SENATOR Loren Legarda wants to bring back thatched cogon roofs for the houses surrounding the Bangaan Rice Terraces.
During her visit to Lagawe, Ifugao, on the province’s foundation day, Legarda was informed that galvanized roofing sheets were used for the house as part of the restoration efforts for the famous terraces.
Legarda said the traditional cogon should have been used instead.
“Mas maganda ang cogon at hindi yero,” she said.
Legarda said she had wanted to go the villages near the terraces but changed her mind after being told the roofs of the houses there were not made of indigenous materials.
“I will come if the roofs are made into cogon,” she said.
The senator said the authentic Ifugao house she built in her farm in Batangas has a cogon roof.
“I do not have an aircon or electric fan inside them and I sleep on the floor,” she said.
Legarda said her understanding was that the P2.9 million funding for restoration of the houses specified the use of cogon.
Banaue Mayor Gerry Dalipog said his office will work to replace the roofing sheets with cogon.
Tourism has become one of the leading income earners for Ifugao, with the rice terraces in Batad, Bangaan, Nagadacan, Mayoyao and Hapao being the main attractions.
Legarda stressed the importance of nurturing the region’s cultural heritage.
“Ifugaos are blessed to be the custodians of the Hudhud Chants, one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and the Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” she said.
“These are a testament to your rich story as a people. Be proud of these treasures. I urge all Ifugaos to be environmental champions and heritage warriors,” Legarda said. Maria Elena Catajan