Ifugao province’s Banaue rice terraces is eyeing opening its doors to tourists once more in mid-December as the government accelerates vaccinations.
The town’s soft opening is dependent on Banaue achieving herd immunity before Dec. 10, which is when the municipal government will evaluate its health and vaccination status.
As of writing, more than 40% of residents have gotten one dose while more than 30% are fully vaccinated.
Banaue Mayor John Wesley Dulawan said that the ideal target population for vaccination is 70%, or 20,652 persons as of the 2020 census. However, a “pilot opening” may be allowed if 70% represents people who have gotten at least one dose.
Dulawan, also a physician, said: “Ideally one injection gives you protection of about 67%.”
Ninety-eight percent of businesses in the region rely on tourist activities. Because of lockdowns, residents have turned their terraces into vegetable gardens. Meanwhile, other neighborhoods took the time to repair damaged terraces.
The Bangaad and Batad terraces of Banaue are part of the collective Ifugao rice terraces, which have been declared as a world heritage site. Having been carved out of the mountains hundreds of years ago, the terraces are known the world over for their indigenous but innovative method of irrigation and water recycling.
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