By Adrien Salazar, 2015 TRI Fellow in Phillipines
Glorieta Mall, Makati City, Metro Manila. I find myself on the ground floor of the Glorieta 5 mall in Makati City, Philippines, standing at a booth hawking samples of three kinds of heirloom rice to strangers—Ifugao Diket, a brownish-red sticky rice from Ifugao Province, Tinawon, an aromatic fluffy white rice also from Ifugao, and Ominio, a hearty black rice from Mountain Province. Most of the people who come to the booth have never tried this rice before. “These are heirloom rices from the world heritage rice terraces of the Cordilleras,” my companions—all from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)—say to the bloggers, chefs, and foodies who come to taste these special grains.