Project Report on the Climate Vulnerability Assessment of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

Click here to download the Report

This Ifugao-led study is a climate vulnerability assessment of the rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The assessment establishes why local communities value the terraces, and how these values, deeply rooted in indigenous knowledge, are impacted by climate change. The end goal is for communities to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity as they position to preserve and protect their cultural heritage.

Data was gathered by several focus group discussions among farmers in Nagacadan Hungduan, Mayoyao, Bangaan and Batad. This approach ensures the collection of critical data that truly reflects the lived experiences and needs of the indigenous Ifugao people. The assessment utilizes modern climate science and indigenous knowledge, as both realms of understanding are complementary and necessary to address the climate crisis more effectively.

The Ifugao Rice Terraces confront a web of climate challenges such as intensified typhoons, erratic precipitation patterns, prolonged droughts and increasing temperatures, which pose imminent risk of soil erosion, reduced crop yield or crop loss, landslides, and structural damage to the terraces. This threatens their ecological integrity, agricultural productivity, amplifies existing vulnerabilities, and can jeopardize the sustainability of this cultural landscape.

Heritage Conservation Transcending Green Building and Climate Action

On November 10, 2023 the Philippine Green Building Initiative (PGBI) held a conference entitled “Beyond Green: Transcending Green Summit.” 

Ar. Giuseppe Luigi Hernandez Abcede introduced the first cluster of speakers. ICOMOS Focal Point to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), L. Ar. Gabriel Victor Caballero gave a brief overview on what entails sustainable practices. He focused on design and planning— whether it was in heritage conservation practices, local culture, compliance to Sustainable Development Goals, or in circular economies such as furniture design.

Representing PIID, ICOMOS, HCS (the 1st cluster of speakers) respectively. IDr. Lilia De Jesus,  IDr. Willie Garcia, Ar. Michaela Rosette Santos-Tayag,  L. Ar. Gabriel Victor Caballero, EnP. Denise Lagrosa, Ar. Giuseppe Luigi Hernandez Abcede, Ar. Dinky von Einsiedel

En. P. Denise Lagrosa remarked, “The conference was well represented by professionals who are practicing energy efficiency, sustainability, green design, heritage and culturally sensitive methods from the engineers, architects, urban planners, cultural heritage professional, master plumbers, air-conditioning systems specialists, and fire protection, among others.”

Dr. Cheek Fadriquela, ICOMOS President, delivering remarks during summit

Along with ICOMOS Member L. Ar. Gabriel Victor Caballero, Ar. Giuseppe Luigi Hernandez Abcede and En. P. Denise Lagrosa, Ar. Michaela Rosette Santos-Tayag (long-time member of PGBI) and Ar. Michael Angelo Liwanag, ICOMOS Ph’s /representative to the Philippine Green Building Initiative, were also in attendance.

ICOMOS Philippines is a partner and fellow organizer with PGBI for the Beyond Green summit.

For more information on PGBI’s event 👉www.greenbuilding.ph

New Book on World Heritage Sites in the Philippines by Augusto F. Villalon

Living Landscapes and Cultural Landmarks: World Heritage Sites in the Philippines by Augusto F. Villalon,
Photographs by Neal M. Oshima,
Publisher: ArtPostAsia Pte. Ltd, Manila, the Philippines

This attractive book is the first publication to present all five World Heritage properties located in the Philippines in a single volume. Widely acknowledged by the international scientific community as a “biodiversity hotspot”, the Philippines hosts an astoundingly rich and varied network of terrestrial and marine life. Moreover, the distinctive blend of Eastern and Western architectural principles and technology that has evolved in the Philippines has given rise to sites of outstanding aesthetic and cultural values. For example, the Rice Terraces Cultural Landscape of the Philippine Cordilleras, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1995, has been shaped by traditional know-how handed down from successive generations. Furthermore, these magnificent rice terraces provide an exquisite setting for the traditional Hudhud chants of the local Ifugao people, which were recognized in 2001 by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Consequently, this unique yet fragile cultural landscape has come down through the ages as a testimony to the harmonious balance between heritage of humankind – both tangible and intangible – and the environment.

This publication received financial support from the World Heritage Fund. It was launched at UNESCO Headquarters in June 2007 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the adoption of the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. UNESCO considers that such activities contribute positively to the ongoing debates on the many issues and challenges concerning the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in developing countries.