Saving the Ifugao Rice Terraces with Voluntourism PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 February 2012 00:00
The kick-off to save Banaue Rice Terraces in Batad, Ifugao from further deterioration was a success last February 3! Spearheaded by the Photography with Difference (PWD) Founder John Chua, he was able to call and got full support from several major companies, organizations and individuals from all over the Philippines.  They travelled for several hours and trekked for miles to show that the nation, the Filipinos, cares for this important heritage site.
Called “Batad Rice Terraces: Saving a Living Heritage”, this PWD project did not only aimed to save this World Heritage Heritage Site popularly known as 8th Wonder of the World, it initiated Voluntourism.  This calls for tourists to volunteer and help restore a valuable tourist site in cooperation with proper authorities and under the supervision of local experts.
This projects calls for the local spirit of cooperation called bachang or ubbo, which was the driving force when the terraces were first built Chua said. He believes that aside from the need to increase government funding for its preservation, it is time for the spirit of Bachang to lead local and foreign tourists to do more than picture taking here.
In a press release I read, Voluntourism at Batad will be encouraged from February 3 to December 2012. The Batad community will be open to Voluntourists, who will not only get to help, but will also have a taste of traditional Ifugao life and culture. The group build requires at least twenty people, and the activity will take at least four hours. A local master builder and a team of farmers will guide the group. Even those without any previous experience can join, as long as they are willing to learn, and can do the one and a half-hour trek to reach the rice terraces.
Instead of participatory fees,Voluntourists will donate farming tools like shovels, spades, prong hoes, boots, and protective gear. Cost of travel, accommodation, guide and the registration fee of P20 will be shouldered by the voluntourist.
Special arrangements for group builds can be arranged with the Batad Community through the Barangay Council in Batad Village and/or the Banaue Tourism Information Center (074 386 4010/ 09294692138 Jane Mateo) at Banaue town proper
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Just Do it, Live Life to the Fullest (John Chua).
Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2012 10:13