Thursday, January 26, 2012

Restoring the Batad rice terraces through volunTOURISM

A friend shared this on Facebook earlier and it definitely caught my attention. It's about a volunteer-oriented initiative called Batad Weekend Warrior (BWW) to support the Bachang, a revival of the Ifugao bayanihan spirit basically meant to restore the Batad rice terraces in Banaue, Ifugao to its former glory.

bachang poster

Bachang, or Baddang, according to BWW's Facebook page, means bayanihan (that Filipino value of cooperative undertaking) in the Ifugao dialect, and so that "volunTOURISM" concept is a perfect fit. The activity will primarily entail stonewalling to rehabilitate portions of the terraces damaged by past typhoons. It's set to kick off on February 3 and is expected to run through the rest of the year until December.

This definitely is something worthwhile especially considering that rice farming in these terraces are faced with succession problems. Younger generations, of course, choose to forego farming in search of better and less back-breaking opportunities elsewhere. I really can't blame them, so initiatives like Bachang are most welcome to ensure the preservation of these rice terraces.

I suddenly went nostalgic and was able to unearth some "vintage" photos of me and a couple of friends in Batad back in 2005. I say vintage because they were taken from a Kodak KB10 point-and-shoot film camera with no zoom function whatsoever. With a little help from PS, memories of me and two other guys in Ifugao garb (g-strings) sauntering along the magnificent Batad rice terraces with two ladies in tow are now vibrant as new.

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Wouldn't it be more fun if this Bachang were done in costume, like me here? It would be epic, I daresay.

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Cooling off in Tappia Falls after trekking all morning under the sun was the best! I remember I was the first to buy a costume in Banaue then these two followed suit. We covered up with malong while we were still in the village then let go of it once we hit the terraces. The falls, though, seemed to have washed away all our inhibitions because on our way back, we no longer bothered with our malongs even if we were already in the village.

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If you're interested in being a Batad Weekend Warrior, you can find all the info you need -- details, directions, arrangements, fees and all that -- on their Facebook page, or you can email them at batadweekendwarrior@gmail.com. I'm really hoping for the success of this great endeavor. VolunTOUR now!

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great initiative
    and an excellent proposal,
    amazing photos.

    Regards

    http://www.thetrendysurfer.com/

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  2. it really is. these rice terraces, after all, are centuries-old already.

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  3. hej.. thanks for the info! Haven't been to Banaue but I plan to volunteer when I go visit there for the first time. ;-)

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  4. volunteering would mean a lot. thanks, seneca!

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