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MOUNTAINS OF WATER: The Terraces and Traditions of the Ifugao

The Ifugao people come from the Cordillera mountains of northern Philippines. Through thousands of years, they designed, built and maintained the Ifugao Rice Terraces. These are one of the living wonders of the world, a World Heritage Site. Like giant shimmering steps stretching out as far as the eye can see, these pondfields of the Ifugao have been called the greatest agricultural achievement in human history. This skin of water and stone blankets the steep mountain slopes of the Cordillera to heights of five thousand feet. If placed end to end, it is estimated that these would reach halfway around the world. In terms of engineering and sheer scale, there are no other terraced rice cultivation areas in the world that can compare with the Ifugao terraces.


Who are the Ifugao? Who are these people who believe in a pantheon of gods and spirits that hold sway over their mountain world? Just how did they carve out these pondfields and develop the technology needed to cultivate rice, sustainably and organically, in such a hostile environment, and maintain all of it for thousands of years?


Discover a people who, centuries ago, showed highly-advanced engineering skills and an intimate knowledge of their environment. A people whose skills in resource management, intercropping and sustainable agriculture draw admiration, even today, from experts all over the world.


This documentary features two of the three remaining mumbaki or shamans, and glimpses of their rituals from the Ifugao barrio of Amganad. Listen to the women chant the hudhud as they harvest the rice. Watch weavers, woodcarvers and other traditional artists who remain faithful to the old ways. Learn about the Ifugao, a people being changed by time.

Director and Cameraman:   Fruto Corre
Writer and Researcher: Nancy Pe Rodrigo
Editors: Nonoy Dadivas and Bianca Gonzales
Script translated into English by: Benilda S. Santos
English script edited by: Raul Rodrigo, An Mercado-Alcantara
     and Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan

Narrators: Irma Adlawan-Marasigan and Pen Medina
Executive Producer: Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan and The Bookmark, Inc.
Total Running Time:   45 minutes, 17 seconds