Rice fields in the Philippines are fascinating sights to see. The greenness evokes freshness - a very welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. As the grains ripen, the green turn into gold - reminding people of a bounty harvest, reward for hard labor of planting Oryza sativa.
As urbanization spreads from Metro Manila, rice fields have been becoming rarer. The once-green-and golden plots are being converted into subdivisions, golf courses, name it; all, they say, in the name of the development. Each disappearing rice field, lessens our country's chance to become an agricultural power, a food producer in the world.
I hope that rice fields see renewed life in our land, so we will become a rice exporter once more. I rue the fact that we now import rice from other countries that once depended on the Philippines so that they would learn how to plant rice.
Months ago, I passed by the town of Mangatarem in Pangasinan. There are still a lot of rice fields there: