What I think of “Wakeskating” at the Banaue Rice Terraces

For the context, click here and here.

Just one clarificatory note: Some of those opposed to the stunt cite the “fact” that the Banaue Rice Terraces is a World Heritage Site.  Actually it’s not.  It was specifically excluded by the UNESCO from the list because of the proliferation of modern structures. What’s included in the World Heritage list are rice terraces of Batad, Bangaan, Mayoyao, Hungduan and Nagacadan.

HAVING said that, I still maintain that doing this type of activity in any type of agricultural land is irresponsible and inappropriate, regardless of whatever “permission” they got from the local government or tribal leaders.  (As we’ve seen in countless cases in this country, local leaders are grossly short-sighted in matters of tourism.)  In the video, the “wakeskaters” can be seen doing their dangerous stunts in very close proximity to farmers planting rice.  It seems that they intentionally endangered people just for the purpose of getting a dramatic shot.

Brian Grubb, one of the two assholes people who did the stunt, even had this to say:

“I noticed that on the back of the bills here, you could see all these rice terraces and tonnes of water, … It’s just a wakeskate paradise but no one even knew it was here.”

[Actually, Mr. Grubb, they’re not a “wakeskate paradise”.  They are something we call “rice farms”, which – believe it or not – require tonnes of water to work.  And we’ve always known they were there.  Because, you know, we’re an agricultural country and we eat rice with everything.]

Can you imagine what kind of trend this will set if this catches on?  I don’t believe we should be so desperate to attract tourism that we’d be willing to get even the wrong and grossly inappropriate kind.

2 thoughts on “What I think of “Wakeskating” at the Banaue Rice Terraces

  1. hi Luis! Very well said. Akala ko ako lang ang may sentimyento na mali ang ginawa nila kasi halos lahat sa PTB ay nag-agree dun sa video. haha. But even if my stand was the unpopular one, I still hold firm to what I believe in. This shouldn’t have been done at the Terraces. Show-off lang. They’re not promoting tourism but RedBull (the sponsor). That’s the reason why there are farmers in the video. They’re planting a Redbull logo and name. Cinematography-wise (I used to work in a multimedia company) it was nice to watch but the context of it being done sa rice paddies—that’s totally inappropriate!

    • I’m honestly surprised that we’re in the minority opinion. Maybe I’d understand if those who see this favorably have never really travelled to Banaue. But it’s really disappointing to see how many well-traveled and otherwise sensible people would see this as something positive. I would have thought that Filipino travel bloggers, of all people, would have a greater appreciation for the sanctity of something like the Banaue Rice Terraces — or at the very least more conscious of the fact that government permission is not exactly a cure-all for something that is pattently inappropriate. I guess even among travel bloggers (or especially among travel bloggers) there’s a pervasive “YOLO” culture that glorifies these types of extreme stunts.

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