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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Paracale, Camarines Norte's Gold Mine


As I have mentioned in my previous postings, the next Camarines Norte municipality we will be featuring in this blogsite is Paracale. I started surfing the web for articles and photos of the town. Unlike Vinzons, however, there was not much about its culture that I gathered. I got beautiful pictures of Pulang Daga from the blogsite of marisol cribe-angala (A La Consolacion College graduate). Pulang Daga Beach Resort has clean white sand and swimming-safe cove; it commands a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Other than these, the rest of the articles I gathered centered on Paracale’s gold.

For more pictures go to http://picasaweb.google.com/gold50/PlacesParacale
Paracale is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Camarines Norte, Philippines. It has a population of 42,453 people in 8,431 households (2000 Census). Paracale is a coastal municipality located on the Northeastern part of the province, with a total area of 194.80 sq. kms. The municipality is composed of 27 barangays.


Awitan
Bagumbayan
Bakal
Batobalani
Calaburnay
Capacuan
Casalugan
Dagang
Dalnac
Dancalan
Gumaus
Labnig
Macolabo Island
Malacbang
Malaguit
Mampungo
Mangkasay
Maybato
Palanas
Pinagbirayan Malaki
Pinagbirayan Munti
Poblacion Norte
Poblacion Sur
Tabas
Talusan
Tawig
Tugos

History

Juan de Salcedo was dispatched by Legaspi to explore the island in 1571. After subduing Taytay and Cainta, he marched further across Laguna and Tayabas. He visited the gold-laden towns of Mambulao and Paracale, obsessed by what he heard from natives of the existing gold mines in these towns.There were already native settlements in the area that became Camarines Norte when the Spaniards arrived. The flourishing towns of Mambulao and Paracale were two of them. Indan and Daet were the other settlements, besides Capalonga and others. But Paracale remained the most sought after and the most prosperous, because of its gold mines.

A government website (http://www.mgb.gov.ph/) states that while gold deposits are found throughout the country, they are concentrated in the five (5) recognized gold mining districts: 1) Baguio gold district; 2) Paracale gold district; 3) Masbate gold district; 4) Surigao gold district; and 5) Masara (Davao) gold district.



Paracale Gold Field is the oldest in the Philippines with historic productions before 1939 in excess of three million ounces of gold. This gold mining district has been known throughout Philippine history and is considered as one of the richest in this country and in the world.

Gold mining in Paracale reached its peak during the pre-war years and contributed greatly to the economy of the municipality. This, however, virtually slowed down except for small-scale mining operations. People somehow managed to survive on their jewelry making industry.

Some studies have shown that these small-scale mining operations are causing pollution and commonly make use of child labor. Some of the chidren only worked during week-ends, whereas others worked seven days a week and for that reason did not attend school. Many of the children working with gold extraction use mercury, exposing them to danger.



I watched Jessica Soho’s weekly show in GMA-7 last night. It featured the children doing hazardous jobs in the gold panning and small-scale mining operations in Paracale. It showed children working ten hours a day. A little girl who worked while soaked in mud the whole day said that she was paid a measly P20 a day! (I found a picture in the internet, which I am posting here).

A study conducted by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) in 1999 in Barangay Tugos in Paracale showed that mining is the major source of livelihood of the residents of this small barangay with an area of only 9 square kilometers. Based on barangay files, there were about 100 small-scale gold mining tunnels in the area although only 35 were operating at the time of the study. Each tunnel operation was estimated to employ about 11 to 20 miners. Thus, there were 385 to 700 miners in Tugos. Part of the small-scale mining operations in Tugos falls within the mining claim of a large-scale mining firm, the United Paragon Mining Corporation.

A brief survey conducted between April and June 1999 in Tugos confirmed the general occurrence of mercury pollution in the small-scale mining areas. This condition has caused health-related problems among miners and other people as well as significant siltation and sedimentation of water bodies and loss of fishery resources. (Just an aside, and on a different situation, my eldest brother died of malaria in the mid-80s when he joined a group doing gold-panning in Paracale.)

Large scale mining operations will soon resume in the municipality. The Paracale Mining Site was acquired by Pearl Asian Mining Industries (PAMI) in conjunction with Philippines Gold Mining Corporation on Feb 4, 2004. This acquisition marks a new era of cooperation between private industry and the Philippine government in the development and refining of the island's national resources.Paracale Mining Site mills 650 tons of rock daily, yielding 382 ounces of gold and 1,018 ounces of silver per day. Current prices for gold and silver project the mine's annual yield at over $40,000,000 gross or $12,000,000 net.PAMI will immediately upgrade current processes to increase the yield of the operation, which should realize an additional 20% to 25% output with minimal increase in cost of operation or capital outlay.Short range plans to construct a new electro-wining and refining plant will maximize the gold and silver recovery, while also adding platinum, iridium and palladium to the site's products. The new facility will also increase the capacity of rock throughput resulting in further increases in total production and bottom line profits
From: http://www.pearlasianmining.com/paracale_mining.html


Will this also mark the improvement in the lives of the people?
The images of the children working in the mud under hazardous conditions are very disturbing. In my recent visit to Bacolod, I met with a Negros-based NGO. One of its programs is non-formal education for child laborers. Since the NGO can not prevent the children from working in the farms, what it is trying to do is to improve the chances of these children to get better opportunities later.

13 comments:

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

My father (now deceased) is from Tawig, Paracale while my mom is from Mercedes, province of Camarines Norte. I remember that way back in 1979 the Golden River Mining Co. purchased a portion of my father's land (when he was still alive) because the gold mining operation will affect the coconut trees and nipa huts (sasa) planted in his land. He had no choice.

He left us this small piece of agricultural land wherein being the eldest, I am managing the activities thru a tenant. This manual gold panning which is popularly callef CABUD or KABUD is a normal scenario in our small barrio of Tawig. The residents even tried to talk to me personally when I stopped that "Cabud" done in our land. Of course, there was a fee, if I am not mistaken of P10 per person to do the activities from 8 am to 5 pm (8 hrs) on the condition that whatever is the harvest (gold), will only be sold to us (owner of the land) in terms of pesos per BAHAY not grams. 1 BAHAY looks like the normal size of one bead of rice. The gold has to be mixed with mercury before selling. The raw material of gold is not shiny and don't looks like gold. And that is where the risk lies on the part of the persons especially kids doing the CABUD . As to the owner of the land used in the activity, it could not be used for planting purposes anymore because of the dip holes and the mud. Restoration of the land to its normal, if ever will be thru natural process, in God's time.

Above practice is not anymore on-going although it serves as a means of livelihood to the residents in our place.

In accounting, that Land is classified as Wasting Asset and the process of getting the deposits in the Land which is Gold is called Depletion.
Maybe, some are wondering that despite of the presence of gold, Paracale is not progressive and classified only as 3rd municipality.

Probably, gold mining companies are reluctant to operate in the place. They don't like to make investment. Potentials of the place is not a question, because we know that the place as tested and based on mouth to mouth stories is filled of gold, plenty of gold . .

Then WHY? According to my grandparents, operations of gold mining companies slow down until finally stopped because of the cave-in of the under ground tunnel in one of the mining companies sometime in 1949. The Engineer in the company who died because of the accident happened to be the father of one of our classmates, Melinda Pacificador. Bert, do you remember her? She was one of the 4 Ms composed of myself, Myrna Navera and Melda Tagala. I used to accompany Melinda to offer wreath on the bridge going to UP every All Soul's Day until the time the family already transferred to Manila.

Wow! What is this? Recalling the past. Sori po. . . Not getting any younger.

Marynat

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Wow! this was very infromative and educational.
Now I know what panning is in the vernacular! Thanks for sharing.

Fechie

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Hello, Ate M, (Marynat, of course..)

your comments about paracale, our dear hometown, brought vivid memories.
surely, I do remember Melinda. she was the big girl but shy and charming with nice dimples..
(was she running around with you when you tumbled into the muddy ricefield at the back of the school..? )

And i heard about her father too. I think everyone during and before our generation knew the story
of that mining disaster..
and after that accident, i heard it started the downfall of the economy in the town..
from the former "melting pot" of the province to a sluggish town that it has been up
to this time.

in recent years various mining companies tried to establish new projects.
after awhile, any sort of problems crop up and the projects gets stalled, or stop.

with lack of employment source, people naturally tended to "kabud" for a living.
this presence of gold like in other towns, is a case of "bane or boon".. truly a controversial issue.
on one hand it helps people to earn and feed themselves on a day to day basis..
for the gold is there, and the town really has not much else to offer.

on the other hand with all the uncontrolled, free -for- all digging around, - in surrounding hills,
ricelands, coconut lands, farms, rivers, beaches, -even under their own houses ! -
the environmental degradation (or "depletion" as you call it..) has been enormous.
you're right, ate M, lands are left with all the diggings, the top soil turned around,
and trees or plants tilted or half-dead. who's gonna correct those mess?
the "kabuders' just dig, get their raw ores, and leave..brazen and uncaring.
the municipal govt has no control, or is simply helpless. almost everyone is into "kabud"
at one time or another.
hundreds of families from outside the town or province came in droves over the years.
i pray that nature will not get back at them and impose "sanctions". ..

i'm not personally against it, per se, a number of relatives and former neighbors have relied on this
for sustenance over the years. it has kept a lot of people from getting hungry.
.it's just that somehow there should be some restraint, responsibility
and the local govertnment should put some sort of control or direction..

in the meantime, with less people going into farming, or fishing, vegetable and fruits are
high priced and -would you believe- "imported" from neghboring towns or even from manila!
fishermen are few and harvests are brought to malabon/navotas, and the town has to settle for
the 'extras'.

but to be fair, there are positive notes in Paracale as well..

people are kind, good natured and religious, and closely- knitted.
like any small community, everyone knows each other, or related to each other.
It has produced brilliant politicians, lawyers and judges..hard-working teachers, nurses, etc.
unfortunately it seems most, if not all, have preferred to live or work elsewhere - far and out of the town..

and so paracale is forever left with the gold panners.
the town has been generous, accomodating to them all these years.
we can only hope time comes when they learn to value nature's gifts
and give some caring back before it's too late.

abrasos,
Bert

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Hello, Ate M, (Marynat, of course..)

your comments about paracale, our dear hometown, brought vivid memories.

surely, I do remember Melinda. she was the big girl but shy and charming with nice dimples..
(was she running around with you when you tumbled into the muddy ricefield at the back of the school..? )

And i heard about her father too. I think everyone during and before our generation knew the story
of that mining disaster..
and after that accident, i heard it started the downfall of the economy in the town..
from the former "melting pot" of the province to a sluggish town that it has been up to this time.

in recent years various mining companies tried to establish new projects. after awhile, any sort of problems crop up and the projects gets stalled, or stop.

with lack of employment source, people naturally tended to "kabud" for a living. this presence of gold like in other towns, is a case of "bane or boon".. truly a controversial issue.

on one hand it helps people to earn and feed themselves on a day to day basis..

for the gold is there, and the town really has not much else to offer.

on the other hand with all the uncontrolled, free -for- all digging around, - in surrounding hills,ricelands, coconut lands, farms, rivers, beaches, -even under their own houses ! -
the environmental degradation (or "depletion" as you call it..) has been enormous.

you're right, ate M, lands are left with all the diggings, the top soil turned around,and trees or plants tilted or half-dead. who's gonna correct those mess?
the "kabuders' just dig, get their raw ores, and leave..brazen and uncaring.

the municipal govt has no control, or is simply helpless. almost everyone is into "kabud"
at one time or another.
hundreds of families from outside the town or province came in droves over the years. i pray that nature will not get back at them and impose "sanctions". ..

i'm not personally against it, per se, a number of relatives and former neighbors have relied on this for sustenance over the years. it has kept a lot of people from getting hungry.
.it's just that somehow there should be some restraint, responsibility and the local govertnment should put some sort of control or direction..

in the meantime, with less people going into farming, or fishing, vegetable and fruits are high priced and -would you believe- "imported" from neghboring towns or even from manila!

fishermen are few and harvests are brought to malabon/navotas, and the town has to settle for
the 'extras'.

but to be fair, there are positive notes in Paracale as well..

people are kind, good natured and religious, and closely- knitted.
like any small community, everyone knows each other, or related to each other.

It has produced brilliant politicians, lawyers and judges..hard-working teachers, nurses, etc. unfortunately it seems most, if not all, have preferred to live or work elsewhere - far and out of the town..

and so paracale is forever left with the gold panners. the town has been generous, accommodating to them all these years.

we can only hope time comes when they learn to value nature's gifts
and give some caring back before it's too late.

abrasos,
Bert

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Hi Bert,

Ur right very very right, Kuya. Si Melinda nga yon, hehehe. . . parang naramdaman ko pa ang sakit sa pagkadapa at ang putik, aaay kadiriiiii. . . How come you know it eh top secret namin yon before. Ops, I 4got that I have mentioned it when we dined with the jetsetter Ed.

Hope that there will be somebody (from our classmates in elementary) to run for a local post in Paracale who will propose rules and eventually be passed as an orfinance for the restoration of the land used in PANNING.

Enjoyed reading ur comments 2 coz it takes me back to my 10 years stay in Paracale.

Regards to Bruce and Marie (I have not met her yet). Also, extend my regards to our DPS Class 67 just in case you will meet them abroad. Bon voyage!

Marynat

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Toti, Marynat, Bert,

Your comments about Paracale were fantastic. I am from Paracale but did not grow up there, so my only memories were when we used to go to my grandparents house during summer. The house was located at the corner of Calixto Venida Street and forgot the other street. As soon as you enter the town proper, it is the corner on your left side where a very big water tank is located. The tank is still existing. According to stories I heard, the lower portion of the house (which was my Nanay's grocery store) was used by the Japanese as garrison. They also said that because it was so big, it was also used as "lamayan ng patay." No wonder, everytime we were there, marami kaming naririnig. And there were so many hidden doors. Basta na lang magbubukas ang pader, siempre may lalabas na tao. Otherwise, hindi na ako bumalik doon hehehe. Namana ni Papa ito and we are renting out the property and the tenants are panning there too. I'm not so familiar with kabod.

The Pacificadors are our relatives. One of the owners of Mabini Colleges was married Kuya Baby Pacificador. I heard about the cave-in too. My father was a mining engineer, he did some prospecting there. He was a mayor of Paracale, appointed by President Quezon. Not sure about the year but when he died, the flag was on half-mast.

Toti, we have a lot of Paracale pictures but they are all in Daet. Sorry I cannot contibute any right now.

Out of 16 siblings, 11 are from Paracale, and we are proud of it kahit considered as third municipality lang.

So glad na yong dalawang kababayan ko, eh matatalino at mga good-looking pa.

Ingat,

Men

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Hi Men,

Thanks for the information! Again, while reading your email, it takes me back to my sweet and bitter memories of my beloved Paracale.

I am familiar with your big house (pinagkakatakutan pa naming dumaan dun eh). You know, if given a chance, I would like to spend a vacation in that place someday. This is remote coz we dont have a house in Paracale, We were just renting that time. Our house in Tawig, a barrio of Paracale is not big and presently occupied by our tenant.

Anyway, my Atty, you are one of the Paracalenos na matatalino at mga good-looking pa (minus myself, hehehe).

Marynat

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Kabayan,

Come on, don't be so humble, you are beautiful. The only thing was, like Felino said, bihira ka ngumiti, so when I saw your pictures at the hospital, I thought, wow, marunong din pala tumawa si Marynat. hahaha!

So glad to have kababayans na matatalino (sana ako rin).

There was one summer afternoon, Chichi and I had a nap, we were awakened by the loud sound of the big grandfather's clock, so we ran to the living room and found out that we were the only ones in the house. Above the clock was an oil painting of our grandparents who were both deceased (you know how the eyes look at an oil painting - parang nakatinigin at parang hinahabol ka ng tingin) so we both ran out of the house. There were stairs, a landing and another stairs - nahulog kami pareho sa dalawang hagdan. We went to the movie house and spent the whole afternoon there.

There was another afternoon, we were about to take a nap, when the wall opened- napasigaw kami. Lumabas yong sister ni Papa kasama ang anak niya. We were frightened akala namin multo. You're right, maraming natatakot sa bahay na yon.

When I was in elementary and high school during the SCA time, I had a good friend there - Myrna Navera! She was pretty and talented too.

It was so nice to reminisce the good old days.

Take and regards to the family.

Ingat,

Men, (Esquire, hehehe)

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

My Atty,

Sori guys, I can't help to recall the past in Paracale with Men coz today is the confirmation of what was in our mind then, was really true.

When my father was still single, he was a councilor in Paracale and if i am not mistaken, that was the time that your father was the then incumbent mayor. He told us so many stories about the big house which I did not mention in my previous email coz u might be offended (akala ko eh hindi nyo alam). Grabe, maybe in our reunion in Feb 2008, this is a very exciting agenda for the two of us, "story telling about . . .. . ."

The scenario of you and Chichi running. . going down the stairs until you 2 stumbled reminds me of a current film being shown in downtown entitled "QUIJA". This is about the game "spirit of the glass" which to others is only fiction. Just for sharing, when I was still in college days and staying in the Dormitory, we played this game, and mind you, the glass moved because of the spirit inside the glass which we invoked to be there. . . My experience as a player was unforgettable , nakakatakot talaga. . . .

Myrna Navera was one of my classmates and friends in elementary. She was at that time at young age already teaching piano lessons. Do you know her whereabouts now? According to Bert, she is still single.

When I was in high school in DPS, I really can't recall of a particular situation that I was in the group, your group or any group and doing the chickha chicka, telling stories which were common to our class as teenagers . . . . . . . that time bawal ang hindi mag-aral ng lessons sa amin eh. . . . . that made me serious looking always.

But now, I easily smile then laugh. . . . Ang babaw nga daw eh.

Till my next email! Ingat always.

Marynat

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

hellow, Men and Ate M, my dear kabayans,

indeed the Venida house was one of the few 'landmarks' in Paracale that time..

but i didn't hear about the 'ghost stories'.. or maybe i was just too occupied with larong 'holen' (marbles) during those days.. he..he..

While we are still in the Paracale issue ( or before we go to the next Cams. Norte town feature)...

As an addendum to my last e-mail, one of the other 'assets' of Paracale are the beaches. Our "pulang-daga' beach, for instance, can compete with any beach in Mactan, Cebu.

Clear waters, off-white sands, coconut groove, etc..gentle winds.
And there are other remote but exotic white-sand stretches also further up north..("cabcabin", etc..)which are good for diving and snorkelling.

in our chilhood days we walked for hours to get there and
spend some nights hunting for crabs, shellfish and octopus during low-tides.

using nets and portable kalburo-fueled lamps.

But due to being too remote and lack of good roads, those beaches remain undeveloped,

hardly visited. which is also good, in a way, because their being 'unexploited' is prolonged..

And then we have the Paracale delicacies. Ate M, do you recall the puto and kutsinta nila Nana Walia ? We looked forward to that every morning..!

One of my aunties, Nana Goying, was noted for her special 'tikoy', very much sought after, up to recent years, but sadly she's now aged and fully retired.

And who could forget the 'binayong balaw" ? our version of dried anchovies manually pounded to perfection! only paracale women folks could make this shrimp-paste that good.

This - for those who are not familiar- is an exotic 'sahog' to perk up your ordinary vegetable dish..ginataan or sauteed.. whatever.

Once you have this is the 'bangot' , mmm..so yummy ! walang kalaban-laban ang Knorr, ate. except that you have to overcome the smell, of course...
And if you use it as 'ulam' itself, mama mia ! no way will you remember your mother in-law's name and birthday!

the joke is that when you have this for lunch, the pet dog is mad at you.. why? because everybody will eat like a horse, tumba ang kaldero, nothing
left for the poor dog!

and then for merienda to go with afternoon coffee,our local bakeries always have the unforgettable pambonete, pagong, "kutepyu" and gallitas..

our parish church (our Lady of Candelaria) was one of the oldest in the country, with walls made of adobe stone at least two meters thick.

it has survived 400 typhoons in the last 4 decades. only the rooftops and celings are replaced.
and it is noted for the church bells' rings - the most resonant in the province..!

there we had an acacia tree more than a hundred years old and tales about hidden gold under it and 'kapre' guarding it have been told and retold during moonless nights while children play the "taguan" or "tubigan"..etc.

there's much more that comes to mind when one reminisces about our beloved hometown,and our glorious days of childhood, but time and space are limited.. so i'll pause here. and leave the rest for our next get-together. ..!

til then,
abrasos!

Bert

Daet Parochial School Class 67 said...

Thanks a lot Bert, Men, and Marynat for your contributions on the Paracale feature. I wish we can have pictures of Cabcabin, and the other beaches, the Venida ancestral ("haunted?") house, and the preparation of the kakanins. Then our blog will contain original/exclusive photos!

Is binayong balaw the same as "dinailan?" If it is, I love it when cooked in coconut milk, chili, and pork fat. When cooking ginataang gulay (sitaw, ampalaya, talong, langka, etc.) we used to put dinailan, but not after setting aside a portion for my father. He hates it, he calls it "Pitong Biyernes", dahil 7 biyernes na raw ang lumipas, hindi pa rin naalis ang amoy.

I haven't tasted it for a long time now. I haven't seen it being sold in the markets here in Manila.

Ning-ning, who's enjoying her honeymoon, must have other stories about Paracale, too. Maybe when she comes back, she can share with us her own recollections of our dear Paracale.

Danny and Fely Jacobs should start writing their own stories of San Vicente while I try to look for pictures which I can grab from the internet.

toti

vladelle francisco said...

Thank you very much for the information. but may i ask

where specifically did you get all these facts? (the specific names of the barangays in paracle, etc. the history, etc)

and the url you gave: http://www.pearlasianmining.com/paracale_mining.html cannot be retrieved.

vladelle louise francisco said...

Thank you very much for the information. but may i ask

where specifically did you get all these facts? (the specific names of the barangays in paracle, etc. the history, etc)

and the url you gave: http://www.pearlasianmining.com/paracale_mining.html cannot be retrieved.

Sor Victorina de la Providencia, Mother Superior of Daet Parochial School

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