• Ifugao lawmaker warns against prolonged wakeskating in Rice Terraces

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    An Ifugao lawmaker has warned against continuous wake skating in the magnificent Rice Terraces in the Cordilleras which is a huge rice planting area that mimic steps to heaven.

    Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao province made the appeal in light of the video made by professional wake skaters Brian Grubb (American) and Dominik Preisner (German) who paid a visit to the country to do wake skating at the Banaue Rice Terraces. The wake skaters described the Banaue Rice Terraces as a perfect playground for a unique wake skate session.

    “If it were just a promotional gimmick, then I can live with it because it is a creative way to bring tourists to the Terraces. But we have to remember that the Rice Terraces were built for food production, not for leisure or extreme sports,” Baguilat said in a text message.

    The Terraces in Banaue (Batad and Bangaan),  Mayoyao, Kiangan and Hungduan are classified by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization as World Heritage Sites because of their altitude up to 1500 meters and steep slopes (maximum of 70 degrees).

    Further, its irrigation system is composed of complex schemes of dams, channels and bamboo pipes which were built without any modern equipment.

    The wake skaters have secured the permission of the tribal leaders there before they pulled off their move and rode the Terraces’ paddies.

    Baguilat, however, cautioned that wake skating cannot be a regular tourism activity because the Terraces’s paddies—where the rice is planted—are utilized the whole year round.

    “If this is going to be a tourism activity, there should be a serious consideration on its impact. I’m sure the farmers would not want to be disrupted in their planting, harvesting and fallow period,” Baguilat added. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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