SM restoring Rice Terraces Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Manila Standard by Dexter A. See
Banaue — Retail giant SM has signed up with the Cordillera Heritage Weekend Warrior Caravan Run to restore the famous rice terraces in Ifugao province, which were recently delisted as a World Heritage.
The advocacy is organized by the Philippine Tour Operators Association and photographer John Chua together with Canon Philippines and other corporate volunteers called “weekend warriors.”
Working at the side in Batad with other conservationists were assistant program director Nona Reyes, of SM Cares-Yes Tourism committee joined by SM Baguio manager Marc Janssen Pe, and SM Baguio public relations manager Karren Padilla.
“The growing corporate social responsibility projects being done by various corporations in the rice terraces areas has greatly helped in awakening the Ifugao youth to work for the preservation and protection of our identified heritage sites,” Gov. Eugene Balitang told Manila Standard after receiving commitments from multinational firms to help maintain the 2,000-year old scenic wonder.
Farm tools and other equipment were turned over by the SM Prime Holdings team to the local government.
Padilla said this is the second time that SM joined the movement, with Chua being a long-time corporate partner starting with the company’s project for people with disabilities, among other programs.
“We believe heritage sites can help spur tourism,” Reyes said, adding that Ifugao remains an eco-tourism destination continuing to attract visitors.
Philtoa will feature UNESCO World Heritage Sites at the 23rd Philippine Travel Mart on Aug. 10 to 12 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Earlier, the Laguna-based Toshiba Electronics adopted portions of the Batad rice terraces and donated funds and farming equipment to improve yields of “tinawon” and sustain native rice production as the major source of income of tribal communities.