August 10, 2015

Ifugao Rice Terraces only 300-400 years old – experts

Banaue Rice Terraces (by Bambie Rosario)
by Mario Casayuran
August 2, 2015

The famed Ifugao Rice Terraces are not 2,000 years old. They are some 300 to 400 years old. This was revealed last week by Sen. Loren Legarda, Chairwoman of the Senate environment and natural resources committee, in a speech at the Science-Policy Forum on the Sustainability of the Rice Terraces Systems (Hani and Ifugao): Building-Learning Alliance at Hotel Jen in Manila. 
Legarda said the long-held view of the Ifugao Rice Terraces as being 2,000 years old was shattered by the Ifugao Archeological group led by Dr. Stephen Acabado and Dr. John Peterson based on their comprehensive research. “Whichever is the fact, it does not change the urgency of the conservation, protection and development of the Ifugao Rice Terraces,” she said and then congratulated the Ifugao State University and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability for their efforts in bringing great minds to one room to discuss a pressing and complex issue — the survival of the Philippine rice terrace systems.
“Our rice terraces are not commodities. The real value of these terraces is measured by the lives and history it nurtures, enriched by people who call it their home,” Legarda said. The people of Ifugao consider water management, agriculture, ecological knowledge and rituals entwined.
“But as assimilation of the people of Ifugao, especially the younger generation, in Philippine society continues to transform them, the meaning of these powerful rituals associated with taking care of the terraces diminishes,” she said.
“The challenge now is how we can accept this irreversible shift while still finding ways to continue the tradition and rituals associated with cultivating rice in these terraces season after season,” she added.
Source: Manila Bulletin accessed  on August 11, 2015

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