Le risaie a forma di anfiteatro. Ripide pareti, alte centinaia di metri, terrazzate fino alla cima e nel mezzo un pugno di abitazioni colorate con i tetti di paglia. E’ questo il cuore fiabesco di Batad, nel Nord delle Filippine. E’ questo l’incantesimo delle più antiche risaie del mondo incastonate tra ripidi passaggi di montagna e fitte foreste. Per la popolazione locale questi terrazzamenti sono “le scale per il paradiso”.
Batad is a Barangay within the municipality of Banaue, Ifugao Province, about 370km by road from Manila. It is about 18 Km travel from Banaue, of which about 15 Km is by road and about 3 Km is walked along a mountain trail.
The rice terraces at Batad were originally built 2000 years ago and have stone walls, unlike others in the region that have mud walls. For centuries, farmers have worked these fields, using pretty much the same methods now as they did when they were first constructed. It’s quite incredible to see the continuity in the farming practices over such a long period.
You get a great view from the village of the rice terraces. What makes these ones at Batad so spectacular is the way they are laid out. A natural amphitheatre in the hills has been used as the base for their construction so they curve in long layers all around the valley. There must be hundreds of levels from the top all the way down to the bottom. You can’t look at them all at once without turning your head in every direction.
Maintenance of the living rice terraces reflects a primarily cooperative approach of the whole community which is based on detailed knowledge of the rich diversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agro-ecosystem, a finely tuned annual system respecting lunar cycles, zoning and planning, extensive soil conservation, and mastery of a complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs, accompanied by religious rituals.
The rice terraces in the Philippines (in filipino, hagdang-hagdang palayan ng Pilipinas) are one of the few monuments that show no evidence of having been influenced by colonial cultures. Owing to the difficult terrain, the tribes are among the few peoples of the Philippines who have successfully resisted any foreign domination and have preserved their authentic tribal culture. The history of the terraces is intertwined with that of its people, their culture, and their traditional practice’s.
The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras were inscribed on the UNESCO as a World Heritage.
It’s more fun in the Philippines.