Our next stop was lunch at the IRRI Cafeteria. We walked for more or less 20 minutes along Pili Drive. Every where I looked there were green fields, trees and mountains (hello skyline pigeon!) and I was enjoying breathing the fresh air. Not only was the sun not-so bright that day, it was even windy! Emman said Pili drive is dangerous because there are no sidewalks and vehicles go beyond the speed limit.
IRRI, or the International Rice Research Institute, is a nonprofit independent research and training organization that develops new rice varieties and rice crop management techniques to help rice farmers improve the yield and quality of their rice in an environmentally sustainable way. One of the goals of the organization is to reduce poverty and hunger and improve the health of rice farmers and consumers.
I noticed that Emman was fond of taking pictures of patterns and then I remembered that if he wasn’t a computer science graduate, he could have easily been an artist whether digital/multimedia or architectural.
When Emman said the cafeteria was affordable, I didn’t expect that it was this affordable. The Pork Caldereta, which would have easily bested most of the versions I’ve had in the past was only 35 pesos. That’s the same price as one order in a regular carinderia but IRRI’s serving was heftier not to mention the place was air-conditioned. And half rice which was comparable to whole rice in other places only costed 3 pesos! If only I was aware of the price beforehand, I would have ordered every dish that caught my fancy on the menu.
Emman said we should wait for the shuttle bus to Los Banos because we need to conserve our energy for our next destination. The bus departs hourly and is for free so we roamed around IRRI while waiting for 1 o’clock. In places like these, I am always curious as to the contents of the buildings but they’re restricted so no exploration for me.
Come 1:15, still no bus in sight and they’re usually on time. When we asked the security guard about this, he said that shuttle buses are exclusive for employees’ use during Sundays. Nice, so we need to walk again for 20 minutes because jeepneys are very rare during Sundays and tricycles aren’t allowed inside the campus. Unless…