Well, what do you know? Last month’s update of Google Earth and Google Maps data gave us a patch of Ifugao’s mountains in high-resolution. This fortunately gives us our first satellite view of one of the five rice terraces that are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras UNESCO World Heritage Site (inscribed in 1995) and this is the Nagacadan Rice Terraces in Kiangan, Ifugao. Sadly, the other four do not have high-resolution satellite images yet and they include the more impressive and more famous Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces.
Many of the rice terraces in the region suffer from damage and lack of interested young Ifugao people to carry on the tradition and to do repairs. Subsequently, the rice terraces were included in the 2000 list of the World Monuments Watch of the World Monuments Fund. They were also included in UNESCO’s endangered list in 2001. Fortunately for the Nagacadan Rice Terraces, there are efforts underway to promote eco-tourism and preservation of these terraces. One is the Bakle’d Kiangan festival, which features the Bakle, a thanksgiving ritual for a bountiful rice harvest, and lets tourist experience rice-planting for themselves instead of just viewing the landscape.
And you know what? This post on the Nagacadan Rice Terraces means that Vista Pinas now has featured all of the Philippine UNESCO World Heritage Sites! There’s Tubbataha Reef, Palawan’s Underground River, Vigan, and Paoay Church (one of the Baroque churches). But the job’s not complete yet. There are still the remaining four rice terraces and the remaining three Baroque churches, and it would be really great if Tubbataha Reef gets high-resolution imagery (I featured it back during the time Google Maps had little hi-res photos in the Philippines, necessitating that I feature some sights in lo-res areas.)