For the first two days of the week, I was scheduled for some field work. So remember last time when I said that after you added the seeds in the dry bed, they will be ready to be transplanted in 21 days. Yeah so even though the ones we planted weren’t ready, there were other 21 day old plants ready to be pulled. Monday was scheduled for pulling, a process of actually just pulling the plant from the soil and labeling it. These plants were going to be sorted, distributed and transplanted in the wet beds in another field. And that was the task for Tuesday. That was a whole day’s work. That morning, we were able to transplant for some part of the field that was ready. And that after noon, we were responsible for taking all the labeled plants that were pulled on Monday and sorting them out numerically. The labeling is very important because it is used to differentiate the variety of rice. If I didn’t appreciate farmers before, boy do I appreciate and respect them now because it was really hard and physically draining. Big ups to all the farmers! That Monday night we went out to get dinner at a little restaurant called Selina’s. They had frames of tiny pictures of customers and so I got to add my picture in the restaurant, and I was able to make a mark.
Wednesday was also scheduled for another field day but the wet beds weren’t ready so we got transferred to the head house where we worked at the seed processing room. Here they basically take the rice seeds and change it to the white, polished rice and the brown rice by removing all and parts of the husk respectively. Then after, they manually separate the rice that had any irregularities from the ones that could be used for further analysis. That day we were dealing mutant rice for the Zn and Fe Bio-fort projects. That night I took my first Boxing classes for 3 whole hours and it was really fun and enjoyable but it also left my whole body sore for like 3 days. I am definitely going back though.
Thursday morning, I was able to get a break from work for lab orientation. And that after noon, we got to see the gene bank. This is basically a storage facility for different varieties of rice from around the world. Although it is used for testing purposes when needed, they are also used to help countries that might have been affected by natural disaster, catastrophes and droughts replace their lost harvest and seeds to help them get back on their feet. I was happy and surprised to see that Ethiopia also had a contribution to this gene bank because I didn’t know that we had our own variety of rice out there. That night we went to LB square for some karaoke and I can say that we have a group of decent singers… minus me of course.
On Friday we were having a tour for the PB hybridization area. We were at the RGA (Rapid Generation Advance) facility. This facility helps to speed up the process of harvesting rice by shortening the process of land preparation by growing the plants in trays rather than on the fields. We were able to have some hands on experience on pruning the some of the old leaves in order to reduce the effect of insects. In the afternoon we were able to observe and take part in emasculation and pollination. These processes are needed when you want to cross rice with different traits by removing the male organs (anther) AKA emasculation then adding the pollen AKA pollination to get the desired progeny.
That Friday night we went to Makati to the join the FNRI and MAD travel crew. That weekend we were able to go around the city to tour the city and try really good food. The traffic is unbelievable but we were still able to get to the places we wanted to even though we were later that expected. Some of us were also able to go La Mesa Eco Park in Quezon City where we saw some new types of plants and flowers. I got horrible bug bites but it was worth it-ish.