The gods are angry. In this case, it is the Filipino conservationists versus professional wakeskater Brian Grubb who claimed he was able to conquer the Banaue Rice Terraces because he had been given permission no less than by the tribal leaders guarding it.
"The native people here, the Tuwali tribe are kind of governed by the Mumbaki priest. And when we got here, we had to get their permission just to ride on the rice terraces. So they invited us to their spot and they gave us the permission at the end of the ceremony that we could ride on their rice terraces," Mr Grubb said in the video.
Teddy Baguilat, Ifugao representative, said on Tuesday he will call for an investigation as to how the event organisers were specifically able to convince the locals to push through with the wake skating activities.
"I will call an investigation on how the event was allowed," he said.
"We will have to find out if there will be no endangerment of lives as well as the structure and the impact on agriculture," Mr Baguilat added.
"Respect for the environment was a priority from the beginning of this project!" Red Bull, the event sponsor responsible for bringing American Mr Grubb and German Dominik Preisner, said in a statement attached to the video.
Video Source: Youtube/redbull
The 2,000-year-old ancient Banaue rice terraces in the Philippines holds the distinction as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1995. It is located north of Manila, high in the Philippines' Cordilleras region. The maze of rice fields serves as the source of food and livelihood of the Ifugao indigenous people.
Notwithstanding its honour, the site however was listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger for several years due to the "uncontrolled tourism and the introduction of open-market economy threatened both the natural heritage of the province and the traditional practices of its inhabitants."
Joycelyn Mananghaya, heritage conservation architect, blasted Red Bull, noting the latter seemed to have forgotten that the terraced paddies were carved out on the slopes of the Ifugao mountain "for the prime purpose of planting rice," not for wakeskating.
"If the intent is to attract tourists and assist in improving the economic conditions of the people, it remains as an activity that is grossly out of place and if encouraged and continues will significantly remove from it the values by which the site has been inscribed in the world heritage list,'' Ms Mananghaya said.
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