D. Small- scale mining

Because people had few needs and because they believed that a god owned the gold, majority of the people got only what they needed for survival. Also, the simple technology used did not allow them to extract so much within a short period

Gold mining was a lucrative industry which allowed people to acquire goods from the lowlands through trade. Tonglo and the adjoining Itogon were known for their gold mines which the Spanish conquerors wanted to appropriate; thus, the repeated military incursions into the highlands.

Balitok was believed to be the owner of the gold which was supposed to be shared with others in the community. Documents on the history of Benguet during the Spanish Colonial Period picture the baknang as operating gold mines using the labor of their bagaen and abiteg (Bagamaspad & Pawid:46). The gold went to the acquisition of cattle and performance of rituals such as the peshit. In Tuba there was a rich man named Lacamen of Bukiagan who engaged in the gold trade. Another prominent person in Tonglo was Balasiao.

Meanwhile, the majority got their gold from the streams and rivers. The succeeding governments were favorable to the opening of more mines by people not connected with the baknang.

Before opening a tunnel they would butcher a pig and offer this to the spirits guarding the gold so that they would be able to find gold and at the same time be protected. The ritual was performed by the mambunong. If the omen was good as shown by a healthy bile, the miners proceed to dig for gold. After a sufficient amount has been extracted, another pig was offered to the spirits in thanksgiving.

Other beliefs included abstinence from sex or partaking of food such as beef, dog, horse and goat meat. It was also taboo to do mining activities during a wake. Telling indecent stories would result in the disappearance of the gold.

In terms of sharing, the group, including the landowner, would divide the gold equally among themselves. Taboos that were observed included: abstinence from sex and from eating fish and beef; avoidance of gambling and scattering of garbage within the mine site.

Tools used in traditional small-scale mining were:

  • Bareta (iron bar)
  • Kunyas (chisel)
  • Martilyo(double-edged iron hammer with wooden handle)
  • Pala(shovel)
  • Lampa(carbide-fueled lamp)
  • Tali (rope for pulling heavy load)
  • Bagon (wooden wheel barrow)
  • Sako(burlap sack)