Monday, 2 August 2010

Rice Terraces, Philippines

Doesn't this look deliciously damp, the rice terraces are irrigated by mountain streams and springs. The people in the front are well wrapped up despite the sandals which I imagine are just the right footwear for paddling amongst the rice. These 2,000 year old terraces were carved into the rugged terrain of the Cordillera mountains by the indigenous people of Ifugao. In recent times some have been abandoned because of earthquake damage in 1990 and the El Nino triggered drought when giant earthworms undermined some of the terraces. This particular rice is low yield so some farmers have moved to lower ground and high yield crop to make more money.  Despite this there are still many of these beautiful structures still in existence and they were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

On the reverse of the card

it gives more information and, as can be seen,  my sender has drawn some beautiful roses so I have his greeting from the 7,107 islands of the Philippines and pictures.

The stamps are the new 2010 definitives featuring marine biodiversity. From left to right we have
  • Yellow Seahorse - the largest of the seahorses, sometimes kept in aquariums but usually on their own because they are rather slow and methodical eaters so there would be no food left for them if kept with other species of fish
  • Giant Clam - sometimes known as the crocus clam and considered beautiful because they come in different and sometimes mixed colours, the upper mantle tissues can also vary in stripes, spots, waves etc.
  • Lionfish - There are 22 different species of this beautiful predatory and poisonous fish.  It is part of the natural ecosystem in Asia but I remember seeing a program about how it  has become an invasive species in the Caribbean where it appeared in about 2004 from, it is thought, from being washed out of marine aquariums in the USA after storms.  It has no natural enemies in the Atlantic so it is busy eating its way through the coral inhabitants of the Caribbean.  
 The Philippines islands is one side of the Coral Triangle, so called because of the abundance of coral life which their new definitives embody. Here is a satellite map of the location of Banaue and the sea surrounding the island.

View Larger Map

This card travelled for 11 days and 6,966 miles (11,210Km). 
Thank you Redlan

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