The Baguio Filipino - Chinese Community and the City Government launches the scheduled events and activities for Spring Festival 2020, an institutionalized celebration in Baguio City which is now on it's 27th year, Highlighting the festivities will be the colorful parade in the afternoon of January 27. (Carlito Dar/PIA CAR)

Artistic Baguio. Museum visitors and students looks at the artistic works of the Baguio City National High School Special Program in the Arts students. BCNHS, in partnership with the Baguio Museum, opens Friday (Jan. 17) an Art Exhibit dubbed as “Tales of our City: Retold by the youth that features literary, media, visual arts and crafts produced by the BCNHS - SPA students and for the opening program they also showcased band and rondalla performance. (Carlito Dar/PIA CAR)

Spring Fest 2020. The Baguio Filipino - Chinese Community and the City Government launches the scheduled events and activities for Spring Festival 2020, an institutionalized celebration in Baguio City which is now on it's 27th year, The Traditional Chinese Dragon dance will be among the highlights in colorful parade set in the afternoon of January 27. (Carlito Dar/PIA CAR)

Baguio young artists. Special Program in the Arts students in a photo opportunity with known Baguio - based artist Tor Alvarez Sagud, the author of the Illustrated guide book,

Galant Police. Baguio City officials headed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Congressman Mark Go awards citation to Patrolman Julius Walang for his gallantry in apprehending a taxi driver who tried to speed away and almost ramming the police. Similar citation was also awarded to rider Jaazerdallas Bandonil Chommog who assisted Walang in the incident. (Carlito Dar/PIA CAR)

Cordillera Athletic Meet. Officials from the Department of Education and the City Government of Baguio and other key stakeholders affirms their commitment of support, as they launched the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) 2020 in a Kapihan media Forum at the Baguio City Hall, Wednesday. Around 6,000 student athletes and school officials are expected to join the regional athletic meet setin February 16 to 21. (Carlito Dar//PIA CAR)

Members of the Baguio City National High School Special Program in the Arts showcases the theme song, specifically prepared for the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) that is set to be hosted by Baguio City on February 16 to 21 with over 6,000 student athletes and school officials participating.

Baguio young artists. Special Program in the Arts students in a photo opportunity with known Baguio - based artist Tor Alvarez Sagud, the author of the Illustrated guide book, "Igorotak". BCNHS, in partnership with the Baguio Museum, opens Friday (Jan. 17) an Art Exhibit dubbed as “Tales of our City: Retold by the youth that features literary, media, visual arts and crafts produced by the BCNHS - SPA students and for the opening program they also showcased band and rondalla performance. (Carlito Dar/PIA CAR)

On the edge: Saving Ifugao rice terraces

BANAUE, Ifugao, Philippines — As fog creeps up the contours of the mountainside at daybreak, Miguel Tumucal fixes his gaze on the stair-shaped edges of the vast farmland.

 

KEEPERS OF ANCIENT CULTURE Although modern Ifugaos no longer wear G-strings and carry spears except for rituals, they continue to find relevance in the cultural foundations that have kept the rice terraces thriving for generations. The task of protecting the terraces is now in the hands of young Ifugaos. —PHOTOS BY KARLSTON LAPNITEN

For decades, the 60-year-old elder has witnessed how the cultural landscape in his village of Amganad in Banaue town and elsewhere in Ifugao has evolved from one generation to another.

Amganad is home to families of farmers who produce the heirloom rice “tinawon” (literally “once a year”) from the ascending rows of terraces

Ifugao’s terraces are listed as a World Heritage Site, but these have also been on the endangered list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), citing the dwindling workforce and other social and environmental factors, including changes in management of watershed forests.

Tumucal and other villagers in Amganad still practice the indigenous system of farm management called “chawa” to sustain production of the homegrown rice variety.

Under chawa, a farmer enters into a verbal agreement with the owner of the land to cultivate it for a season. The harvest is to be divided equally in terms of rice bundles.

“Irrigation is the life of tinawon. Less irrigation means low harvest, a bane to farmers,” Tumucal told the Inquirer.

Rice terraces are strategically placed lower than the age-old “muyong,” the communal forest that serves as watershed from where irrigation water flows.

Changing weather patterns

Tumucal says the farmers are now beset by irrigation problems and they must preserve the muyong as it is also the source of materials for wood carving and basketry, a major industry in Ifugao.

“We’re experiencing a depleting source of water over the course of time. Even the weather has slightly changed patterns,” Tumucal said.

To reinforce farmers’ efforts to revive 540 hectares of abandoned rice terraces, the local government of Banaue has adopted chawa and extended the agreement period to three years.

The landowner also gets a quarter of the harvest, while the rest are sold to tourists and guests to fund the terraces’ upkeep.

Since the local government began the practice of chawa in 2010, it has kept the rice terraces from further degradation, according to Gov. Jerry Dalipog.

He says the scheme is a multipronged approach that also gives farmers extra income by employing villagers as cultivators.

Taking cue from the conservation effort in Banaue, the provincial government will boost its rehabilitation program for the rice terraces with more than P194 million in funds, starting 2020.

PHOTO BY KARLSTON LAPNITEN

The program focuses on the five clustered terraces collectively declared a World Heritage Site by the Unesco in 1995—Batad and Bangaan in Banaue, Nagacadan in Kiangan town, central Mayoyao in Mayoyao town, and the whole of Hungduan town.

Dalipog says he has already informed several concerned parties and conservation partners about the plan.

The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems says the rice terraces are “in a very critical stage of deterioration,” citing a study by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in 2008.

The study, “The Ifugao Rice Terraces-Philippine Project Framework,” was done with the support of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“The findings, while true at the time, might no longer be true more than a decade later, with millions of pesos worth of efforts poured in by various government agencies to rehabilitate the affected rice terraces,” says a FAO official in the Philippines.

This is apart from the efforts led by the local government in partnership with private and nongovernment institutions, the official says.

Banaue formula

Dalipog says the chawa system was complemented with over P250 million worth of rehabilitation projects from public and private sources, pooled during his third term as Banaue mayor from 2016 to 2019.Bulk of the projects is a P109-million rehabilitation fund from the national budget, which is divided among the Banaue villages, except Batad and Bangaan.

The projects are being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways and include the P60-million allocation for the Batad and Bangaan rice terraces and P11 million for “trail development” from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Just like the Banaue formula, rice terraces subjected to conservation efforts will be dedicated to cultivating tinawon, which is indigenous to Ifugao.

Tinawon is marketed as a souvenir item to be sold at tourism destinations by private entrepreneurs.

Usually, preparation for “botnge” (palay seed bed) starts in December while the “hopnak” (sowing of seedlings) starts in January.

When the seedlings are about a foot long after a month, they will be planted in the rice fields. It takes six months before the grains are ready for “ahibotok” (harvest).

The cycle varies in every village, with some delayed for a month, depending on the weather.

Core project

Conserving the Ifugao rice terraces is among the core areas in the ambitious P4.125-billion, five-year development plan being crafted by the National Anti-Poverty Commission.

The plan envisions the Cordillera rice terraces to be “sustainable through indigenous knowledge systems and practices for food security” by 2030. If realized, it will be the most expensive single conservation plan in the country.

MODERNITY VS TRADITION: The number of houses surrounding the rice terraces carved from the mountains of Banaue town illustrates the struggle between urban growth and Ifugao’s ancestral wisdom that keeps these farms alive for hundreds of years. (Photo by KARLSTON LAPNITEN / Inquirer Northern Luzon)

But the plan relies on funding from the general appropriations of regional line agencies and external development assistance.

Based on a draft, rice production in the region is expected to increase productivity by 10 percent and decrease production costs by 10 percent by the plan’s end year in 2023.

Dr. Leah Enkiwe-Abayao, director of the Cordillera Studies Center at the University of the Philippines Baguio, says the high cost of production and maintenance, aggravated by surging inflation, remains the main problem for rice terraces.

Inputs do not exceed outcome for most farmers, forcing many to abandon rice farming for better yielding cash crop or jobs, says Abayao, a native of Mayoyao.

This is worsened by the seemingly lack of interest among the younger generation to pick up rice farming, a lingering problem, she adds.

 By - KARLSTON LAPNITEN / Inquirer Northern Luzon

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1204273/on-the-edge-saving-ifugao-rice-terraces

Baguio

  • Phase 2 of Baguio-Benguet college sports league resumes

    BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League (BBEAL) will resume its second phase of games after the city’s hosting of the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) meet that ends on February 21.

  • Filipino – Chinese community, Baguio LGU launch Spring Fest 2020

    BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 15 (PIA) - - Strong community ties and partnership  is  showcased again by the Filipino – Chinese community and the City Government of Baguio  as they launched the Lunar or Spring Festival 2020 at the regular flag raising ceremony at the City Hall grounds Monday morning.

  • CHSO reminds parents on importance of child vaccination

    BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 16 (PIA) - - The City Health Services Office( CHSO) stressed the importance  of child vaccination  and  reminded  parents to check the vaccination records of their  children to assure  their  protection from vaccine preventable diseases.

  • UC, Cauayan HS win Cordillera, Region 2 NBTC plums

    BAGUIO CITY – The University of the Cordilleras (UC) survived on Friday a gritty University of Baguio High School (UBHS) then went on to stop Tabuk City, 78-62, to win the National Basketball Training Camp (NBTC) regional finals for Cordillera and Region 2 (Cagayan Valley) at the UB gym.

  • TIEZA funds rehabilitation of Burnham Park, Banaue Hotel

    BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 7 (PIA) -- The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority(TIEZA)   is  set  to  fund  the rehabilitation works at the  Burnham Park here and the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel in Ifugao  in line with its mandate to ensure sustainable tourism infrastructure development.

Benguet

  • Cordillera cops urged to have sense of right and wrong

    CAMP DANGWA, LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Police in the Cordillera Administrative Region are reminded to get in the habit of doing good deeds daily, an integral part of the Philippine National Police's internal cleansing program.

  • CAR farmers appeal to Mayor Isko on Divisoria closure this weekend

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Jan. 15(PIA) -- Vegetable farmers and traders from the Cordillera region are appealing to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso to allow them to deliver and sell their produce amidst the planned three-day closure of the roads going to the Divisioria Market this weekend.

  • La Trinidad flood study underway

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Jan. 16 (PIA) - - The local government is undertaking an evaluation  of  the flood situation of this  capital town as an initial step for a full-blown study that would address the perennial flooding problem in the valley.

  • Mayor Isko allows highland vegies in Divisoria during Sto Nino feast

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Jan. 17(PIA) -- Cordillera farmers may be allowed to deliver and sell their produce at the Divisoria Market during the Feast of the Santo Niño de Tondo this weekend.

  • Kibungan LGU crafts FOI measure

    LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, Jan. 8 (PIA)  - - The local government of Kibungan crafted its Freedom of Information (FOI) measure in recognition of the importance of people’s right to government information.

Mt. Province

  • Healthiest places in Mt. Province recognized

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, Jan. 20 (PIA) -- The provincial government recently recognized winners of the 2019 Provincial Search for the Healthiest Places.

  • 11 CTGs surrender in Mountain Province

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, Jan. 17(PIA) -- At least 11 members of the communist terrorist group(CTG)  who surrendered to government forces were presented on Wednesday(Jan. 15 ) at the Camp Montes here.

  • Poblacion Bontoc is outstanding Lupong Tagapamayapa in Mt. Province

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, Jan. 10(PIA) – The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the provincial government extol the lupong tagapamayapa in their crucial role in conflict resolution in the barangays as they awarded recently the barangay justice committee of Poblacion of this capital town as the outstanding   in the province.

  • Solar-powered rice insect trap leads winners in RICE 2019

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, Nov. 22 (PIA) - - A solar-powered light trap for rice insect created by three students from Camalog National High School of Pinukpuk, Kalinga wins the SIBOL Award – Student Creative Research for High School category of the 2019 Regional Invention Contest and Exhibits (RICE) held  on November 19 – 20 here.

  • DOST brings Reg’l S&T roadshow to the people of Mt. Province

    BONTOC, Mountain Province, Nov. 21 (PIA) - - In line with its  goal of bringing science for the people, the Department of Science and Technology(DOST),  holds the annual Regional S&T Week here that generally aims to promote science, technology and innovation as a driver of development especially in the countryside.

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