The lab was open to anyone who wanted to have a look and to taste basmati and jasmine rice. We didn't resort to "infomercials" too much, just a brochure of what the lab is about and a few email announcements (that the lab welcomed guests until 5 PM). However, we did put arrows to help guests find the GQNPC facility.
We never expected to get a lot of visitors. At 9 AM, the first group of people, mainly alumni, dropped by, and the lab tours began! I'm really thankful that Melissa, the boss, had been training Fe, Dara, and me in touring guests around the lab. By the time the Thai princess visited in 2009, the three of us could give lab tours properly when Melissa and Tita Dory are unavailable. When the alumni's turn arrived, the three of us certainly could hold our own. Plus, the technicians at Quality Evaluation were also very knowledgeable with what they're doing. All we had to do was introduce them to the visitors and then they'd continue their experiment, explaining to the audience the step they're currently working on.
Based on the number of paper plates used, Fe estimated that more than a hundred people dropped by the lab for rice test tasting. I believe her. I think I gave five lab tours to alumni and on-board staff coming from different career backgrounds. Secretaries, plant breeders, geneticists, social scientists, agronomists, information technologists, extension workers... we had to tailor-fit each tour on the fly so that the visitors could appreciate the activities in the lab.
My favourite reaction (coming from a development communications intern): "Ay, parang Sineskwela!" (an educational Filipino show much like Sesame Street, but deals more on the sciences) If children could potentially understand the science of rice quality, then I guess we were communicating right.