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The huge and spectacular Banaue Rice Terraces are situated in the mountains of northern Luzon.

These rice terraces of Banaue were carved into the mountain sides about 2,000 years ago by the local Ifugao indigenous people who used only simple wooden tools for the process. This demonstrated the engineering skills, the ingenuity and the persistence of the Ifugaos.

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Banaue Rice Terraces

Sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Banaue Rice Terraces are a spectacular display, rising to a height of 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level. They are a sprawing structure that covers a total area of 10,360 square kilometers (about 4000 square miles). An ancient form of irrigation, the terraces are designed so that water enters the terraces from rainforests located above them.

Two of the groups of terraces in Banaue (that is, those of Bangaan and Batad) have been registered as part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Unfortunately, the rice terraces are falling upon bad times. They are slowly being abandonned by the younger generation of Ifugaos who are finding other forms of work more lucrative. The steps of the terraces are starting to deteriorate. They have been damaged also by an earthquake that occured in 1990 and by the droughts caused by the El Nino phenomenon. The type of rice that most suited to the climate of the Banaue area is being abandonned by the Ifugaos in favor of new higher-yield types of rice that do not take so long to mature.

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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