Market farming in the rugged northern Philippine highlands has resulted in a unique blend of new and old economic, environmental and religious practices. Predictably, the onset of "modern" farming methods has brought ecological degradation but, contrary to most theories of rural development, traditional beliefs and communal bonds have flourished at the same time. The explosion of commercial agriculture after World War II, which brought unaccustomed prosperity to the region of Buguias, reinforced the religious practice of lavish feasting. Since the host will have "good luck" if the ritual succeeds in placating the ancestors, he feels free to adopt the most destructive farming methods. While pursuing heavenly favour these growers are literally wagering their lands, hopeful of gaining prosperity and prestige.