The Rice Science Museum of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) highlighted the traditional farm implements and cultural music in celebration of the National Heritage Month.
As part of the new exhibit titled, Transformation in Progress, farm implements such as araro (plow), lingkaw (scythe), bilao (winnow), and kareta (sled), which were gradually replaced with modern machines, are displayed. An acoustic session called Awit, Palay, at Buhay was also conducted to increase appreciation on rice and farming, May 27.
Charisma Love Gado, senior science research specialist, said the exhibit tells the stories of transitions that occurred in the rice fields from the pre-conquest to modern times including the shift from customary implements to farm machines.
“For us to understand the advances on agriculture today, we must know what were the contexts contributing to these changes,” she said.
Data from the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) showed that majority of the Filipino farmers now use tractors for land preparation, which decreases the importance of the carabao and plow.
With the introduction of the two-wheel tractor popularly known as ‘kuliglig,’ mechanization level in the country rose up to 2.31 hp/ha in 2011 from 0.52 hp/ha in 1990. The country aims to attain farm modernization at 4 hp/ha to be competitive in the ASEAN integration.
Diadem Esmero , museum curator said that the Rice Science Museum, a facility accredited by the Department of Tourism, is documenting “historical and present-day patterns of biological and socio-cultural diversity for the public to remain connected with the tangible links to the country’s past.”
May was declared as National Heritage Month in 2003 to “create in the people a consciousness, respect and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and to raise material support for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage.”
The declaration is part of the states’ constitutional accountability “to conserve, promote, and popularize the nation’s historical cultural heritage and resources.”