MUSIC THAT extols the beauty of the centuries-old rice terraces and traditions of the Ifugaos is at the heart of the newly launched Banaue International Music Composition Competition (BIMCC), said Josefino “Chino” Toledo, the competition’s artistic director.

“The restoration has been underway for a few years now but this competition was made to further gain awareness for the project,” Mr. Toledo told BusinessWorld during a press conference on March 8 at the Makati Shangri-La.

The competition is part of Universal Harvester, Inc.’s Banaue Rice Terraces Restoration Project, a multi-year project which identified 49 hectares for renovation of which 16.34 have been successfully restored as of last year, according to a presentation by Jaime delos Santos, a member of the restoration project.

The BIMCC seeks original symphonic works that are inspired by the Banaue — the land, the people, and its culture.

“We want Banaue to become an inspiration for what they will create, kind of like [Strauss’] ‘Blue Danube’ which was created centuries ago but remains popular today,” Mr. Toledo explained.

The Banaue Rice Terraces — which were carved into the mountains of Ifugao province — are centuries-old structures (though the age is still in dispute) that represent much of the Ifugao culture revolving around rice and farming. The terraces were declared a National Cultural Treasure by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 260 in 1973.

As such, the competition asks composers from around the world to submit a symphonic orchestra (single or multi-movement) composition running from 11-15 minutes.

While the competition is open to all composers without restrictions on nationality, applicants should at least be at the early stages of their professional careers, said Mr. Toledo.

After making an initial call for entries in November 2017, Mr. Toledo said composers from Estonia, Colombia, South Africa, Spain, and Russia have either expressed their intent to join or have already submitted pieces.

From all the entries submitted, the BIMCC will select 20 composer-fellows who will be brought to Banaue where “they will learn and experience local culture and music.”

“With [this] new perspective and inspiration, the composer-fellows may revise their entry before the semi-finals,” said a press release.

A symphony orchestra will be brought to Banaue for the semifinals so the composers can perform their revised entries for the residents. Of the 20, 10 will be chosen for the finals night to be held on July 25 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The winner will receive $12,000 while two consolation prizes of $6,000 will also be given.

Interested applicants may visit for the guidelines. Deadline for submission of entries is on April 15. — ZBC