I started my Master’s degree education in the fall of 2014 at the University of California, Davis, hoping to study sustainable agriculture and its techniques. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree with a plant sciences background, I tried to learn the broader aspects of agriculture such as its interconnections with society and economy. These experiences greatly transformed and opened my understanding of agriculture from food production to a much more complicated system incorporating human interaction with nature, distribution of resources among farmers and consumers and the subsequently formed social interrelationships, and sometimes even a philosophical understanding of human self in the physical world.
With this understanding I became interested in indigenous agricultural cultures. These cultures are diverse; some are in the temperate areas and some are in the tropical zones; some are nomadic, and some are sedentary; some feed more on meat and some are more herbivorous. Yet one similarity of them is that over the past centuries as the people survived through environmental and social changes, they each developed a set of practices and thoughts as unique as the natural environment they are in.
But these indigenous cultures are disappearing today. People are moving into homes with air conditioners, televisions, and running water, only travel for tourist or business purposes, and are eating similar foods year round. The indigenous Ifugao people from the Luzon Island in the Philippines are living these changes.
This thesis is not written to introduce the indigenous Ifugao culture, but with the purpose of discovering the value of the Ifugao culture and its conservation measures (to retain the cultural elements) by discussing the changes in the traditional Ifugao culture and the stakeholders’ perception of them. With this, I hope that not only the indigenous Ifugao people, but also those living in relatively more modern societies, will reflect from an individual level on what a world our life has shaped and how to sustain it for the future centuries as the indigenous people have done in the past.
I am privileged to know Professor Koji Nakamura and Dr. Rizalita Edpalina from the Kanazawa University, Japan, who introduced the Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program to me. Also the acceptance from Professor Napoleon Taguiling from Ifugao State University was crucial to this research.
My original plan was to include 30 participants, but soon after the research started, I realized I would achieve a higher number with the generous assistance from many of the participants. In the end, there were almost 90 participants in this research. Months after the interviews, as I transcribed and coded them thousands of miles from the location where they took place, memories of the faces, the surroundings and the atmosphere of these records are still fresh. It is the love of these people for the Ifugao culture and their concern for its future that encourages me to do my best in writing this thesis. Apart from some who I was not able to note down their names during the interviews, they are Dustin Lee Addug, Emily G. Alberto, Remelies D. Allaga, Julia Amehna, Julia B. Argawa, Maria B. Baleon, Veronica Basilio, May-an C. Batachan, Elai Bautista, Kekyza Reeva Biminulog, Ruel Bimuyag, Anga May E. Binnang, Imelda Bin-ong, Jaybie Bioni, Kelly Cez Bolla, Robert C. Bongayon, Donald Jay A. Bulahao, Hilario T. Bumangabang, Febe Bummael, Juan Buy-a, Rosalia Buy-a, Colin Byers, Diamrose B. Camilo, Jon Jauregul Cano, Isabel Pawid Codamon, Caela Mae Daen, Ivy Joy D. Diclihon, Miranda Dimangan, Kollene Dominguez, Lesly Anne Dulnuan, Roel A. Dulnuan, Robert I. Dulnuan Jr., Lolita Dunuan, Pio B. Dupingay, Racuel Eclavea, Annie Beth Elahe, Antonio G. Elahe, Steeve Fao-wa, Michelle A. Gano, Jeremy M. Gawongna, Ramon M. Gayadang, Ngaire Griggs, Karl Grind Gumz, Carmen L. Himmiwat, Narciso Illag, Ezereel Immotna, Kathrina Inyat, Robinson Jabagay, Remie Joyce Layaona, Eugenia Libayo, Carmencita G. Likiyan, Jimmy G. Lingayo, Ryan D. Lugmayo, Efren H. Lupais, Pugguwon Agosto Talanay Lupais, Felimar A. Maleek, Noel Manalang, Rose Igadna Manapeng, Eliee B. Mantaha, Ruben Maripon, Marlon Martin, Ribinia P. Numbanal, Jimmy B. Padchanan Jr., Ermenlinda Pag-O, Rona Pahigon, Madonna B. Pakid, Benita Pawit, Bernadette P. Pinkihan, Jenchil Poligon, Myrna Poligon, Joshua G. Polog, Jose Poloihon, Borja Garcia Sastre, Rowena N. Sicat, Allen Tanchiatco, Cristina Tapo, Rommel Tayaban, Linda B. Tiyab, Simon Tuguinay, Joylin Valenzuela and Myra Ann Wachayua.
I am also grateful to Eleanore Gano Basilio, Lydia de Castro, Leandro Langbayan Elahe, Orlando Addug, Roberson Guay Addug, and Patrick Pulpog for their excellent assistance on identifying participants and arranging research activities and even my accommodations. During the research period, I also received kind and helpful administrative support from Ais Atolba and Esth Licyayo. I would also want to thank Professor Ryan Galt for encouraging me to start this thesis and Professor Kate Scow, Professor James Hill and Professor David Miller for being the thesis committee members and my friend Bob Stevens and Dolores Stevens for their proofreading.
Financially, this research was supported by the James and Rita Seiber International Graduate Student Fellowship through the Research and Innovation Fellowship for Agriculture (RIFA) program from University of California, Davis. I am grateful to James and Rita for their generosity and encouragement for international students focusing on the fields of agriculture and environment. The RIFA program offered for me a valuable opportunity in pursuing my interest in international rural development research and I appreciate Dr. David Miller, Elana Peach-Fine and Dena Bunnel for making this opportunity open to international students.
One afternoon in Ifugao when discussing the future of their culture, I was given an Ifugao name Aliguyon by my Ifugao friends. Later I realized Aliguyon is the name of an Ifugao hero who brought peace to the people after an epic battle. If my research can do anything comparable to his achievement, if this research can bring a better understanding and conservation of the Ifugao culture as it interacts with the modern world, I will be deeply honored.
 Examples from Native American culture described in appendix A.
 The word “value” here refers to the worth, the use or the importance. In this thesis I use the singular form of the word “value” to refer to the worth or significance of somethimg.
 Modernity is often linked with western societies or cultures but in my thesis I do not mean to link them together, as many modernity values, such as efficiency and liberalism, have been criticized and welcomed both in oriental and western societies (see example of traditional value in California agriculture in appendix B).