Ifugao town turns entire village into an open air museum
In 1995, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Convention included the Banaue Rice Terraces in its World Heritage list, recognizing the more than 2,000 years of Ifugao culture and ingenious way of planting and harvesting rice despite living along the steep mountains of Cordilleras.
But continuous modernization has its tolls, and the rice terraces are not immune to it. Twenty-five to 30 per cent of the terraces are abandoned due to migration of young people to the urban areas, looking for what they believed to be far better opportunities than planting rice and maintaining the heritage of the place.
Because of this, the Rice Terraces was placed on the World Heritage in Danger list in 2001.
So far since 2012, it has been lifted out from the list, and efforts are continuously made to maintain the Terraces.
The local government of Kiangan in Ifugao opened an open air museum in Nagacadan town that aims to promote the unique aspects of the Ifugao culture.
The Cordilleran Rice Terraces are made up of five clusters that stretch out to Hungduan, Mayoyao, Bangaan and Batad in the municipality of Banaue, and in Nagacadan.
For P350, tourists can go on a three-kilometer guided hike through the landscapes of Nagacadan, with selected houses showing the different features of the Ifugao culture, such as in agriculture, rice cycles, arts and crafts, and architecture.
The endeavor will also benefit the locals, since tourism can become one of their sources of income.
Aside from the Rice Terraces, the country is also home to five other World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.