Upon reaching Isabela City port in Basilan, I was fetch by my host Ludwig and was asked to stay first in the passenger terminal. His team of volunteers has an emergency to attend to and had to bring a patient aboard the fast craft going to Zamboanga City to seek urgent medical attention. After the patient has been settled in the boat, we rode the ambulance and proceeded to their group's home base, which is a few meters away from the port.
From there, I hopped into his motorcycle and we started the road trip to the rubber plantations - Basilan's prime agricultural industry.
The national hi-way of Basilan is well paved. If not for some isolated insurgencies, I could say that it's relatively peaceful and quiet here. With this hi-way, I could feel that this province is rich, even richer than other provinces I've been to.
After about a 20 minute-ride, passing through some barangays, agricultural lands and several military checkpoints, we reached the rubber plantation.
I was stunned by the huge number of rubber trees in the area and how they were beautifully lined up. The canopy of rubber trees in front of me is definitely a feast to my eyes.
History says that the victory of the Americans over the Spaniards and gaining possession of the Philippines, gave them the opportunity to clear large expanses of land and establish plantations in Basilan to mainly produce rubber and copra. It is said that the Philippines' first commercial rubber plantation, the American Rubber Co. was established in the province by Dr. James Strong in the early 1900s.
When I was younger, I only know that rubber comes from a tree. I've never seen how this tree looks like. Since then, I wondered how a rubber would come from a tree? Hehehe!!!
So, how these trees produce rubber? The trunk of the trees was cut then each tree has a small plastic cup that collect latex sap dripping from it. These glue-like sap are collected and processed into rubber.
More than 50,000 hectares of the island produce these latex saps, mostly managed by cooperatives, making Basilan the leading rubber producer in the country.
This is one of my recommended places to visit in the province. Learn how rubber is produced and enjoy the sights with a road trip to the rubber plantations! Enjoy!
My Basilan trip is one of the most "nerve-wracking" journeys I've had so far. Known as one of the most dangerous provinces in the Philippines, I bravely set foot on this island province last July 2, 2011. This series narrates the experiences I had in pursuing with my goal of setting foot in Basilan, definitely a one hell of an adventure! To date, this is my 5th solo trip and the 29th province on my list.
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