Central North Luzon
Central North Luzon practically consists of the mountain range of the Philippine Cordillera. The region is mostly inhabited by minority tribes which until some decades ago used to conduct a fearfully savage lifestyle including the practice of head hunting (for details on the tribes, see chapter People).
In general, for the Spanish as well as for the US colonizers, central north Luzon was not a very interesting area for conquest. Not much economic benefit could have been expected as the terrain always was considered to have too many mountains.
However, US missionaries were not afraid of the terrain. Anyway, they found in the Cordillera an abundance of the raw material every missionary needs to practice his profession: pagans. Most of the mountain tribes in the Cordillera have meanwhile been christianized by US missionaries, to the contrary of the many minority tribes on Mindanao and Palawan which still have their animist religions.
Christianization by the US missionaries made the minority tribes of the Cordillera safe for visits by foreign tourists. The tribes primarily visited by tourists are the Ifugaos and the Bontocs, for rice terraces as well as to see the native or at least halfnative lifestyle still conducted in the tribes' villages.
However, even as religious practices are no longer a threat to outsiders traveling the Cordillera, political turmoil has created new hazards. Whereas before, economic exploitation was unimportant as a lowlander's motif for coming to the Cordillera, new technologies after WWII changed this situation. International mining companies as well as logging firms discovered in the last few decades the fortunes which could be made in the Cordillera. Often with unsound methods, the companies planning to exploit the Cordillera's natural resources got possession of wide ancestral areas of the mountain tribes who where all of a sudden deprived of the opportunity to conduct their lives in traditional ways. As one example may be cited the case of the Celophil company of Marcos crony Herminio Desini which held logging concessions for some 200,000 hectares (772sqmi) of forests and ancestral lands in the Cordillera. The concession was issued in 1972 for a supposed period of 25 years. Because of this government grant, the natives were declared illegal occupants of their ancestral lands and were prohibited free access to their communal forests. Celophil stopped operations in 1984.
Another project which was planned to be carried out with disregard to the interests of the mountain tribes was the construction of a dam on the Chico river for a hydroelectric power plant.
The sudden economic interventions in the Cordillera stirred dissatisfaction among the tribal people who therefore were very willing to join the NPA to fight for their interests. To stop the construction of the Chico dam, tribesmen in 17 affected communities took up arms. 8 dam workers and 9 military personnel were killed. After these events, the World bank withdrew support and the dam construction did not extend beyond some preliminary works.
The forces of the rebellious movement were split after Cory Aquino came to power. The most charismatic among the rebel leaders, the priest Conrado Balweg opted for a negotiated solution to the problems of the Cordillera people, and left the NPA together with many of his followers. Balweg thereafter created his own organization, the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army in April, 1986. Some two month later, on June 21, 1986, Balweg and his group were ambushed by the NPA near Licauan, Abra province but he was not killed. Balweg thereafter participated in several negotiations with the Aquino administration for the creation of an autonomous Cordillera region within the Philippine state.
Whereas the Balweg group has not undertaken armed action against the government anymore since Cory Aquino came to power, the still much larger NPA in the Cordillera does continue ambushes and raids.
The US Peace Corps in the early part of 1988 withdrew four workers from Sagada, Mountain province, for their safety from the NPA. Also in Sagada, 9 government troopers were killed in an NPA ambush June 13, 1988.
Manila Bulletin, Thur.June 20, 1991 (Banaue, Ifugao Article by Juan B. Dait Jr.)
"The chief executive of this resort town has appealed to the national government for immediate financial assistance in the rehabilitation of many damaged irrigation systems which sustain the Ifugao rice terraces.
At the same time, Mayor Abriol Chulipa said tourism will be greatly affected if one of The Country 's major tourist attraction is neglected.
Chulipa said that a number of rice terraces farmers have abandoned the cultivation of the rice terraces due to lack of water. The irrigation canals were heavily damaged during the July 16 killer earthquake.
One of these, he said is the ancient irrigation system in Barangay Bangaan. It has remained unrepaired resulting in the drying up of several hectares of mountain ricelands.
The mayor said many rice terraces farmers have turned to other pursuits for their livelihood. Several farmers have gone to the goldmines in Benguet and others have found work in infrastructure projects.
Oscar Fuentes, manager of the Banaue Hotel, said that if the rice terraces are abandoned by the farmers, tourism in this area would decline and adversely affect the economy of the people. Those who are not farmers rely mainly on tourismrelated industries such as woodcarving, weaving and basketry.
The Banaue rice terraces, one of The Country 's major tourist attractions, were declared as national treasures by then President Marcos.
Chulipa lamented that the national government has not done anything to help the local farmers here nor in maintaining the terraces."
I have been using yohimbe (the bark) and yohimbine (the pharmaceutical extract) from the mid-90s, and it has changed my life.
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