiking and cement plants didn’t make sense to me at first but during our visit, we learned about the initiatives of Holcim to rehabilitate the environment and provide additional recreational activities within their property and stimulate tourism in Bacnotan, La Union.
Hiking at La Union Eco-trail
After the briefing we started to hike a small portion of the eco-trail. My favorite spot was the viewpoint, which offered a good elevated panorama of the Bacnotan Coast.
The forested areas, which act as an environmental buffer zone, occupy much of Holcim’s property in Bacnotan. The eco-trail was initially conceptualized to provide recreational activities for employees working at the Bacnotan plant. After the company finishes development of improved visitor facilities, the La Union eco-trail will be opened to the general public.
Tree planting at the quarry site
Our hosts showed us the ongoing rehabilitation efforts of Holcim Philippines at the actual quarry site through a tree planting activity.
Trail runner Journeying James plants one for the environment :)
I and Kara climbed a big boulder to see a better view of the quarry site. I was filled with mixed emotions while looking around.
First of all, the heat was starting to get a bit uncomfortable. It was sunny weather and we were in the middle of vast open fields of dirt.
The view of the deep blue ocean stretching out into the horizon provided momentary sensory relief. The coast looked like an excellent surfing site … found out later than locals do go to Bacnotan to surf whenever waves is San Juan Beach get too rough.
Spotted interesting rock formations in the distance. I used my camera lens as a telescope to get a better view. The scene looked like miniatures of what I see in photos of North American Deserts (the Great Basin Desert, the Mojave Desert, the Sonoran Desert and the Chihuahuan Desert).
I’m astonished initially but then I remember that these are not natural occurrences but a result of quarrying, a man-made disturbance that both altered the environment and provided significant local/national gov’t taxes.
There are hot debates about Mining in the Philippines these days. During my travels, I’ve asked locals (living in or near proposed mining sites, not in Bacnotan necessarily) what they think about the issue. Many have confided that they are not totally against the idea if and ONLY IF the mining firms also build their processing plants within the locality … this aside from abiding with environmental regulations of course. This way, the raw materials would not be sent elsewhere for the benefit of other places/countries. Profits would benefit the locality like in the case of the Holcim Plant in Bacnotan.
A huge tent was set-up at an open field during for morning snacks. I felt like we were suddenly transported into a juvenile fanstasy land. Sipping down tetrapacked juice with snacks wrapped in small brown paper bags helped tremendously with the illusion :)
The trail hike and picnic was a preview of many activities, which are great options for company team building events and group outings, that could be held at Bacnotan, La Union.
For inquiries you can contact Holcim La Union at:
Holcim La Union
Bacnotan, La Union
Phone: +63 72 888 4252
Fax: +63 72888 5671