12 March 2015

#834 Philippines

The Banaue Rice Terraces (Filipino: Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe) are 2,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. The Rice Terraces are commonly referred to by Filipinos as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately 1500 metres (5000 ft) above sea level. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said that if the steps were put end to end, it would encircle half the globe.

Locals to this day still plant rice and vegetables on the terraces, although more and more younger Ifugaos do not find farming appealing, often opting for the more lucrative hospitality industry generated by the terraces.  The result is the gradual erosion of the characteristic "steps", which need constant reconstruction and care. In 2010, a further problem was drought, with the terraces drying up completely in March of that year.

The Banaue Rice Terraces refer to the cluster close to the Banaue poblacion as seen from the viewpoint. Contrary to popular belief perpetrated by its inclusion on the twenty peso banknote, the Banaue Rice Terraces are not a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were not included in the UNESCO inscription Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras due to the presence of numerous modern structures, making it score low in the integrity criterion of UNESCO.

Thank you, Dalee !
Sent on: February 23, 2015
Received on: March 12, 2014

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