If there is something that Filipino citizens are incredibly proud of, it is their cultural heritage and their breathtaking tourist destinations. One of the most popular among the different world-class spots is the Banaue Rice Terraces located in the mountainous Cordillera region.
The world was struck in awe over the beauty of the thousand-years-old man-made rice terraces including the travel guide Lonely Planet. However, yesterday, the travel website is in hot water after they published a video that claimed the Chinese built the famous tourist spot.
In the video released by the Lonely Planet was a feature on the “world’s greenest places.” It claimed that “these mud-walled terraces were first built around 2000 years ago by the Chinese.” Since netizens took notice of the video and the inaccuracy in its content, the company has taken it down from its Facebook page. Nonetheless, screenshots were still taken by users.
As expected, Filipino fumed with what they call was a “lie” and “an attempt to credit everything to the Chinese.” A Twitter user schooled the travel guide company with some Philippine history.
“The earliest recorded Chinese contact to the Philippines was in 982 AD. The Banaue Rice Terraces was built by Filipino indigenous people 2000 years ago. Get your facts straight.”
Following the post of Jose Ruperto Martir, which is the first time that the inaccurate content was noticed, Lonely Planet thanked the poster and said that they would take a look into it.
“Thank you for flagging this; we’ll share this with our editors who’ll take a further look into it. We’ll share updates/action points on this thread.”
Nonetheless, many Filipinos were disappointed by the mishap. A user replied to the post made by Lonely Planet in response to the post of Martir said:
“I have been watching Lonely Planet (fave host: Ian Wright) since I was a kid with my family. This is an utter disappointment!”
She also raised the concern of misinformation and the idea that it may also have happened in the past – creating a dent to the reputation of the company.
“I’m worried about the misinformation you may have made in the past. What were your sources that states the Chinese built our gorgeous Banaue Rice Terraces?”
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the terraces are an “outstanding example of an evolved, living cultural landscape that can be traced as far back as two millennia ago in the pre-colonial Philippines.
Filipinos are well aware of this fact as it is one of the most basic lessons Filipino children learn in school. That is why many netizens questioned the Lonely Planet for the source of their claims.
“There are rice terraces in China. Maybe they mistook them as one and the same? Fact check fails,” a Twitter user said.
“You’ve got an error in your research studies,” another one added.
The UNESCO’s website reveals that the Banaue Rice Terraces, dubbed as the “Eighth Wonder of The World” were “all the product of the Ifugao ethnic group, a minority community that has occupied these mountains for thousands of years.”
“The Ifugao Rice Terraces are the priceless contribution of Philippine ancestors to humanity. Built 2000 years ago and passed on from generation to generation, the Ifugao Rice Terraces represent an enduring illustration of an ancient civilization that surpassed various challenges and setbacks posed by modernization,” UNESCO further noted.
Amid the faux pas and the taking down of the inaccurate video, netizen’s eagle eyes were still able to spot the same inaccurate information in Lonely Planet’s website. On its website, Lonely Planet wrote of the rice terraces: “World Heritage listed, they’re impressive not only for their chiseled beauty but because they were introduced around 2000 years ago by the Chinese.”
The page is still up as of writing.
Because of the disappointment caused by the website and the video from Lonely Planet, netizens from the Philippines demanded an apology to the Ifugao people. They have also sought the help of the current Secretary of the Department of Tourism to respond to Lonely Planet’s inaccurate statements and misrepresentation of Filipino cultural heritage. /apr