Popular energy-drink brand Red Bull sparked a recent controversy with a video, which features professional wakeskaters Brian Grubb and Dominik Preisner having a riding session on the Philippines’ famed Banaue Rice Terraces.
The video, which already has amassed over 910,000+ views since being published in late October, has been at a center of a heated debate. The question at hand? Whether or not the actions of the wakeskaters was a sign of major disrespect.
The 2000-year-old terraces were built and carved into the Cordillera mountain range by the native Ifugao tribes. Their historical significance to the region and beauty has earned the area the title of “Eighth Wonder of the World” as well as being deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For many opposed to the stunt, the wakeskaters were treating the site as a personal play area, disregarding its rich history. Some comments on the video include:
“The simple fact that they needed permission says a lot about how important the place is. Going through all of that simply to ride for 10, 15 meters. Awesome.”
“Dislike. This is sad. I hate how they treated and promoted our Rice Terraces. There other good means of promoting this wonder but not like this. Our ancestors build this with such hardwork and for the main purpose of planting rice. NOT for wakeskating! Even though they got their permission and respected the environment. This is not just right.”
Supporters, who seem to outnumber the nay-sayers (at least online), are quick to point out that the stunt was performed after permission was granted by not only the Philippine government, but by those still living in the area, a scene which is explicitly shown and stated during the video. Others note that the video highlights the beauty of the islands, helping to promote tourism.
“It’s okay. They did this activity during off-agricultural season and they asked our elders’ permission and the LGU’s approval. They even performed a ‘baki’, which is a traditional practice for seeking blessings and permission from our dead ancestors when carrying out an event. Also, rest assured that no plants or animals were harmed while the activity was ongoing.”
“Thank you, Redbull for featuring and promoting our country! what an awesome film!”
“sobra lang maka-react ang iba..okey naman ang pagkakagawa..hindi naman disrespecful sa mga katutubo at sa kalikasan..tumutulong pa nga sa pagpromote ng tourism sa bansa natin.. [The others are just over-reacting. What they're doing/what they did (to make the film) is okay...it's not disrespectul to the native peoples and nature. They're even helping to promote tourism to our country.]
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!