Another late post...
Team Tagumpay wins the coveted rice bowl trophy and the bragging rights!
We won on a technicality though: Team Tagumpay placed second BUT the real winning team threw in the towel during their harvest phase, with the members saying that they didn't want to compete anymore. That's really sad because they never knew how close they were to winning when they quit.
The organizers of Rice Survivor proved to be very generous with the prizes. All teams in the 2013 wet season received awards for some attention-catching performance or another. For me, I take the survival of the rice plants and the resulting harvest as victory enough since plants I take care of tend to die (like the basil plants I used to have in my backyard).
Aside from the trophy and the bragging rights, I take the lessons that I learned as prizes in themselves. Being part of this season's challenge taught me part of what farmers experience during a planting season: the hardest lesson for me is the long wait.
I was always nervous that the plants might die when the rains and the winds came along; I kept hoping that strong typhoons didn't not hit the rice paddies; I visited the plants as often as I could just to make sure that pests were not devouring them (as if I knew what to do when they're out there already).
I felt what I thought to be the sadness of farmers in seeing rice plants bent to the ground or buried in irrigation water because their stalks have been weakened by too much application of fertilizer and the onslaught of strong winds.
I felt relief in seeing the golden grains being sucked into the harvester on my team's last day in the field... and then worry that the storage area for harvested grains was infested by bugs that make the grains stinky and not fit for human consumption.
I realize, as the season closed, that I am a risk-averse person. Farmers are truly very brave people. The uncertainty of their profession (each farmer is a businessman, or businesswoman, to some extent) is unbelievable.
Overall, this season was a roller coaster ride for me. To Dry Season 2014 Rice Survivors, good luck! You'll need every ounce of it!