A rainforest is an area of tall, mostly evergreen trees and a high amount of rainfall.
Rainforests are Earth's oldest living ecosystems, with some surviving in their present form for at least 70 million years.
Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.
Traditional Cultures are tribes or other small groups of people that have not been affected by technology or the modern world. These groups are most commonly found in remote areas that have little contact with the outside world.
Rainforest in Luzon
Rainforest in Luzon
The Luzon rain forests encompasses about 95,571 square kilometers (36,900 sq mi) out of the 109,965 sq kilometers (42,458 sq mi) of total area of the island of Luzon.
Luzon is the largest and northernmost major island of the Philippines, located in the western Pacific Ocean. The Batanes and Babuyan Islands to the north, Catanduanes and Polillo Islands to the east, and Marinduque to the southwest are considered a part of the Luzon rain forests ecoregion.
The Luzon montane rain forests ecoregion covers areas of the Sierra Madre, Zambales Mountains, and northern Cordillera Central above 1000 meters elevation. The Luzon tropical pine forests covers the central Cordillera Central above 1000 meters elevation.
The Igorots, which comprises numerous tribes in the northern part of the country, are mostly residing in the mountain ranges of the Cordillera Region. They are popularly known for being rice cultivators. An assortment of the group called the Ifugaos built the Banaue Rice Terraces – frequently called the ‘eighth wonder of the world’. The ancestors of this indigenous tribe carved a system of irrigated rice terraces in the mountains of Ifugao more than 2,000 years ago.
Filipino woman of Iugao mountain tribes in Banaue village, north Luzon, Philippines © Stephane Bidouze / Shutterstock
Igorot Tribes from the Northern Philippines
The Aetas (or Agta or Ayta) are one of the earliest known inhabitnats of the Philippines who are now living in scattered mountainous areas of the country. They were called by the Spanish colonizers as the ‘Negritos’ because of their dark to dark-brown skin. They are nomadic but are very skilled in weaving and plaiting, and Aeta women are considered experts in herbal medicine.
Today, the indigenous groups in the country remain in their original ancestral lands as they preserve their cultural practices and traditions. And while the Philippine government passed the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997, there are still issues left unsolved, including their right for inclusion.