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APEC World Leaders to Experience the Beauty of Banaue Rice Terraces

Benguet, Ifugao

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Nov 13, 2015

Kennethe Cobonpue, an internationally-renowned designer from Cebu, will act as creative director for the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Welcome Dinner in the coming days. 

Since the Welcome Dinner will be held in the Mall of Asia Arena, he remarks that one of the challenges was to turn something “cold and immense” like the huge arena into something “warm and cozy." In solving this problem, he turned to the 8th Wonder of the World, the Banaue Rice Terraces for inspiration.


Kenneth shares that he “wanted to transform the whole space into a huge outdoor garden." He was able to achieve this by looking to the Rice Terraces and emulating its terraced steps to create an elegant centerpiece for the dining area, complete with a set of grassy pathways, chairs made of rattan wood (aptly-named Yoda), and several anahaw leaf-inspired chandeliers to be hung from the ceiling.

Lights off five hours before the doors open to the warmest reception in the world. #APEC2015

A photo posted by Kenneth Cobonpue (@kennethcobonpue) on


The Banaue Rice Terraces were first built by the indigenous Igorot almost 2000 years ago, along the mountains of Ifugao, largely by hand without use of any high-tech tools or vehicles. The Terraces were fed (and still are, to this day) by an irrigation system that originates from the rainforests at the peak of the mountain. Though the annual maintenance of the Terraces is laborious and unappealing to many younger Ifugao, the Terraces have generally been cared for through the joint efforts of the local government as well as the indigenous that call it their home.

Eighth Wonder of the World set as backdrop for Wakeskating

Anahaw, on the other hand, is notable for being the National Leaf of the Philippines. The leaf is often used as a symbol of high achievement, strength, and loyalty, especially to the Tagalogs. It is often used as ornamental plants, with its leaves being used as decor for the home, as fans, and even as thatching for indigenous huts.

Forest Foray

Kenneth Cobonpue is well-known for his “simple, light, and natural” style and aesthetic, becoming internationally-renowned because of it. Most of his beautiful designs stem from a very artistic observation of nature, and are executed even more beautifully with the use of local materials such as rattan, anahaw, and Filipino bamboo.

The official token of the APEC participants, made by Kenneth Cobonpue. From

What do you think of Kenneth Cobonpue’s work? Does it really show what the Philippines as a country represent?

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