Life always gives us a sense of discovery and design. Traveling is one of the best ways to discover a natural design and a sense of self-examination, refreshment, and tranquility in a hidden world far from the busy city.
Biga Pit, also known as Dampingan, is a place found in Toledo, Cebu, Philippines. You don’t need to wonder why you haven’t heard it yet. It is not a world-renowned place, not even locally popular, and not intended to be a tourist spot—not yet as of this writing. However, what’s going to be unveiled is phenomenal.
I first visited the place more than a year ago with my friend, Honorico, but had not seen a lot because of thick fog. Exactly a year after, on the same date (January 1) and with the help of the same friend, I am able to see the place again—clearly, breathtakingly, and astonishingly.
The Way Up to the Hill
The road going up is bluffy, adding to the excitement. Unlike last year, the rough road is already cemented, making traveling by vehicle easy. For the mode of transportation, you can use either a bike, a motorcycle (locally known as habal-habal), or a four-wheel transport. We have also seen groups of people climbing up the hill on foot.
The Thick Greenery
The first scene that you can appreciate is the thicket of green trees and plants. Fresh air, the eye-friendly view, and the comforting environment－these are things you can’t experience in big, overpopulated (either by humans, vehicles, or houses) cities.
The mountains and the profusion of greenery obscure the high skyscrapers of the city. Surprisingly, reforestation or organic plant rehabilitation is one of the requirements of mining sites in the Philippines. (Perhaps, you would want to read that line about mining again which I’ll explain below.)
The Biga Pit
Down the hill is a basin of water, a man-made lake which seems to be stagnant and greeny or turquoise in color. Actually, the body of water is a waste from the mining area. Somehow, it adds to the cool air in the site, and it is said that Tilapia fish are living in the water. (Well, I’m just saying it positively because I don’t want to make it controversial. This might give you the answer why locals don’t really consider it a “tourist spot.”)
Here’s the big reveal. Biga Pit is eventually third and the largest of the mining pits in Toledo, which is why it is not regarded as a recreational or adventure destination. The cake-like slice on the picture is the facade of the mining operation.
Please, I don’t want you to be disappointed. Breathe in and breathe out. There are better things to be grateful for behind the pit, especially when the twilight comes and when the real “tourist spot” appears, but not on that side of the mountain.
The Refreshing Embrace of the Sunset
When the sun is already about to say goodbye for the day at five in the afternoon, the kiss of transition gives a more beautiful, panoramic view of the horizon. The embrace of the sunset will make you forget every burden that you have, making you enjoy the moment of silence while being at awe with the plethora of nature’s wonder.
Nature’s Spectacular Art
Before the dark of the night comes, when we are already riding down the hill, heaven fascinates us with the most impressive natural painting I’ve ever seen across-the-board. The reflection of the light from the sun presents brilliantly red and orange colors, creating a stunning sketch up in the sky.
The discovery of this site, the growing number of people coming, and the road development gives an idea that Dampingan or Biga Pit will soon be more than an educational spot for nature lovers living in the noise of a city. (If you are not a Cebuano-Visayan, you will become clueless when people will laugh when you say the word “biga.” Please, ask a native what the word means so you will not feel embarrassed.)
Leaving the meaning of the word, Biga is also the name of the barangay in Toledo, which is the exact location of the spot and is next to Lutopan. It is about 50 kilometers from Cebu City or about an hour and a half of travel from Cebu South Bus Terminal.
If you plan to see the place, please ask the local government or the administration of the Carmen Copper Corporation to be spared from any unnecessary conflict.
Tips for Traveling Biga Pit
1. Bring your own water and food since you can’t find a place to buy in the location. (A Plea: I beg you, DO NOT LEAVE ANY PIECE OF GARBAGE IN THE AREA, NOT EVEN A SINGLE WRAPPER OF CANDY. Thanks.)
2. Secure a copy of the image of the place since locals are not so familiar with the pit, but habal-habal drivers are the experts.
3. If the sun is stunning in grandeur, you might want to use sunglasses or cover yourself with sunscreen or a jacket.
4. If you want to see the alluring sunset, be sure to have your own private or rented vehicle since it’s hard to get a ride in the night. Also, there is no hotel near the pit, and you might not be permitted to install your own tent on the top of the hill.
5. Do not ever think of your problems while in the place. Enjoy the moment.
For more details, ask an expert local historian or someone in the tourist and travel industry. If you can’t find one, get in touch with me on my Facebook Fan Page. I’ll be glad to accommodate your inquiry, if I can.