Our Mission Statement
The new building housing the museum will serve to showcase the traditional Cordilleran artifacts they have been collecting for three decades. The traditional expressions of a way of life, unique to the Ifugao peoples are in danger of extinction due to modern technology, of farmers leaving the Cordilleras for the big cities never to return, but also from the efforts of Christian missionaries, trying to convert these "pagans" to monotheism. These rice farmers and carvers were once pagans, they prayed to icons such as the bulul a carved wooden deity, and these Gods protected its people, they were powerful, these deities together with Nature were sacred; they gifted their people a bountiful harvest, blessed them with healthy children and gave them prosperity and good health, and cured them from terrible illnesses. This way of life is fast disappearing; either due to the conversion to christianity, or physically destroyed, or sold to museums or, more likely, to local and foreign private collectors and dealers. The Schenks have acquired many pieces from individual owners, dealers, and "runners" (dealers who crusade the mountains by foot and pay little or nothing to these farmers for their icons because they are in need of money and are not aware of the value of their heirloom; and to many who have 'converted to Christianity" and therefore just give them up).
George, Candida and their extended family Elpedio and Fe Ida, all share in their vision of preserving this culture from disappearing, hoping to give the local people a place where they may connect with their ancient culture, their religion and their land. Where people from around the country and the world may come and partake in a magical tour of what once was, a testament of millennial traditions of a people whose ancestors have built what is known as the eighth wonder of the world; "The epitomize the absolute blending of the physical, socio-cultural, economic, religious, and political environment. Indeed, it is a living cultural landscape of unparalleled beauty.
The Ifugao Rice Terraces are the priceless contribution of Philippine ancestors to humanity. Built 2000 years ago and passed on from generation to generation, the Ifugao Rice Terraces represent an enduring illustration of an ancient civilization that surpassed various challenges and setbacks posed by modernization.Reaching a higher altitude and being built on steeper slopes than many other terraces, the Ifugao complex of stone or mud walls and the careful carving of the natural contours of hills and mountains to make terraced pond fields, coupled with the development of intricate irrigation systems, harvesting water from the forests of the mountain tops, and an elaborate farming system, reflect a mastery of engineering that is appreciated to the present.The terraces illustrate a persistence of cultural traditions and remarkable continuity and endurance, since archaeological evidence reveals that this technique has been in use in the region for 2000 years virtually unchanged.
They offer many lessons for application in similar environments elsewhere.Maintenance of the living rice terraces reflects a primarily cooperative approach of the whole community which is based on detailed knowledge of the rich diversity of biological resources existing in the Ifugao agro-ecosystem, a finely tuned annual system respecting lunar cycles, zoning and planning, extensive soil conservation, mastery of a most complex pest control regime based on the processing of a variety of herbs, accompanied by religious rituals." UNESCO
The Schenk and Ida family have gifted their priceless collection to us, have been conscious of the importance of preserving the Cordilleras culture for its own people and its future generations, and for the world to admire. A non-profit organization, this museum runs exclusively on the generosity of the Schenk and Ida family, donations and the 100pesos admission fee.