by nobert soloria bermosa on 21/04/08 at 6:43 am
Details and compelling reasons why the Ifugao rice terraces is considered the 8th wonder of the world. Find out.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces or popularly known worldwide as Banawe Rice Terraces was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 because of its great beauty that expresses conquered and conserved harmony between humankind and the environment. This primitive agricultural engineering feat is well known all over the world.
It was built 2,000 years ago on the slopes of the towering mountains of Northern Luzon, Philippines by bare human hands. If place end to end, it would extend more than 22,500 kilometers, that is, 8 times longer than the Great Wall of China, or more than half of the earth’s circumference, amazing isn’t it?
The Ifugao rice terraces are largely regarded as the “8th wonder of the world.” It is also well known that the Banawe and other Ifugao rice terraces were built without forced labor, unlike the other Seven Wonders of the World, which employed slaves.
Ifugao rice fields are worthy of high rank among the wonders of the world. There are places where they reach from an altitude of 2500 feet to one of 5000 feet, and many places where they extend from an altitude of 1500 feet to one of 4500 feet. Ifugaos must be highly commended for constructing the rice terraces, since they did not have surveying instruments and modern machinery at their disposal.
The rice terraces are more than a sight to behold and an ancient monument-they are actually a very functional agriculture and ecological masterpiece. Likewise, the rice terraces have been producing rice for centuries, showing that the Ifugaos were able to maintain the fertility of the rice fields’ soils and even contain soil erosion.
A view of a promising bountiful harvest
Besides being an engineering feat, the Ifugao rice terraces demonstrate that farming can blend in harmony with culture, and more importantly, nature. Preparation of the rice field for planting is done manually using basic implements only.
During planting season
The Ifugao’s irrigation system diverts water from rivers and streams, and channels these to the terraces through a series of dikes and pipes. The pipes can be bamboo of various diameters, which make sure only the right amount of water is channeled to the terraces, and that no soil erosion is caused by excessive water flow. At the upper point of most terraces are well-preserved rainforests, the primary source of water. So simple yet efficient is the irrigation system of the rice terrace.
For hundreds of years, Ifugaos have diverted stream water for irrigation up to five to six kilometers. Using the stream’s current and sheer manpower, they rolled stones and small boulders from mountaintops and formed these as rock walls to hold mountainsides and create rice terraces.
Come and see the scenic beauty of Ifugao Rice Terraces. Mesmerize with their tribal rituals, weave a blanket with the locals, and if one is lucky enough, you might be invited to a tribal “kaniao” or a grand feast.
Ifugao Tribal Dance
Another breathtaking view of Banawe Rice Terraces
For more tourist destinations in the Philippines see;