Preserving Ifugao culture, one class at a time


Posted at Jun 03 2016 10:32 PM

Recognized as a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site, the rice terraces in Ifugao are considered national treasure.

But with the emigration of Ifugao locals and their children to other places in search of greener pastures, the terraces are at risk of gradual ruin.

To address the issue, the local government decided to teach traditional terrace preservation practices to elementary students.

Young Ifugao children learn the basics of stone riprapping or 'topeng', which is used to form terrace walls, while at the same time being oriented with their Ifugao culture and traditions.

In Gohang National High School in Banaue, Ifugao, a native nipa hut called "ca-am-amungan" is built as a training center for students.

Here, Ifugao skills are being taught to children, such as "munpaot" or wood carving, "mun-abol" or weaving, "dakdakan di daulon ya binibiyan" or stone tiling, and "hudhud" or chanting.

Ruben Bolibol remembers the time when he was 15 years old and taught the technique of 'topeng'.

Now that he is a culture bearer,     it is Bolibol's mission to educate young Ifugaos the ancient practice of 'topeng.'

--report by Micaella Ilao, ABS-CBN News