Miss Rice WorldTo promote beauty and advocacy in the rice industry, PhilRice’s branch station in Negros Occidental organized the first Miss Rice World 2016: The Search for the Rice Ambassadress of Negros.

The pageant is part of this year’s celebration of the National Rice Awareness Month (NRAM). It aims to increase awareness and participation of the public in the advocacy campaigns of responsible rice production, commerce, and consumption.

Nine candidates from different cities and municipalities in Negros Occidental vied for the title during the coronation night, November 27.

Twenty year-old Claudette del Castillo from Talisay City won the crown and also took home other awards: Best in Ramp, Best in Playsuit, and Best in Evening Gown.

“Every single grain of rice is equivalent to a sweat of a farmer. Every single grain of rice is also an extension of our life. And if we continue to save rice, this can help the country become rice self-sufficient and globally competitive,” del Castillo said during the question and answer portion of the pageant.

First runner-up is Bacolod City’s Kennyveb Casabuena, 20, and also won the Best in Talent award. During the Q&A, Casabuena emphasized the Be Riceponsible advocacy of PhilRice.

“Being RICEponsbile means that we value every grain of rice, eat brown rice, eat mixed rice, and other staples and most importantly, thank a farmer for we should consider them as national heroes,” Casabuena elaborated.

Meanwhile, 21 year-old Jerica Semiller went home as second runner-up with a key message for the audience that self-sufficiency in rice takes collaborative efforts among the producers and consumers.

“Our farmers should equip themselves with the right farming knowledge such as the PalayCheck System, while consumers should be RICEponsbile by eating brown rice and saving every grain of rice,” said Semiller who hails from La Castellana, Negros Occidental.

Candidates were assessed through different aspects of beauty, talent, wit, and advocacy. They also prepared rice-based costumes which they used in their opening number.

Albert Christian Suñer, overall coordinator of the activity, said that the pageant is a way for people to be directly involved in the advocacies being pushed by PhilRice.

“This is something new for our audience that could lead to greater impact as far as awareness is concerned,” said Suñer who is also the research and development coordinator of PhilRice Negros.

Prior to the coronation night, the candidates attended a short-course training on the PalayCheck System and went through a Be Riceponsible Campaign orientation. They also led a Brown Rice Feeding Program for grade school students as part of the pageant activities.

“The goal for rice security cannot be done by simply increasing farm production. It also requires the responsibility and active participation of every Filipino. This pageant will help us in our advocacies, to reach out to more of our brothers and sisters in a fashionable manner,” said Edgar Libetario, PhilRice Negros’ acting branch director.

“We hope that many LGUs would support this pageant. We intend to hold this with representatives from the provinces in the Visayas, and hopefully have this pageant be conducted nationwide or even worldwide,” he added.

As Rice Ambassadresses, the Miss Rice World title holder and runners-up will be involved in various campaigns and extension services of PhilRice.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute