The Rise of the Rice Terraces

Today we have a guest article from Ann Joy Perez.  Thank you for your submission, Ann Joy.  Mindanao Bob

With at least two thousand years of history, the Banaue Rice Terraces have been dug on the mountain slopes by Filipino ancestors. The natural wonder had been gradually destroyed by man’s carelessness and greed and the strong typhoons which visited the country last year. Now the government is bound to restore the majestic stair of rice paddies kissing the sky. In this article, we will discuss reasons why this move is just necessary.

1. It is one of the Unesco World Heritage’s sites listed in 1995.

Neglecting it would be a waste for its great beauty can conquer and conserve a harmonious relationship between the environment and mankind. As a primitive agriculture engineering feat that made it to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage, reviving it is a must. Else, it would be a shame to the world, lying lifeless.

2. It is used as a means of livelihood.

Banaue Rice TerracesThe Banaue Rice Terraces is not named with “rice” for nothing. Besides being a natural wonder, it is used by several Benguet local residents for planting crops (usually rice). The terraces are gifted withrich soil to plant rice. The Ifugaos are experts in agricultural and irrigation systems. They divert water from the rivers and streams to channel through bamboo pipes and dikes and avoid soil erosion by ensuring that the right amount and no excess of water will be flown to the terraces. As such, the vast land helps our farmers of the Cordillera region as well as our economy by exporting of rice in other countries.

3. It can be used to promote tourism in the Philippines.

The Banaue Rice Terraces are considered as one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the country, as they are thought to be completed with only minimal materials and bare hands.In addition, the indigenous people of Ifugao carved these mountains and formed them into giant stairways that are believed to connect the globe end to end. Many are intrigued by this, tempting local and foreign tourists alike to visit the spot and enjoy sight-seeing with the beautiful scenery that the terraces offer.If it remains unrecovered through the years, its magnificence might just fade away and forgotten.

4. It reflects our native culture.

The Banaue rice terraces exhibit the Ifugao farmers’ diligence, creativity and determination as they were built and contoured scrupulously by our native ancestors. To date, the farmers in the region are still planting rice without the use of farming machineries (e.g. mechanical thresher, rice mill and other facilities) to mechanize their operations; that’s why the price of their harvested crops are more expensive than the regular ones sold in the market. Here, their bold efforts in everyday agricultural work and maintenance mirror our culture of hard work.

5. It has been bequeath to us by our ancestors.

We should only preserve and give further important to what our ancestors had worked hard for. Restoring the rice terraces is showing respect both to them, to their region, to the country and above all, to Mother Nature.

An ancient natural monument, it would be an understatement to say that the Rice Terraces are a wonderful masterpiece to behold. They are more than mere sights but truly a land that can help boost our tourism and our economy by increasing the production of our upland rice exportations. Therefore, we should give importance and take care of the gift from our ancestors because as they were crafted by passion and beauty, and their structure is so amazing that we can boast it to other countries.

Author bio:

Ann Joy Perez is an alumna from Arellano University Philippines, a former Marketing Assistant and a 25 year old, single. She is into almost all types of Music especially love songs. She also love playing basketball, video games,watching entertainment and films.watching news tv and reading news paper is one of her favorite hobby and also she loves to eat.

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1353 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

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    • says

      Hi Cy – I just checked the link, and even after fixing the format, it still does not work. I have removed the link until I hear back with a new, proper link.

  1. says

    Hi Ann Joy- I agree with your opinion that the terraces should be preserved not only for posterity but because it fulfils an agricultural need in the area. I can however hardly agree that currently it produces sufficient rice to allow the Philippines to export to other countries.

  2. PapaDuck says

    Thanks so much for providing the history of the Rice Terraces. Would love to visit them in the future. They are something that should be preserved for future generations. Have a nice day!

    • corjo says

      The terraces are in private ownership.Sections are passed through the famalies for generations,but many are falling into dissuse as the younger generations leave for an easier and better life in the cities or abroad.Large sections are now in ruin but its still one of the most unusual landscapes in the world great for hiking and treking.

  3. corjo says

    Yes its beautiful but the terraces do not have a viable future in rice production.
    Work carried out there is still mostly by hand even animal power is limited.
    While rice produced there can sell for a premium it is still not profitable.
    Even with tourism the trickle down effect takes too long and delivers too little.
    The only future I see is as a government run reserve covering a much reduced area and relying on tourism and government grants.Sad but true agriculture is in decline worldwide and the Philippines can not escape this.

    • RandyL says

      Corjo ~ I agree but would it not still be a worthwhile investment by the government to protect it all? At a minimum the government should maybe look into how agricultural subsidies can help sustain the viability and the historical significance of the terraces. Without some intervention, the rice terraces would be doomed and would have long lasting negative effects on the cultural identity of an entire region of indigenous people, not to mention the permanent revision of the UNESCO World Heritage list. Letting the terraces fail would be equivalent to the Rock of Gibraltar falling into the ocean. Once it happened, it would be lost forever.

  4. says

    Hello Joy, I can certainly relate to this post. I was recently in Banaue back in May. The views are stunning, the people are friendly and I would go back again in a heart beat.
    One thing however I would mention is that the tourism industry seems to leave this great place out. I went there and had a little difficulty coordinating everything. Once I got there everything was cool but I think the Philippines could do a better job of promoting this. That being said they would have to build some infrastructure as well. Lodging is a little sparse in Banaue.

    This sounds like I am talking bad about the place. On the contrary, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It is a must see for anyone who loves to travel. I met several backpackers while there and made some great friends that I still keep in contact with even now.

    I am saying that properly done this could be a complete “home run” for the Philippines.. After all, which country has something like this?

    Great article Joy.


  5. Roy says

    I’ve read several websites that says,no one really understand why ifugao created the rice terraces…that’s when i get interested with Banaue…I’ll be writting a book about things that could possibly the reason of it’s creation

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