The Department of Tourism (DOT) has recently announced plans for the rehabilitation of the world famous Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao. The effort is set for the end of 2018 or the next year.
The Banaue Rice Terraces Restoration is the biggest infrastructure of the DOT yet. The effort is backed by Congress with an allocation of at least P80 million. On July 27, DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat visited Ifugao to discuss the project with local government.
Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas said in an interview that the Banaue Rice Terraces Restoration Project will be split into two parts — the rehabilitation of TIEZA-operated Banaue Hotel and the preventive measure of stonewalling the rice terraces to prevent deterioration over time.
“In the stonewalling, I think we’re already at the final stage of designation because it’s very critical in that site that you cannot just bring any contractor, it should be by them. Because it’s a heritage piece, you can’t use ordinary cement but stones (found in the area),” said Paragas.
The Banaue Rice Terraces are one of the country’s national cultural treasures. The structures were built by the Ifugaos by hand an estimates 2,000 years ago. Among the famed terraces are the Batad Rice Terraces and Bangaan Rice Terraces.
Unfortunately, recent reports from the Municipality of Banaue show that over 500 hectares or 33.6 percent of the Banaue Rice Terraces have been affected by erosion, damage or abandonment. The nature of the wonder site makes it especially susceptible to degradation over time. These efforts by the DOT are aimed to prevent any further loss of this culturally significant site.