Philippines: Rice Against Time


Activity 1

Living Off Rice

The video, these Net Notes, an atlas and other textbooks may help you find the information you need to complete these activity sheets.

1. We eat plenty of rice in England, but we don’t grow it. Why do you think this is? Select the letter which best describes the statements below: ‘T’ denotes true and relevant; ‘I’ is true but irrelevant, and ‘F’ denotes that the statement is false.

  • It's too hilly in England for rice seedlings to take root. T / I / F
  • We don’t get enough rain. T / I / F
  • Our climate is too cold in winter. T / I / F
  • There’s no fertile volcanic soil in Essex. T / I / F
  • Summer temperatures in England are too low for the grain to ripen. T / I / F
  • Production costs are lower in the Philippines. T / I / F
  • English chefs only like to work with exotic ‘eastern’ ingredients. T / I / F

2. The areas nearest to the UK where rice is grown commercially are the Rhône Delta and the Po Valley. Where are these places? Using an atlas, complete the following table.

Rice-growing areas



Rhône Delta


Po Valley


3. Most farmers in the Philippines grow rice. It is part of the traditional way of life. Why is it so common?

Add labels to the picture below, using relevant statements from the list provided.

Rural Filipinos grow up in 'rice country' and understand what’s involved.

Roots of rice plants flourish in summer drought.

Volcanoes — good source of fertile soils; keep the sub-soil warm, so stimulating rapid crop growth.

Rice requires large amounts of water in the growing season.

High temperatures throughout the year — no frost to kill off seedlings; warmth to ripen crop.

Heavy rainfall most years, helped by mountainous terrain.

Low flat land easy to flood at start of growing season; generally retains moisture well or is suitable for irrigation; good depth of soil.

Rice gives a high yield per hectare and is more nutritious than many other grain crops.

Activity 2

International Migration

There are large numbers of Filipinos working around the world, often in temporary jobs. This pattern is relatively rare among other nationalities in South-East Asia.

Men from the Philippines commonly work on ships, as labourers on construction sites in the Middle East and much of Asia, and in parts of Europe and North America. Young Filipino women also work in these countries — often as maids, waitresses and nurses.

Try to find the reasons for the above. Decide whether each of the statements below is true and relevant (T), false (F), or irrelevant (I).

  • There is much rural poverty in the Philippines, and in most countries of South-East Asia. T / I / F
  • The climate in the Philippines is tropical and humid. T / I / F
  • Manila is the largest city in the Philippines. T / I / F
  • There are not many large or medium-sized cities in the Philippines for families to migrate to. T / I / F
  • Urban areas in the Philippines lack the employment opportunities found in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore. (International finance, tourism and manufacturing are less well developed.) T / I / F
  • Few Filipino workers have migrated because they have been persecuted at home or want to escape the political system (unlike many Chinese migrants who have left communist China for political reasons). T / I / F
  • It is common for Filipino migrants to send large proportions of their earnings back home to support their families. T / I / F

Activity 3

Making Ends Meet

Although some rural families can live well off rice farming, most have to try a range of things to make ends meet.

List five things that the video and background notes (see the Asia Pacific Net Notes) show farmers doing to help improve their incomes, apart from migration overseas.






Click here to view the answersheet.

© 2000 Channel Four Television Corporation