Sagada Rice Terraces

The relationship between humans and their environment is love in its purest form – harmonic, beautiful, and sustainable. For thousands of years, man has cultivated marvelous terraces contouring the mountains of the Philippines’ North. Fields that witnessed humble beginnings of farmers that used their hands in providing for their families, hands that tilled the soil, planted the seeds of the harvest that they have reaped up to this point.

A story of love and survival.

As I sit back on my desk, recalling that memory when I stood there on the parallel mountain slope, under the shadows of the magnificent pine trees, I remembered the woman who was passing through the vast, green field. She was a farmer, a hardworking farmer, and a carer of the architectural wonder that was before me.

On that day when the cold wind caressed me, all I could think of was the natural staircase and its partner, that woman whom I never had the chance to meet. But it’s not just her, it is everyone who kept nourishing the terraces’ soil.

In a place where the heavens shine on the masterpiece of our forefathers, love is what keeps it alive – its people, its produce, its rich culture.

Just like in relationships, when a person loves, he loves deeply – getting to know every imperfection, every good character, every exciting thing about someone, enough to blur the external reality and just focus on his pursuit to win her heart.

Man and his environment does not differ at all with that thing called “love.”

It seems clear to me that life is so simple that every single thing can be explained with all out simplicity – even the most complex of all, the root of our emotional bliss and turmoil, love, its beginnings and unpredictable end, can be observed in nature.

Nature, the very thing that most people failed to recognize, most people failed to love, extends its unconditional love to all of us by providing the air that we breathe and the food that we eat. Nature keeps us alive, and yet, its love to us is unrequited.

I express my admiration to the people in the highlands, particularly those in Sagada rice terraces, whose relationship with Mother Earth has been mutual. A relationship so strong that when one fails to do his part in loving, the unloved will wither and so will the people inhabiting it.

Love, in the context of environmental protection, should be sustained. For without it, everything that is worth loving in this world will slowly die, nature and then man.

Let’s Do It Philippines, let’s love.

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