Join the Urpih Summer Festival in Ifugao PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 12 April 2013 00:00

Do you really...REALLY want to do something DIFFERENT this summer!!! My friend, Philippine top photographer John Chua, is inviting everyone to an amazing and priceless lifetime experience in one of the wonders of the world – the Banaue’s Rice Terraces in Ifugao. 

Join him and others to the Banaue’s URPIH Festival.

The Urpih is a thanksgiving ritual among the Ifugaos which is performed right after every household finished planting their rice fields. Its main objective is to ask the gods and goddesses to protect the rice seedlings which were just planted to grow, to be strong and to bear as much fruits for a bountiful harvest. The ritual also goes beyond, by invoking the gods and goddesses to spare the rice plants from pest and other animals that feed on them

The “BARTUNG” is the main prayer that is performed during “Urpih” . It is a story of Buccahan a farmer, who together with his wife Bugan performed the first Urpih. Accordingly after a week, Buccahan visited his rice fields and to his surprise, the rice seedlings which were not planted so well by the children and the old women were recovering fast. Months passed, Buccahan went back and found out that his rice fields were better than the other rice fields in the community. More than this, when the rice plants bear fruit, his rice fields were spared from the attack of mouse and rice birds.

Buccahan related this experience to all community members and from then on every community members performs the Urpih in anticipation for a good harvest.

The schedule of activities are (April 26, Friday) Arrival of Participants from all the villages; (April 27, Saturday) 5:30 am  Urpih Ritual - prayers and chanting to the gods and goddesses;
9:00 am Ethnic Parade – participants from all the villages of Banaue … wearing their native costumes and early Ifugao bark cloth. Opening Program followed by cultural dance and native songs.

This is for all golfers – join the launching of the golf for a cause project spearheaded by Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.  The “World First Golf Tee Off to the Banaue Rice Terraces - Golf for A Cause - Saving a Living Heritage” will help save preserve this man-made mountain wonder.

Then in the afternoon,  join in different ethnic game competitions such as Munlaga Kak Kait Hanggor Guyyudan, Binnawot Banngunan Mnuntuhnur, and Akkad Race. On the sides, watch demonstrations of Ifugao woodcarving, weaving, basket making exhibition, rice wine demonstration and sampling. Evening will be bonfire and native dances.

Sunday, April 28, experience watching the famous Ifugao’s Wooden Scooter presentation and competition and end up riding it too as well join in catching greasy pigs (Mumbayo), and lastly dance the Ifugao steps in the Hudhud closing ceremony.

John suggested schedule is leave Manila on Friday evening at 7 pm and take the Ohayami Bus at Sampaloc station ( Fajardo corner Lacson Ave ). Fare is Php 500 pesos one way and you will arrive in Banaue at 6:30 am. One can check in at more than 20 pensions, inns, and lodging houses from 300 pesos per person (average). Leave Banaue on Sunday at 7 pm via Ohayami Bus again and arrive Manila at 5 am. Estimated food will cost only Php 600 for 2 days.

And of course, don’t forget your camera.  This is the best time of the year, John said. The Banaue Rice Terraces is BEAUTIFUL... Picture Perfect.   Just press your shutter even with your eyes CLOSE and you will still get great shots.

Tip: Book your bus early. Ohayami can make a bus reservation for 20 persons (not charter regular fare bus).

By Dante Corteza

"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22). Praise God for His creations.