Stunning terrace fields of Ifugao people: a place where rice is more expensive than gold
On the Philippine island of Luzon, the Ifugao people live in agriculture and have been growing rice on the mountain slopes for more than 2000 years. Of course, you will not surprise anyone with terrace fields in Southeast Asia, but the fact that the Ifugao people turned the mountain slopes is admirable.
Luzon Island, like most Philippine islands, has a mountainous terrain, so terraced farming prevails here. Terraced farming as a way of growing crops in low mountains and middle mountains arose in ancient times, at least 5 thousand years ago. And until now, this method of arranging agricultural fields is the only acceptable for the mountainous terrain.
The rice terraced fields in Ifugao province are real works of agricultural art, authored by representatives of the mountain people of Ifugao. The name of this people translates as "people from the mountains", and ifugao today has about 170 thousand people. Interestingly, despite globalization, many Ifugao still adhere to their traditional beliefs and lead a lifestyle that is not much different from the life of their ancestors.
Ifugao are outstanding farmers who have turned every suitable slope into a fertile field. The most impressive plantations are located in the Batad village area, near the city of Banaue. According to researchers, these terraces are at least 2,000 years old. Ifugao people leveled the rocky slopes and filled the grounds with fertile land. An irrigation system is arranged on the mountain slopes, which directs water from the mountain rivers to the fields. The main crop here is, of course, rice. On the occasion of the sowing and harvesting of this Ifugao cereal, noisy holidays are always held, where the whole community gathers. In addition to rice, corn, sweet potato and various vegetables are grown on the mountain terraces of Ifugao province. During the off-season, when the fields are free of rice, they are filled with water and fish are bred on the terraces.
Among Ifugao, there are large landowners, who own rather large tracts of land, and not rich people who live by wage labor. Interestingly, when large deposits of gold were found in Ifugao province, the Ifugao families who own terraced fields refused to give permission for the extraction of precious metal. After all, the main wealth of the people is not gold, but the stunning mountain terraces that their ancestors erected and on which you can grow rice and raise fish.
Today, unique landowners are attracted by UNESCO. Terraces in the Banaue area have been recognized as World Heritage Sites and taken under protection, and in order for the Ifugao not to leave the countryside and not to live in cities, a number of projects are being implemented in the province aimed at developing infrastructure and the tourism sector.
The panorama of the rice fields of the Ifugao people is depicted on the largest Philippine bill - 1000 pesos.