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Photographer's Note

One of the elder Igorot women posing for pictures at a rice terraces view point for a fee, Banaue, Ifugao, January 2007.

The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Northern Cordilleras of the Philippines is one of the UNESCO heritage sites identified in the Philippines. The terraces are a 3,000 year old technology wherein miles and miles of mountains (up to 3,000 meters high above sea level) are constantly being converted into rice growing terraces. Sadly, while the technology is still being implemented, less and less young people are interested in this kind of hard life (converting mountains to terraces and maintaining them). And what more, many young people don't want to be reduced as curiosity for tourists.

But, these women serve their purpose. Less and less young people are interested in wearing traditional costumes and these women, for tourism sake, are preserving the tradition. In fact, in Banaue, Ifugao, you seldom see people wearing traditional costume in their everyday lives (compared to, for example in Bontoc, Mt. Province, the province next to Ifugao, where you can still see people going about their everyday lives in traditional costume but they don't want to be photographed). So it is really a balance of one's belief. If you don't like this kind of 'exploitation', then don't patronize and take their photographs. If you want to take their pictures, give them a few pesos for their efforts :-).

Converted to sepia by the curves method in Photoshop CS3.

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Additional Photos by Ken Ilio (flip89) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 537 W: 173 N: 576] (3418)
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