My friend Ester Dipasupilwho once edited the Lifestyle section of Manila Standard before moving to the Philippine Daily Inquirer is now a book writer and editor.
Last Monday, Nov. 12, she launched A Banaue Story: Restoring a World Heritage Treasure,” a coffee table book on the restoration of the world-famous rice terraces of Ifugao province, at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati City.
The 265-page book is a testimony to the efforts of local farming communities in the province and the dedication of advocates in the preservation of the age-old architectural wonder often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, but which now faces alarming problems of degradation, neglect, and abandonment.
Apart from contributions from prominent personalities in the academe, the book, edited by the former Philippine Daily Inquirer editor, is replete with spectacular photographs of the terraces -- declared a world heritage site by UNESCO-- taken from all angles by renowned photographers like Eduardo Masferre, John Chua, and George Tapan, among others.
It also includes documentation and on-site step-by-step procedures on the current restoration efforts being undertaken by volunteers from the villages as well as soldiers of the Philippine Army, with the support of businesswoman and cultural heritage stalwart Dr. Milagros O. How, president and CEO of Universal Harvester, Inc.
The book ends with an appeal not only to stakeholders but Filipinos from all over as well to help save the terraces in ways they know best, before this beloved cultural icon vanishes completely from the landscape.