Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ifugao Banaue Rice Terraces, Phillipine

 Ex-Travel-Ganzer, have you ever eat rice?. Some country, mostly in asia, confess that rice is “Obligatory” food that should be served in every breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper. Without rice, culinary is not quite complete. But have you ever visit the rice fields. If you never see the rice fields in your age, maybe this is the best time for you to visit a very unique, amazing, beautifull and protected by the world.
 Now, if you already decide to choose your trip to visit rice fields, so i suggest you to visit Banaue Rice Terraces. This unique terraces located in North of Filipina. 
Ifugao Banaue Rice Terraces, Phillipine
 For 2,000 years the mountains of Ifugao province in the Philippines have been carefully cultivated with a seemingly endless series of terraced fields that climb thousands of feet.
The terraces are situated at altitudes between 700 m and 1,500 m above sea level. There are four clusters of the best preserved terraces in the region, with its basic elements of a buffer ring of private forests (muyong ), terraces, village and sacred grove. Terraced rice fields are not uncommon in Asia. To contain the water needed for rice cultivation within the paddies, even gently rolling terrain must be terraced with stone or mud walls. High-altitude paddies must be kept wet and have to rely upon a man-made water-collecting system. The principal differences between the Philippines terraces and those elsewhere are their higher altitude and the steeper slopes. The high-altitude cultivation is based on the use of a special strain of rice, which germinates under freezing conditions and grows chest-high, with non-shattering panicles, to facilitate harvesting on slopes that are too steep to permit the use of animals or machinery of any kind.
Ifugao Banaue Rice Terraces, Phillipine
 The Banaue / Ifugao Rice Terraces, which follow the natural contours of the mountains, only enhance the region’s rugged natural beauty. They also epitomize a harmonic, sustainable relationship between humans and their environment. These fields, and the knowledge to farm and sustain them, have been passed down from generation to generation for centuries.
The structures' original builders used stone and mud walls to carefully carve and construct terraces that could hold flooded pond fields for the cultivation of rice. They also established a system to water these plots by harvesting water from mountaintop forests. These incredible engineering feats were done by hand as was (and is) the farming itself.
Ifugao Banaue Rice Terraces, Phillipine
 The rice terraces have long been central to the survival of the Ifugao peoples but they also occupy a central importance within their culture. Entire communities cooperate on cyclical, seasonal systems of planting, pest control, and harvest, which are tied to lunar cycles and sometimes accompanied with religious rituals.
But the world is changing and this region is not immune. Increasing numbers of young people are migrating toward urban areas in search of a far different future. With few left to work the fields according to the old ways their future is uncertain. Some 25 to 30 percent of the terraces are abandoned and beginning to deteriorate, along with irrigation systems.
Due to these threats the site was placed on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2001 and it remains there today. Sustainable tourism may offer hope for conservation. In fact, the region’s value to the nation as a tourist destination likely exceeds that of its rice production. The Banaue Rice Terraces of the Philippines have been said to be like the 8th wonder of the world. The tribes people did this with their bare hands and crude implements, without using machinery to level the steps where they plant their rice, which is what makes this wonder so attractive, aside from the fact that the rice terraces are still used today.
Ifugao Banaue Rice Terraces, Phillipine
 This is considered to be one of the greatest engineering feats of mankind, because if each one were connected end to end, then they would reach halfway across the globe or be 10 times as long as the Great Wall of China. It was not until only 13 years ago (1995) that the Banaue Rice Terraces were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Unesco categorizing this place as th world heritage because few criteria that is:
Testimony to cultural tradition
iii. to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared;
Significance in human history
iv. to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
Traditional human settlement
v. to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change;
Ifugao Banaue Rice Terraces, Phillipine
 The rice terraces are like stepping stones stretching towards the sky, where some of them reach almost 5,000 feet in altitude and cover about 4,000 square miles of land. They are now beginning to show signs that they are eroding, and some of them need maintenance, while the Ifugaos’ new generation is migrating to nearby cities in search of better opportunities.  One of the major appeal of Banaue rice terraces to the local and international tourist are the many hiking trails in the area. There are many young locals, mostly college students who serve as guides. But with or without a guide, you will find the friendliness and warmth of the Ifugao people endearing.
How to get to Banaue Rice Terraces:

From Manila there are air-conditioned buses that go straight to Banaue, The trip takes about 9 hours. The Dangwa Transit have daily trips to Banaue Rice Terraces. Their terminals are located along Dimasalang St., Sampaloc, Manila and Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Q.C. (Tel# 731-2879 & 410-1991). Also plying the Banaue route is Auto Bus (Tel# 735-8098) with terminals at España Blvd corner G. Tolentino St., Manila. The bus leaves at 10 PM daily and arrives at about 7AM. From Baguio City, there are also buses going to the Banaue Rice Terraces.
The trip will pass through the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya then to Ifugao. Accommodation is no problem, there are several inns in town like the Banaue View Inn, People's Lodge, the Banaue Hotel and other lodging houses with reasonable rates. Some private homes also accept tourist and transients for a lesser charge during peak season.


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