The Philippines has a lot to offer and be proud of when it comes to the tourism game. But because most of the country’s wonders are subjected to the effects of environmental degradation and urbanization, it also takes a lot to keep them in tip-top shape.
As Boracay nears its full restoration this year after a six-month rehabilitation program for it was put in place in 2018, the Ifugao Rice Terraces now waits for the same attention and treatment from the government.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces, sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World, was reportedly in a “very critical stage of deterioration” back in December 2019, which the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said hindered locals from excelling beyond the poverty line.
According to the FOA website, this was due to “various factors such as environmental degradation, unregulated development and neglect brought about by urbanization and changing values.”
However, in a Philstar article that was published the same month, Ifugao Governor Jerry Dalipog spoke out and said that the world heritage site is being cared for and is in line to receive a P194 million rehabilitation budget this year.
Gov. Dalipog said that the budget will be coming from the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.
According to Gov. Dalipog, the FAO is not up to date with regard to the rice terraces’ current state, unlike other international partners.
Further, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities Senator Imee Marcos expressed her concern over the government’s lack of regard for the preservation of the terraces.
“I am calling on the local government of Ifugao, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism and even the Department of Agriculture, let us work together. It is the country’s reputation on the line,” said Sen. Marcos.
Sen. Marcos also expressed fear over the rice terraces’ disintegrating state, saying that it could erase the site from Philippine maps. This has led Marcos to call on the help of experts and propose a plan to curb the further degradation of the rice terraces.
It is unfortunate that the Ifugao rice terraces had to first deteriorate for it to receive the care it needs as a cultural and historic landscape, but with the rehabilitation of Boracay proving successful, things are looking up for the Eighth Wonder of the World.