It is this time of the year that people here dry their rice because it’s past the harvest season. They dry their rice for several reasons, foremost of which is to lengthen its shelf life to last until the next harvest season if it is for personal consumption. If they sell it, no buyer may take the risk of buying undried rice because it may easily rot.
Producing rice is a long and hard process and drying it is the second to the last step before we can cook and finally serve it in the table. The last process would be taking out the rice from its husk which is done by milling or for some, manually (Yes! There are still some who do it and we call it “bayo”.) Drying rice is not an even an easy step. Farmers have to spread the rice in the heat of the sun the whole day, not only once but several times (I used to do it as a child; my (late)father taught me so). They have to dry the rice as early as when they feel the heat of the sun and they have to spread it in a place where it’s dry; solution – the road (for some, even on highways); it is the best option! This is a familiar sight here and it has become a practice. For some, it may be a nuisance especially to drivers but I have come to understand that for lack of better option, they have to do this and I respect that. While there is a regulation on the prohibition of drying rice on the highways, just exercise a little patience when you see one as a sign of respect to what have become a part of their customs. The next time you eat rice, you know how it was dried. 🙂