Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ancient Rice Terraces, Philippines

The Banaue Rice Terraces do not have recorded data on how it was conceived in history and that historical account of China before the Shang Dynasty is disputable however historical studies and evidence have linked the terraces to the Miao tribe that thrived in China. Emperor Yu the great launched a siege to eliminate the Miao tribe who rebelled against him from 2205 to 2106 BC. The survivors of the Miao tribe fled to the south where some of them crossed the South China Sea. A few of these survivors reached the Cordilleras. The Miao tribe who were one of the official group minorities recognized in mainland China, they lived in cold wet mountain regions which made the Cordillera Mountains an easy transition from what they were used to in the mountainous southwestern region of China. Chinese features are also clearly seen in the natives of Northern Luzon. Similarly, the rituals and traditions of the Igorots and Ifugaos also show a significant resemblance to Miao culture.

The Miao are also known for cultivating terraced paddy fields and this innovation was brought to the Cordilleras, along with the influence of Tang Dynasty trading were also adapted, carabaos, fruits such as mandarin oranges, vegetables, utenxils, pottery and handicraft. The Banaue Rice Terraces became prevalent with the Miao interaction with ethnic cultures of the Cordilleras before the advent and arrival of the Spanish Inquisition. This acculturation of the two cultures took on a new identity in a different environment which links us to the first records in history of the terraces.

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