Banaue Rice Terraces

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The Banaue Rice Terraces are a system of agricultural terraces carved into the Cordillera Mountains by the Ifugao tribe, approximately 2,000 years ago. They are widely considered a marvel of ancient engineering, and often known as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". Laid out side by side, the terraces would stretch a total length of 22,400 kilometers (13,919 miles), enough to encircle half of the globe. They rise to a height of 1,525 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level.

In 1995, the terraces were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Contents

History and significance

The terraces were created by Ifugao natives some 2,000 to 6,000 years ago, predating the Colosseum of Rome and Hadrian's Wall in the U.K. The Ifugaos, the oldest mountain tribe in the area, carved the terraces using only primitive tools and animal power.

The terraces are considered one of the most striking and enduring examples of the ingenuity of an ancient civilization in adapting to the difficulties posed by their natural environment, without the use of sophisticated tools or technology. Faced with the challenge of farming rice on sloping mountain terrain, the Ifugaos carefully carved a system of terraced pond fields following the natural contours of the mountains, and developed intricate irrigation systems to harvest water from the mountaintop forests. The terraces, and the agricultural methods used to farm them, have remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years.


Threats

The terraces sustained damage during the 1990 earthquake. At present, they are also showing signs of damage from erosion due to climate change.

Some areas of the terraces have also started to suffer from a lack of maintenance. Younger generations of Ifugao have been moving away from the terraces, seeking better opportunities in the cities. Even those who continue to farm often abandon their land in the terraces, opting instead for land more conducive to high-yield rice varieties and faster reaping of profits.


How to get there

From Manila, the most convenient way is to take the 10 p.m. bus from either Dangwa Bus, Auto Bus , Victory and Florida bus transport. During peak seasons or Holy Week, it is usually necessary to reserve tickets a week or 3 days in advance whenever possible. The trip usually takes 8-9 hours.

In Baguio, one can catch a bus or mini bus near Rizal Park. This will take you from Baguio down to Carmen, making a left turn at the junction going to Nueva Vizcaya, heading east, then a turn from San Jose going up north making your way to Solano or Bayombong. This trip also takes 9 hours.

Aside from a direct trip, one can also travel 5-6 hours from Baguio to Sagada, boarding either at Slaughter House or at the back of Centermall, at the Dangwa Terminal. The trip usually starts around 6 a.m., taking the Haselma Highway route. Once in Sagada, one can stop over for a tour of the local mountain scenery, or else rent a jeep going to Bontoc, which should take 1-2 hours.

Bontoc is a transportation hub; from here, one can travel to various places via jeep. Jeeps here have limited schedules, so it is recommended to inquire with the locals. The trip to Banaue usually leaves between 8 and 10 a.m. and takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

Gallery

External links

References

  • Banaue (Accessed on April 30, 2009)


Citation

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