July 28, 2012

The Longlong Communal Forest

The Longlong Communal Forest is a protected area in Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet. It's a wooded area covered mostly with pine trees and a variety of low-lying plants and shrubs. It's located in a series of hills overlooking the La Trinidad valley. If you are on top of any of the hills, you can take a full view of the whole valley below.

How to Get There
If you are coming from Baguio City, you can take a passenger jeep at the La Trinidad station below the Baguio City hall or the station near the overpass besides Center Mall. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the Petron station in Km 5. The Petron station is in front of a Jollibee fast food joint. Near the Petron station is a Longlong jeepney station. You can take a jeep there and ask the driver to drop you off at the gate of the Longlong Communal Forest. This shouldn't be a problem as the forest gate is just beside the road.

If you are planning on taking a taxi in Baguio City, the driver will most likely not know where the forest is so it's better to take a jeep to La Trinidad then take a taxi there as drivers there are more knowledgeable about the area. The ride from the jeepney station in Km 5 to Longlong will take about 15 to 30 minutes.

What to Do at the Longlong Communal Forest
There's a ton of things that you can do at the forest. If you love hiking, the communal forest is a perfect place for it. You can start hiking from the gate leading to the forest. Make sure that you are wearing the right outfit when hiking the area. Rubber shoes and boots are highly advised as the trails can be very slippery most especially if it rained the day or night after. It's also recommended that you wear long pants as the area features shrubs and plants that can scratch and hurt exposed legs.

The Longlong Communal Forest
The place is a popular venue for nature walks and photo walks. When you are in the area, you are surrounded with amazing views of the hills and the valley below. There's also a wooden structure/building there called the Longlong view deck. From it, you can see one of the best views of the La Trinidad valley. The view deck has a fire pit inside so you can have a little bonfire if you want. However, since the view deck is built from wood, bamboo and cogon grass, you should be very careful when building a fire as you might accidentally light the building on fire. And when you leave, make sure that you put out the fire and douse the embers.
Things to Remember
The Longlong Communal Forest is a protected area. It's a watershed. So don't be a douche and go there doing whatever it is you want. Don't cut trees, not even shrubs. The general rule is that you should leave everything as is.

It's also totally okay to bring foods with you and have a picnic at the area. However, you should be respectful of the place and don't leave any of the garbage behind. There won't be any trash bins around so bring a plastic bag with you where you can put the garbage and take it with you when you leave the forest.

Be careful when trudging up or down the hills. There are some slopes where you might fall off and hurt yourself. If you are in need of any help, there's a nursery and a ranger's outpost in the area where you may seek help. If it rains and you didn't bring any rain gear with you, you can always take shelter at the Longlong view deck.

Whatever your intentions are in visiting the Longlong Communal Forest, always keep in mind that it is a protected area and a watershed.

And one last thing, the area is a popular place for tree planting activities so there will be young trees and seedlings all around. So watch where you are going. Most of these newly planted trees have no markers for them. If you don't watch your steps, you might trample them.

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