The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), the builder of tourism infrastructures, targets to start the rehabilitation of the Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site, as well as the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel, a TIEZA-owned property, by the end of the year.
Through the concerted efforts of TIEZA, House of Representatives Committee on Tourism Chairperson Cong. Lucy Torres-Gomez, and Municipality of Banaue Mayor Jerry Dalipog, a total of Php 71 million was allotted in the General Appropriations Act (FY 2018) for the rehabilitation and restoration of the collapsed terraced walls of the famed Banaue Rice Terraces. Among the country’s National Cultural Treasures, the Banaue Rice Terraces were built by the Ifugaos by hand some 2,000 years ago. Most recently, the Municipality of Banaue reported that there are more than 500 hectares or 33.6% of the Banaue Rice Terraces that have been damaged, eroded, or abandoned over time. TIEZA will facilitate the strengthening of stonewalls and improvement the trekking trails of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in the said rehabilitation project. TIEZA is also closely coordinating with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Museum (NM) as all share the mandate to conserve, preserve, and protect Filipino historical and cultural heritage and resources.
Parallel to the rehabilitation of the Banaue Rice Terraces, TIEZA approved the rehabilitation of its key operating assets, one of which is the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel (BHYH). Located in the heart of the Banaue Rice Terraces, the BHYH was the first hotel in Ifugao. The 5.3-hectare hotel was acquired by TIEZA (then Philippine Tourism Authority) in 1977 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1172. Over the years, the original structure of the hotel had been expanded and to date, has two wings. The hotel now features 81 rooms and a magnificent view of the Banaue Rice Terraces. The hotel is also known for its cultural entertainment which gives a glimpse of the Ifugao heritage. Although tourists continue to flock the hotel, it is in great need of rehabilitation considering that there have been no major rehabilitation for almost a decade now.
One of the Five Pillars of TIEZA under the administration of Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas is building targeted tourism infrastructure through the Project D.R.E.A.M.S. thrust, “Destination, Restoration, Eco sustainability, Agritourism, Medical Assistance, and Security and Accessibility.” TIEZA prioritizes the construction of tourism infrastructure projects of national interest and significance and brings development to areas with high cultural, religious, heritage, and eco-tourism values. TIEZA and its projects are solely funded through 50% of the total travel tax collection.