As Filipinos, we owe a lot to our farmers. And no, these farmers are not just the ones planting rice — they include those who venture out every morning to fish and those who harvest the fruits and vegetables we eat.
Agriculture is an important aspect of our country’s economy, and this year, Miss Universe Philippines shines a spotlight on the sector with the theme, “Celebrating National Agriculture”.
Airissh Ramos (Eastern Samar), Vanessa Tse-Wing (Guimaras), and Princess Anne Marcos (Bulacan) are no strangers to farmer work, and they carry the torch as empowered women in agriculture.
Coming from hometowns that agriculturally thrive, these ladies are proud to call themselves farmers by heritage and by hand: Airish started an egg farm during the pandemic, Vanessa works at the Department of Agriculture, and Princess’ family runs an agri-business. Each of them enthusiastically share interesting snippets of their lives in agriculture, from the best things produced by their hometowns to the government projects benefiting common Filipino farmers.
“Agriculture is a versatile field,” Airissh declares. “It’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling to be part of the agriculture sector.”
It is a fulfilling field as it is important, as the recent pandemic had revealed. Food security was a priority and a lot of people’s interests were piqued regardless of where they were, as seen in the rise of urban gardening projects. “I’m happy that right now, the spotlight is going towards the agricultural sector,” Princess shares. But there was still a certain degree of intimidation which, she points out, can easily be resolved by education. “If all of us start to invest our time, then we can definitely learn more about this industry.”
Truly, agriculture is for everyone, even for the youth. “Our average farmers are aged 60, so we are the ones who will be following the steps of the generations of farmers,” Airissh says. Aside from building their recognition of courses such as agricultural engineering, Vanessa adds that they should know of the abundance of relevant work opportunities that one can be proud of. “Everything you do right now involves an environmental aspect, right?”
Between these women, there was never a lack of delight at being in agriculture — and they gladly owe it to those that come before them as well. All eyes sparkle when Airissh mentions Cherrie Atilano, their shared role model and one of the most empowered women in the industry. “It’s nice to see empowered women who are in the agricultural sector, it’s really eye-opening to the youth,” Vanessa quips. It only goes to show that women can do anything and be anything if they take heart and put their mind to it.
The future of agriculture remains to be optimistic. And by celebrating it in Miss Universe Philippines, we hope to encourage the next generation to take up farming with all the wonder, excitement, and positivity that Airissh, Vanessa, and Princess have.
And yes, as Princess reminds us, “Cliché as it sounds, everytime you eat, thank a farmer.”
PRODUCED BY: Airissh Ramos | Vanessa Tse-Wing | Princess Anne Marcos | Ica Imanuelle Macazo
CREATIVE PRODUCER: Nathan Vargas
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Ica Imanuelle Macazo | Rexy Jolly Conopio | Angel Fagaragan
PHOTOGRAPHER: Rap Yu