Friday, December 19, 2014

Hiking Through The Longlong Communal Forest In Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet

Among the still existing green patches that can be found along the fringes of the La Trinidad Valley is the Longlong Communal Forest located at barangay Puguis. From what I know, the forest is a protected watershed. There are at least two water collectors built in the area.

I hiked up there a couple of days ago. The last time I visited the forest was two years ago during a tree planting activity. There are a few major changes I've noticed in the place. The road that runs through the forest (not open to private vehicles) seems to be in the process of being concreted. Sections of the road's canals had already been covered with concrete.

Thick gravel have been spread on several sections of the road. However, the road construction seemed to have stopped for at least a few months. I didn't see any workers. No construction equipment. And as I said earlier, based on the weeds and shrubs starting to reclaim the road, work there have been stopped for at least a couple of months.

The view deck is still there looking intact and sturdy. Not bad for a cogon building that is 2 to 3 years old. From the view deck, you can see a huge swath of the La Trinidad Valley below. The view is however not as good or complete as the view when you're atop Mt. Jumbo in barangay Tawang. You can view the photos we took on Mt. Jumbo here and here.

In the middle of the forest is the nursery by Puguis. The man or men manning the nursery probably raises chickens as I've come across dozens of chickens in the area.

I was surprised to find out that there were houses built in the area that weren't there when I was in the forest two years ago. They even have garden patches there as well. In fact, there was a man digging through the mountain side possibly to level it. I also saw barbed wire fences built to protect the gardens. From the exact spot two years ago where we planted pine tree seedlings, there now stood a vegetable patch.

The view deck overlooking the La Trinidad valley.

One of the pine tree seedlings we planted over two years ago. This shows how long it takes for these trees to grow. It's been more than two years and it seemed to have grown only two to three inches at most.

Some of the small houses and structures built in some sections of the forest.

To get to the Longlong Communal Forest, I rode a jeep in La Trinidad bound for Longlong. I got off in front of the Marosan's Restaurant which is just several meters away from the entrance to the forest.