Early April, 2007, in the town of Lala, Lanao del Norte, the Philippines.

rice closeup

Rice harvesting in the provence of Lanao del Norte, the Philippines, begins with soaking rice seeds in water for about two days. The seeds begin to sprout, and the seedllings are transplanted into the field by hand. The plants are allowed to grow, and after 105 days, according to my father-in-law, the rice is ready to harvest.

When the rice is ripe, it must be harvested. This is done by hand, using a scythe. The carabao, the national animal of the Philippines, is used to plow the fields. The rice stalks left over after harvesting will be used to feed them.

carryng rice

The harvested rice plants are carried manually from the field after cutting and brought to a machine that automatically separates the rice.


Portable machines to separate the rice from the stalks, such as the one above, are stationed at various places along the main road, making them accessible to neighboring farms during harvest time.


The local harvest is placed in bags, and goes to market.


A common scene is the setting out of some of the unmilled rice to dry for the next planting. In the background is a rice milling truck that makes the rounds to the rice farms.

rice milling

Rice is milled on the spot at each farm, and then sealed in large bags. The rice grains are somewhat uneven after milling, unlike your store-bought rice, in which each grain seems almost exactly the same size.

me and wife and inlaws

My wife, Junalyn, takes my right hand, while my brother-in-law, Banie, takes my left, as we stroll down the road between rice farms in the town of Lala, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. In the background, from left to right, are Junalyn's cousins JR, Danny Boy, and Ainee.


We stop to play with a calf during our tour of the rice farms.