Continuing Rehabilitation Work on the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

            Following the removal of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras from the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, PH NatCom has endeavored to assist the Provincial Government of Ifugao and the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO) to manage their terraces rehabilitation projects. Funds for these projects were generously provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); the Prince Claus Fund of the Netherlands; and the World Heritage Centre-Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, for a total of  Php 5.9 million.

            It is well known that many areas of the rice terraces have been damaged and eroded by recent natural calamities. Damaged terraces/paddies at higher levels disrupt the flow of water and contribute to the erosion of the terraces at lower levels. Damages render the paddies useless for farming, causing rice terraces owners to abandon their farms.

            The reconstruction, repair and maintenance of the terraces are labor-intensive, requiring the careful selection and rip-rapping of stones by skilled stone wallers. The reconstruction of the paddies directly benefits the farmers, allows them to use their terraces once more, while conserving at the same time the visual integrity of this World Heritage Site.

            The combined project funds from DENR, the Netherlands and the World Heritage Centre rehabilitated a total of 9,885 cubic meters of the inscribed heritage sites of Banawe, Kiangan, Hungduan and Mayoyao, and owned and tilled by some 1,000 rice terraces farmers.

 

A Rice Terraces Stone Waller prepares the soil for ripraping.

An Ifugao provincial official inspects a partially finished stone wall.

A newly restored stone wall in Kiangan.