June 20, 2014
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Late in the afternoon, this Ifugao farmer is just standing there on the paddy dike to protect the rice crop from birds. How about scarecrow? I asked. It doesn’t work, he answered without elaborating.
June 19, 2014
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Today’s proof of the past
With no machineries but rudimentary tools, the ancestors of Ifugaos today have manually carved the slopes of the mountains into rice paddy terraces. Where there is water source, the natives can build terraces even if the slopes are rocky. The most important thing is the water source and of course, the incredible collective efforts of the Ifugaos.
Structures seen on the slopes of Batad village. The Ifugao rice farming methods haven’t changed much, but the houses have evolved
There are many articles out there about the history, the way of life, and rituals of the Ifugaos and their rice terraces. What I have here are few snapshots of the cultural landscape of the past that is preserved until today, as I trek from Batad village to Cambulo village and back.
Light rain at the start of the trek but thankfully the skies cleared. Trekking in downpour can be precarious in the narrow paddy dikes
Heirloom rice crop
The view of the Batad rice terraces as I sat at the topmost paddy dike
Verdant look before harvest time
Walking in single file for it’s a steep drop at the other side
June 16, 2014
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Meet Rita as she cuts gabi stalks
Rita is an Ifugao, a cultural minority group in the country. She lives in Batad and her place in the mountain serves as a traveler’s inn with a terrific view of the amphitheater rice terraces of Batad.
Wood fire cooking
She is very old and her upper body is bended at the waist when walking (like most elderly Ifugao women). She walks barefoot in the mountain trails aided by a wooden stick. Her countenance has the look of a wise figure with her prominently lined face. She is wise in fact and talks articulately in English (like most Ifugaos, as I’ve noted).
Rita's inn straight ahead
Even though Rita belongs to a minority group, her family and her ancestors made a great contribution in the country’s cultural legacy by building and maintaining a national treasure – the UNESCO inscribed rice terraces.
Rita's traveler's inn
One's view in every moment at Rita's inn
Rita's equally wise husband
Grinding betel nut for chewing and spitting pleasure
Having native coffee prepared by Germaine, Rita's daughter. This spot makes a perfect place to rest after a day's hike in the mountains and rice paddies