After training for one year under the Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program (ISMTP) at the Ifugao State University through its Center for the Ifugao Rice Terraces as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) seven graduates composing Batch 7 are conferred as Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) meisters .
The graduates produced research projects on the IRT system studies to address the current challenges of the rice terraces. These research projects are translated into extension projects that aid in economic sustainability and the professional development of both trainees and mentors.
Margarette Culdi worked on her research project entitled “Chawwa: A Local Government Initiative for a Sustainable Farming in Banaue” ; Jade Dulnuan focused her research on the “Production and Market Chain Analysis of Ifugao Metal Tools in Munggayang, Kiangan, Ifugao” while Leticia Lagayan researched on “Udi’n di Gangha: The Traditional Gong Smithery in Hingyon, Ifugao."
Four are ISMTP alumni who enhanced their previous research outputs and came up with tangible products through the advanced course of the program.
Stephanie Ayahao expanded her research “Inabol: Weaving Culture of Kiangan, Ifugao” and came up with the “Weaving Heritage Entrepreneurship and Education.”
Louiellen Hazel Batton, owner of the 7th Heaven’s Roasted Tinawon Rice Tea, expanded her previous research on “Heirloom Rice Brew Production using Earthen Jar and Vat” into the “Production of Heirloom Rice Tea for Heritage Tourism and Entrepreneurship.”
Grace Francisco, owner of Tarobean Ice cream by Gracia’s, also focused on the “Production of Taro-Bean Ice cream for Food Resource Conservation” while Marlyn Naliwan, owner of Mayoyao Native Rice Coffee, came up with a “Rice Coffee for Heritage Product Entrepreneurship.”
“You are hereby required to cascade your ISMTP education to your communities and materialize the research projects you have initiated and authored,” University President Eva Marie Codamon-Dugyon directed the seven meisters.
Dugyon shared that the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic tested the resilience of these trainees to pursue their purpose amidst the unprecedented hurdles.
“The usual face-to-face training modality, including skills training, seminars, and field exposure, ware turned online and digital. We maximized all virtual platforms to meet and learn. We resorted to digital resources to deliver the subjects that have to be taught. This molded us to be more persistent in protecting and learning our heritage, a manifestation that, like our ancestors, we are truly Ifugaos, brave and ingenious,” Dugyon said.
The hybrid graduation ceremony was held at the Multipurpose Hall, Ifugao State University-Main Campus on July 25, 2022.
Koji Nakamura, ISMTP Adviser and Professor Emeritus of Kanazawa University, Japan was happy with the successful implementation of the program despite the Covid-19 pandemic as he acknowledged the partner agencies for their strong support.
He challenged the graduates to publish their research outputs and integrate their research into the conservation of the Ifugao rice terraces as a globally important agricultural heritage system and as part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The ISMTP is a human resource development program that capacitates stakeholders of the IRT for its sustainable development. It is a training, development, and program that advocates lifelong learning for trainees who are committed to sustaining the IRT.
There are now more than 100 graduates of the training program. (JDP/FBR-PIA CAR, Ifugao)