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26 October 2007

2000 Year Old Terraces Carved By Hand

The Banaue Rice terraces found in the mountains of Philippines is dubbed as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" with a reason. More than 2000 years ago, these terraces were made by an ethnic group named Ifugaos without the aid of machinery to provide levels like stepping stones to the sky, some reaching an altitude of 1500m (5000 feet), where the natives plant rice. What's even more impressive is that the terraces cover 10,360 square km (about 4000 square miles) of mountainside. All done using bare hands!

Indigenous TribeStill being used today, the stages of rice feilds cultivated in the mountain side are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. Streams and springs are channeled into canals that run downhill and into the rice terraces. These manifest the engineering skill and ingenuity of the sturdy Ifugaos. In 1995, the terraces were declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. The website gives the following description for the terraces:

"For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment."

Along with the incredible history and its natural beauty, the presence of many hiking trails in the area makes the Banaue Rice terraces one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Philippines. One cannot but ponder how the Ifugaos made it all using just their bare hands.

Above: Huge Panoramic Image of the Banaue Terraces

This article was written by Blue Dreamer from Blue Dreamer's Paradise. Images collected by Ilker Yoldas via 1, 2, 3. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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