via Philippine Inquirer, 28 May 2020: Profile on Prof. Stephen Acabado whose research on the Ifugao Rice Terraces reveal they were made around 500 years ago, probably as a response to Spanish colonization, rather than 2,000 years ago.
“We need to break the myth. The important first step is to work with descendant communities, an approach we call community archaeology. This is what we are doing in Ifugao that has contributed to the emergence of Indigenous archaeology,” Acabado says.
Acabado emphasizes that claiming that the Ifugao Rice Terraces as ancient is a caricature of the un-colonized, isolated peoples and “original Filipinos.” This colonial perspective depicts not only the Ifugao and the rest of upland Filipinos as unchanging and backward.
According to Acabado, echoing his Ifugao collaborator, Marlon Martin, “The Ifugaos never said the terraces are 2,000 years old. Wasn’t it people from the academe who said that? Now you ask me how I feel now that the terraces are proven to be only about 500 years old. Maybe I should ask you, academics, how do you feel?”
In The Short History of the Ifugao Rice Terraces: A Local Response to the Spanish Conquest published by the Journal Field of Archeology, Fray Juan Molano described rice terracing tradition of the Ifugao in 1801. Contacts with the Ifugao were recorded as early as the early 1700.