Don’t be fooled by the title, I am not kidding. The International Rice Research Institute is down right exciting! The drive was breathtaking, the grounds are sprawling, the museum fascinating and the cafeteria delicious. IRRI is exactly what it’s title stands for, an institute that researches rice. They have scientists, economist, lobbyists etc. It is a vast corporation to help improve rice supply for so many people of the world.
Just a brief history about IRRI and Riceworld:
IRRI aims to reduce poverty and hunger, improve the health of rice farmers and consumers, and ensure environmental sustainability of rice farming. We do these through collaborative research, partnerships, and the strengthening of the national agricultural research and extension systems, or NARES, of the countries we work in. IRRI
Dr. Swaminathan wrote “… rice will become increasingly important in the next century and beyond because of the wide amplitude of its adaptation. It is, therefore, important that young students who come in large numbers to IRRI have an opportunity to learn about the antiquity and fascinating history of the rice plant.” IRRI
The campus is massive so most of our time was spent at Riceworld, the museum at Chandler Hall. We made reservations the day before and would you believe me if I told it was free? Free! You absolutely must have a reservation so they can prepare an introduction, short video and have the museum ready. Once you arrive you register on a computer. My oldest loved it.
This chair exhibit was so neat. It was weight activated and lit up when someone sat on the chair. At the end of the light tubes was different kinds of rice. The introduction to Riceworld has a short animated film about new age agriculture and a fable about two boys who live on different planets and learn to farm.
Although the museum was originally opened in 1994 it has been kept nicely and updated.
Riceworld showcased all things rice. From the core of the rice grain to how it is farmed and used. It was all there.
Riceworld is surprisingly very hands on. You can use many of the machines as you see how farming and milling technology has changed over time.
While IRRI is located in The Philippines it is very much an international institution, this is reflected within the museum. Different countries had different exhibits showing their various ways of life and uses for rice.
Instagram wins again! A sweet acquaintance from IG recommended we come down for a visit and then eat at the cafeteria after. She is an employee, she actually welcomed us and gave us the tour. The cafeteria was so affordable and MASARAP! I had probably ten plates because I wanted to try everything. There are many vegetarian and halal options. You absolutely must buy the bread from the cafeteria to take home. Lastly, the gift shop was worth a visit as well. Many IRRI visitors are foreigners who fly into Manila just to come to IRRI so they have a well curated gift shop. It is way better than any airport gift shop, ha!
Things To Know:
- International Rice Research Insitutute Tel: +63 2 580 5600 (ext 2716)
- You must have a reservation but it is free. Ask for Bea she is the best!
- Many schools go on a field trip to IRRI and plant rice. If you choose to do this you must have a reservation and prepare to get muddy. Plan accordingly.
- Don’t bother packing a lunch just eat at the cafeteria.
- Take your time! Don’t just blow through the museum. We actually stayed for nearly 3 hours.
- Promise me you will spend time at UP Los Baños after. You MUST visit Makiling Botanical Gardens. UP Los Baños is famous for its dairy. Visit the animal husbandry and buy the milk and cheese, you won’t regret it.