Genuine Ifugao man from the rice terraces in the Northern Philippines
The Ifugao are a well known tribe in the Northern Philippines. While many pose for touristic photographs I ventured down into the famous rice terraces in Batad to meet this amazing man. A genuine Ifugao tribesman working the terraces.
Facts about the Ifugao:
The story behind this photograph
I nearly ran from the collection of “Ifugao” dressed in traditional outfits looking for money for photographs. While I understand this income from tourism provides them with benefits, it was not for me at this time.
Taking a photograph of a person dressed up in traditional dress, only to see them take it off at the end of the day and don regular clothes simply doesn’t do it for me.
More interested in seeing and hopefully meeting some genuine Ifugao I climbed down into a valley of rice terraces. Each terrace had a paddy filled with lush green rice stalks and about a foot of water that the rice was growing through. It meant traversing the stone walls around each terrace to move ahead.
It was here I met this man. Standing firm with a tall wooden pole he stared at the trespasser. I nodded a wave, and he nodded back. I thought he would not let anyone pass. Instead he stood aside and clearly indicated permission to move through his terrace.
I passed, and said thank you both in English and Tagalog “Salamat”.
He spoke perfect English. And, even recalled it had been a long time since he’d spoken it. He could remember the “Joe’s”, or American GI’s when they were based nearby and had been educated by an American teacher when he was a boy.
This Ifugao rice terrace worker was one of the most interesting people I met in The Philippines. He had no qualms, pretense nor prejudice. A man proud in stature, occupation and history.
A genuine Ifugao man who made a far more lasting impression than his commercialized fellow tribesmen.
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