Happily Stone Walled in the Cordillera

Illustration for TIME by Mariko Jesse

Jesus lives in a scene unchanged since the birth of Christ. By day the teenager helps his father tend the colossal rice terraces built by his ancestors in an amphitheater around Batad, a village in the northern Philippine Central Cordillera. The same stone-walled fields have passed from father to son for 2,000 years. At night the family of six cooks over a fire and sleeps in a grass-thatched hut.

To escape the midday heat bouncing off the terrace walls, Jesus takes us to a huge pool gouged out by the tumbling Tapplya Falls. I ask him whether he will continue living...

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