As a result of a series of typhoons, the Batad Rice Terraces in Ifugao, a World Heritage site since 1995, are in danger.
Ifugao is a landlocked province in the Philippines. It is named after the term “i-pugo” which means “i” (from/people) and “pugo” (hill), thus people of the hill. The rice terraces are the main tourist attractions in the province. These 2000-year-old terraces were carved into the mountains to provide level steps where the natives can plant rice.
In the beginning of February, Photography With a Difference (PWD) will send a group of volunteer photographers to restore the Batad Rice Terraces. The project called “Batad Rice Terraces: Saving a Living Heritage” hopes to “repair the damage to several paddies, which were left parched and unused after landslides damaged the irrigation canals in one section of the terraces in Barangay Batad.”
These volunteer tourists, under the supervision of local experts, will help restore the rice terraces, which provide a source of food and livelihood for the Ifugaos; also, safety from erosion for the 25 families that make their homes there.
A local master builder and a team of farmers will guide the group. No prior experience is needed to join, but you will need to be able to do the one and a half-hour trek to reach the rice terraces.
There is no fees to participate but voluntourists are asked to donate farming tools like shovels, spades, prong hoes, boots, and protective gear. The voluntourist has to cover the cost of travel to get there, accommodation, guide, and the registration fee of P20.
Special arrangements for groups can be made through the Banaue Tourism Information Center (074 386 4010/ 09294692138 Jane Mateo). For more information about Bachang and Batad, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider booking your hotel in a surrounding area for the majority of your stay, you can book a Batangas hotel or a Batan hotel and not expect too much of a commute to the area.
photo credit: photography with a difference