The Cordillera Region is a large mountainous region in the North of the Philippines and a long standing stronghold for various indigenous groups, including the more well known Igorot people. Over the centuries they have largely been left happily to live their traditional lives whilst world wars and an increasingly westernising society haven’t displaced them. However, with a new dictatorship and an increasingly corrupt government, they’re now under threat more than ever!
The region is famed for the traditional Banaue Rice Terraces that were carved into the mountains of Banaue by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The terraces are occasionally called the “Eighth Wonder of the World!
We came across this cause via an organiation we’ve worked with for many years, Land is Life. We trust and admire their tenacity and professionalism, working with various indigenous groups around the world.
Due to the political situation and the delicate balance that has to be played with indigenous groups, Land is Life works with a local organisation called the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and it is this group that we are helping.
CPA is one of Land is Life’s closest partners — I would call them our most important partner in Asia. They run on a shoestring budget and serve and represent so many communities in the northern Philippines. They are arguably the most important Indigenous organization in the Philippines.
The protection of indigenous groups I feel is incredibly important. As humans, we look back on our history and culture proudly and yet in so many cases we regret the way we have treated races and cultures that have been wiped out by colonialism, colonisation and slavery. The few indigenous groups around the world that remain still suffer greatly from various factors including climate change, but in this case, their own Government, who should be protecting them as part of national heritage.