‘Wakeskating’ questioned-A A +A
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
MIGHT they have angered the gods?
Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat is calling for an investigation over recent wake skating activities at the sacred rice terraces of Banaue.
"I will call an investigation on how the event was allowed," he said.
Videos of professional wakeskaters Brian Grubb of the United States and Dominik Preisner of Germany have gone viral and have been a trending topic in social media as well as broadsheets all over the world shown skimming on the waters of the century's old Banaue Rice Terraces.
Baguilat surmised from the video, since the event was backed by a popular power drink, Department of Tourism approval was sought. "[And] according to the video, the farmers gave their permission," he said.
However, Baguilat is concerned if the event organizer consulted the community and if consent was given by the council of elders as well as other groups. "Was there ever a discussion with the community?" he asked.
Wakeskating is similar to the popular water sport wakeboarding but users are not bound to the board.
Grubb was quoted in the video, "It's just a wakeskate paradise but no one even knew it was here."
Baguilat said after the investigation, a study whether water skating is viable for the Ifugao Rice Terraces will follow.
"We will have to find out if there will be no endangerment of lives as well as the structure and the impact on agriculture," Baguilat said.
He explained the terraces were created for food production and all other uses are secondary and must be appropriate to the ecosystem of the terraces.
The Banaue Rice Terraces or the Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe is a 2,000-year-old structure carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the indigenous people.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has put the structure in the endangered heritage site because of its rapid deterioration.
The rice terraces use an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said if the steps were put end to end, it would encircle half the globe.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 30, 2013.