Great Tzu Chi love reaches North with a bell PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 February 2012 00:00

From the down under of South Mindanao, the great love of Tzu Chi Foundation-Zamboanga has reached now the upper mountain of North Luzon and rang the bell of love. Truly love does not set boundary. Members of this charitable foundation heeded the Voluntourism call of Photography With A Difference (PWD) founder John Chua to help save the crumbling of the rice terraces in Batad, Banaue, Ifugao last February 3.

Tzu Chi Zamboanga even donated a bronze bell to a school there to replace their old acetylene tank "bell" that broke 10 years ago but still being used by the school. When the new bell was banged, it brought a wide smile and thunderous claps from the Ifugao villagers, teachers, and school children.

As one of our country’s top advertising photographers, Manila-based Chua has been there several times for photo shoots. He felt in love with its majesty and its people. And he found out, that this popular tourism destination, the 8th wonder of the world and declared a world heritage, has been severely damaged by recent typhoon surges.

Since government funding is not enough, he initiated the Voluntourism “Batad Rice Terraces: Saving a Living Heritage” to help Banaue Rice Terraces. Several major companies, organizations and individuals from all over the Philippines went there last week. They travelled for several hours and trekked several miles to bring the alive the Ifugao spirit of Bachang – a spirit of cooperation.

If you want to experience Voluntourism (tourists who volunteers) at Batad, Ifugao, contact Batad Community Barangay Council or the Banaue Tourism Information Center (074 386 4010/ 09294692138 Jane Mateo). 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.

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.

Last Updated on Monday, 13 February 2012 13:07