Rice, the lifeblood of Asia, is not just the world’s most popular food. For more than half of humanity, it’s a way of life that defines cultural identity and represents the very basis of socioeconomic stability, national security and global unity. Rice also has great scientific significance. The development of environmentally sustainable production of highyielding rice varieties through science and technology upon the inception of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has helped alleviate worldwide poverty and hunger, and facilitated the improvement of countless livelihoods. But IRRI would not have realized its purpose or achieved its success today without the invaluable scientific contribution served by one of the brightest and most prolific Filipino national scientists.