PHILIPPINE TOURISM REVIVES BANAUE RICE PLANTING CEREMONY

MANILA, OCTOBER 4, 2003  (STAR) The near-forgotten Ifugao tradition of planting rice at the Banaue Rice Terraces got a boost from the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) when the agency conducted Huntanum Hi Page or a rice planting activity at Aguila Viewpoint in Banaue Rice Terraces.

PTA general manager Robert Dean Barbers, along with Ifugao chieftains, mumbakis (local shaman), Cordillera local government officials and Ms. Tourism World 2002 Michelle Reyes took part in the rice planting in support of preservation efforts for the millennia-old rice terraces and revive the rice planting tradition in the Mountain Province.

Bolstering efforts to preserve the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, the PTA also launched the Gawad Uhay Award program for those who will participate in the year-long activities or rice-planting to harvesting of upland rice Banaue.

Ifugao natives carved the Banaue Rice Terraces by hand more than 2000 years ago. The site stands as a revelation of the Ifugao’s perseverance in the struggle for survival, ingenuity and advanced engineering skill in the midst of harsh environment.

One of the highlights of the events is a ritual called Bolnat led by a mumbaki followed by actual rice planting Huntanum Hi Page of all participants.

"The Gawad Uhay Award symbolizes that every participant has brought along with him a part of the World’s Heritage, aside from experiencing the age-old Ifugao tradition of planting rice on a mountain side," Barbers said.

Barbers said PTA organized the activity to create awareness on the significance of a sustained planting in the rice terraces and revive the dying Ifugao tradition.

Barbers said PTA organized the activity to create awareness on the significance of a sustained planting in the rice terraces and revive the dying Ifugao tradition.

He was declared as the ‘Adopted Son of Banaue’ for initiating the activity.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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