Written by Joy Bartolome A Duldulao

 

Gem Corpuz, my creative and meticulous colleague at the Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division, came running to me one
Monday morning to tell me good news.

She enthusiastically started.

“You know, of course, that last week we went to Ilagan City, Isabela for the consumer evaluation of upland rice entries of the NCT (National Cooperative Testing) and we stayed for three days at CVIARC (Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center).”

“OK, I’m listening.”

“Before we entered the CVIARC compound, about 500 meters from the main highway, the road was already lined with huge National Year of Rice (NYR 2013) tarps. When we reached the Center’s compound, each building’s façade had an NYR banner with the slogan and logo. And even before we could convince ourselves (Gem was with four companions) that they were
indeed taking the NYR to heart, we saw a lot of employees wearing NYR t-shirts.”

“So how did you feel?” I asked. “My immediate reaction, Kuya, whether they will appreciate the NYR t-shirts we brought as tokens.” Gem and I shared a hearty laugh. “But that’s not yet the end of the
story,” Gem added.

“On our last day at the Center, the CVIARC Manager, Engr. Virgilio Adriatico invited us for lunch. At lunchtime, we exchanged pleasantries, but before we could sit down and eat, one of his staff came to remind him that it was his turn to
administer the Panatang Makapalay to the trainees at the Center.”

Gem recalled, “Engr. Adriatico proudly told us that at the Center, they have memorized the Pledge. And he, in fact, did not have any printed copy of the pledge. He begged us to proceed with lunch as we had to leave for another rice consumer evaluation site.”

I told Gem that I should write about their experience in my regular column in the PhilRice magazine.

“Wait, Kuya, that’s not the last of it!” Gem was still excited.

“Guess what we had for lunch?” Gem asked. I gave her a smile.

“True to the advocacy of the NYR, we had alternative staples like kamoteng kahoy and saba, nicely prepared and presented along with rice, so the eater could pick whatever he fancied. And would you believe, Kuya, the meat servings were cut exactly for the number of eaters, but the vegetable dish was unlimited. By then, we were totally convinced that they were living the NYR life.”

And the NYR advocacy lives on.

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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