Banaue Rice Terraces rehab to start by year end

Banaue Rice Terraces rehab to start by year end

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - June 29, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) is targeting to start the rehabilitation of the Banaue Rice Terraces by the end of the year.

“A total of P71 million was allotted in the General Appropriations Act (FY 2018) for the rehabilitation and restoration of the collapsed terrace walls of the famed Banaue Rice Terraces,” TIEZA said.

The Banaue Rice Terraces, built by the Ifugaos by hand some 2,000 years ago, is among the country’s national cultural treasures and is listed as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.

At present, more than 500 hectares or 33.6 percent of the Banaue Rice Terraces have been damaged, eroded or abandoned.

TIEZA will facilitate the strengthening of the stone walls and the improvement of its trekking trails.

“TIEZA is also closely coordinating with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the National Museum as all share the mandate to conserve, preserve and protect Filipino historical and cultural heritage and resources,” the agency said.

In line with the rehabilitation of the heritage site, TIEZA also approved the rehabilitation of the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel, one of its key operating assets.

The 5.3-hectare hotel located in the heart of the Banaue Rice Terraces was acquired by TIEZA (then Philippine Tourism Authority) in 1977 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1172.

“Over the years, the original structure of the hotel had been expanded and to date, it has two wings,” the TIEZA said.

The hotel currently has an inventory of 81 rooms and is known for its cultural presentations which give a glimpse of Ifugao traditions.

“Although tourists continue to flock to the hotel, it is in great need of rehabilitation, considering that there has been no major rehabilitation for almost a decade,” TIEZA said.

The undertaking will be through TIEZA’s project DREAMS (Destination, Restoration, Eco-Sustainability, Agritourism, Medical Assistance and Security and Accessibility.

“TIEZA prioritizes the construction of tourism infrastructure projects of national interest and significance and brings development to areas with high cultural, religious, heritage and eco-tourism values,” the agency said.

The agency and its projects are solely funded by its 50 percent share of the total travel tax collection.

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