Univ, PhilRice honor Mariano Marcos in paddy art

By Kimberly S. Miguel


Now on its fourth year, the rice paddy art project of Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Batac features the image of Don Mariano Marcos, a notable lawyer, educator, and politician in Ilocos Norte, and the father of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. It also features the acronym, ‘MMSU’ and ‘1978,’ the year the University named after him was founded. 


The rice paddy art is an annual project in support of food sufficiency, a tribute to farmers, and a way of promoting appreciation for agriculture, especially among the younger generation. 


Dr. Aris Reynold V. Cajigal, MMSU extension director, said this year’s paddy art gives honor to the older Marcos, who exhibited exemplary leadership during his stint as representative of the second district of Ilocos Norte (1925-1931). 


In the legislature, he was the chairperson of the powerful committee on ways and means and served as member of other committees on public instruction, public works, public estate, and mines and natural resources. 


In recognition of Don Mariano’s accomplishments, the Mariano Marcos Memorial College of Science and Technology was created in 1974 through Presidential Decree (PD) 614. Four years later, then President Ferdinand Marcos issued PD 1279, which merged MMCST with the Northern Luzon State College into the Mariano Marcos State University. 


In his Commencement Address at the first graduation ceremonies of MMSU in 1978, President Marcos shared his vision that MMSU would be “a university true to the dreams of all those who have died, including the man after whom the university is named, [my father], and true to the historic and universal traditions of every university worth its name, a place from whence our leaders of the future will come.” 


Other institutions named after the late legislator are the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center (MMMH-MC), a premier health care institution; the town of Marcos, Ilocos Norte; and the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union. 


Planting for the paddy art was done last August 19-20 at the University’s Extension Demonstration Area. 


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 paddy art design is expected to be significantly visible by October when the plants shall reach their early vegetative stage. 


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.


Each year, a significant number of people visit the MMSU campus to take photos with the rice paddy art in the background.  


Rice paddy art is created using the anamorphosis principle, a technique used in 3D art where a picture looks distorted from one angle but appears normal when viewed from a certain angle. (StratCom)