Rice terraces to reopen to tourists in December if Banaue hits herd immunity | Inquirer News

Rice terraces to reopen to tourists in December if Banaue hits herd immunity

/ 04:40 AM November 29, 2021

MOST PHOTOGRAPHED: Most of the rice terraces postcards taken as far back as the 1960s are those from the village of Batad in Banaue, Ifugao, such as this photo taken in 2013. Some of the terraces’ reinforcing mud walls have given way over the centuries but residents found time to make repairs during the pandemic. (Photo by EV ESPIRITU / Inquirer Northern Luzon)

BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — The Banaue rice terraces of Ifugao may reopen gradually to leisure travel in the middle of December as the government ramps up vaccinations to finally bring this small town’s economy back on track, Mayor John Wesley Dulawan said on Saturday.

Banaue is predominantly a tourist town where 98 percent of businesses rely on visitors, Dulawan said.


Many residents have converted idle terraces into vegetable gardens in order to cope with two years of the pandemic. Other neighborhoods repaired damaged terraces during the quarantines.

The Banaue government has yet to quantify the losses borne by small businesses, like accommodation facilities and crafts makers, in two years of quarantines, said Dulawan, a physician, on the sidelines of a Cordillera weaving exhibit held at the Department of Tourism Cordillera office in Baguio.


But a soft opening will be contingent upon Banaue town achieving herd immunity before Dec. 10, when the municipal government is scheduled to assess its health and vaccination status, Dulawan said.

To date, over 40 percent of Banaue’s residents have received one dose while over 30 percent have been fully vaccinated.

Ideal numbers

“The preference is for 70 percent [of Banaue’s population of 20,652 as of the 2020 census] to be fully vaccinated,” before the municipality allows up to 200 guests each week to again tour the most photographed terraces in Ifugao, the mayor said.

However, the government may consider a “pilot reopening” even if 70 percent represents people who have received at least one jab. “Ideally one injection gives you protection of about 67 percent,” Dulawan said.

The Bangaan and Batad terraces of Banaue form part of the collective Ifugao rice terraces that have been declared a world heritage site. The terraces, which were carved out of the mountains centuries ago, are renowned for their indigenous yet sophisticated irrigation and water recycling systems.

In 2019, Ifugao drew most of the Cordillera’s foreign tourists who trekked to Banaue, the terraces in the municipalities of Mayoyao and Hungduan, and Nagacadan rice terraces in Kiangan town.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Banaue Rice Terraces, COVID-19 travel restrictions, covid-19 vaccination, Ifugao tourism
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

News that matters

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.