Rice paddy art at MMSU now open

By Daniel P. Tapaoan, Jr.


Ilocanos can now visit the latest rice paddy art at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) main campus after its launching today, September 23.


Now on its fourth year, the paddy art project of MMSU and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Batac features the image of Don Mariano Marcos, the man from whom the University was named after, the acronym ‘MMSU’ and ‘1978’, the year it was founded. 


Livestreamed via the University’s Facebook Page (@MMSUofficial), the paddy art launching is a part of the first Founder’s Month Celebration in honor of President Ferdinand E. Marcos (FEM). 


Personnel from the two key agencies joined the launching ceremony led by MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis and PhilRice Batac OIC Manager Hazel Jane M. Orge. 


Agrupis said the university takes pride in sustaining the paddy art for four years, being the only state university in the country which implements the paddy art in partnership with PhilRice. She also promised to sustain the project in the years to come. 


She emphasized this year’s rice paddy is dedicate both to the man MMSU was named after, and to its founder. “This is one of the many gifts that FEM gave for us to enjoy and benefit from, thus we celebrate what we have that has and will always stand in the test of time,” she stressed. 


Meanwhile, Orge thanked MMSU for partnering with PhilRice in implementing the rice paddy art, saying the project serves as innovative way of honoring inspiring people and engaging community to visit the farm and the technologies it showcases. 


She also hopes the project continues to symbolize the two institutions’ partnership in terms of promoting rice productivity and sustainability in the province. 


Representing Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew M. Manotoc, Vice Governor Cecilia Marcos congratulated MMSU and PhilRice for the continuing project, stressing the provincial government fervently supports the paddy art and continues to invest for agriculture development by providing scholarships to youth who pursue agriculture-related courses. 


Also, representing Batac Mayor Albert D. Chua, Councilor Kitchel Pungtilan conveyed the city government’s support to the rice paddy art, saying “it is a fitting commemoration to honor the illustrious sons of Ilocandia.”


Dr. Santiago R. Obien, second MMSU president and PhilRice’s founding director, narrated the signing of Presidential Decree 1279 which merged Mariano Marcos Memorial College of Science and Technology with the Northern Luzon State College into MMSU. 


Dr. Joselito Lolinco, former dean of College of Arts and Sciences, reminisced the tandem of Mariano and Ferdinand Marcos in advancing inclusive development in the countryside, while Arch. Bienvenido Magno, former university architect, shared the legacy of FEM at MMSU. 


Using the rice field as canvas, two rice varieties were used as “paint”: IR 1552, a traditional purple rice variety from Korea; and PSB Rc82, a traditional high-yielding inbred variety produced by PhilRice.   


The MMSU-PhilRice rice paddy art project started in 2018, in celebration of the 101st birthday of President Marcos, the founder of both MMSU and PhilRice. It also featured the images of former Congresswoman and First Lady Imelda R. Marcos in 2019; and Dr. Santiago R. Obien, the second MMSU president and PhilRice’s founding director, in 2020. (StratCom)