SESAM's Class of 2019 has 52 graduates


Top grads. Ms. Angelica Magpantay, (MS) and Dr. Gerald Salas (PhD), thanked SESAM during the 2019 testimonials.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) conducted a testimonial ceremony for this year's graduating students on June 20, 2019 at the New College of Arts and Sciences (NCAS) Gallery.

According to Dr. Janice S. Garcia, Associate Professor and SESAM head of Instruction, a total of 52 students- 16 PhD, 33 MS Environmental Science and 33 Professional Masters on Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management (PMTMEM) graduated for the class of 2019.

Dr. Portia G. Lapitan, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs said UPLB is very proud as SESAM produced the most number of post-graduates this year. With this number of graduates, Dr. Lapitan said that it is evident that SESAM is really pushing towards the UP mandate of being a research graduate university. "Our harvest today- the post-graduates- has able to contribute to the core of environmental scientists, so that the problems in environment will be addressed", Dr. Lapitan stressed. "Carry the cudgels for the environmental fight of UPLB", she added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Dean of UPLB Graduate School (GS), said the graduating class of 2019 is special because this year has the highest number of graduates from GS. He added that SESAM has shown why we should put importance to hard work and perseverance. "Indeed, this year we have a great harvest, especially from SESAM, we have more UP Scientists and new Most Outstanding Scientists that will guide our students", Dr. Camacho said.

For her part, Dr. Marisa J. Sobremisana, Assistant Professor, recalled her student life while taking her PhD Environmental Science and she advised the graduating students to keep focus and continue to work hard as they will go back to their respective work and places. "Don't loose hope", she stressed, as she can relate to those students who were having difficulties in managing their time and doing other equally important duties while studying.

The top MS graduate, Ms. Angelica Magpantay, a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholar, mentioned the five "P's" that helped her in her graduate school journey-- professionalism, planning, passion and persistence, prayer and people. "We survived SESAM... but we will miss this, it is indeed our home away from home", Ms. Magpantay happily addressed the audience.

Meanwhile the top PhD graduate, Dr. Gerald Salas, a faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, Pampanga Agricultural Colleges, mentioned that this time, his dream came true for him to graduate from UP, after he was convinced before by his parents not to pursue his creative writing program in UP Diliman for his bachelor's degree. "At first I was afraid environmental science was not the program for me, but Dr. Carmelita Rebancos encouraged me to continue", he said. "I learned to prioritize and I got ample support from my family, friends and of course, my mentors here at SESAM, he added.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean, SESAM, expressed her delight, as this year was really a bountiful harvest for the school, with the most number of post-graduates in the university. She told the graduates that they are 'trained to evolve and adopt'. "Always remind yourself why you chose your respective field", as she mentioned to the class of 2019 the different roles of both MS and PhD graduate that must be fulfilled. Dr. Eslava also thanked the families and love ones of the graduates who attended the testimonial, as well as the UPLB Environmental Society, who co-organized the activity.

SESAM, UP-NIGS Host Philippines-Taiwan Earth Sciences Conference

YumulFormer DOST Undersecretary Graciano P. Yumul, Jr. presented his paper entitled "Tectonic and crustal thisckness controls on the geochemistry of the Mindanao arc rocks" during the 6th PTESIC at Clark, Pampanga.


Geophysicists, meteorologists, chemists and environmental scientists from academic and government institutions of Philippines and Taiwan converged last May 20-22, 2019 at Royce Hotel, Clark City, Pampanga for the 6thPhilippines-Taiwan Earth Sciences International Conference (PTESIC). With the theme “Transboundary geo-meteorological challenges: Towards a safer and sustainable future”, the conference aimed to foster collaborations and strengthen research linkages between Filipino and Taiwanese earth scientists. 


The School of Environmental Science and Management-University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB) and the University of the Philippines National Institute of Geological Sciences (UP-NIGS) co-hosted the conference. This was also supported by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS), as well as by research institutions from Taiwan such as Academia Sinica, Central Weather Bureau, National Central University, National Cheng Kung University, National Chung Cheng University, National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University.


There were 38 papers presented- 18 from the Philippines and 20 from Taiwan-- from various fields such as petrology, tectonics, geology, meteorology, geophysics and geohazards. Aside from oral presentations, 30 posters from geology and interdisciplinary sciences were presented.


Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (Research) and Professor, UP-NIGS, said that the Philippines-Taiwan collaboration is already 13 years old. “The first earth science conference was held in Taoyuan, Taiwan in May 2007”, Dr. Dimalanta recalled. For his part, former DOST Undersecretary Graciano P. Yumul, Jr., now with Apex Mining Corporation, Inc., said before his presentation that this event is very significant since it's a gathering of scientists from different fields. “We can have a long discussion since we have a conglomeration of chemists, meteorologist, geophysicists”, he added.


As for the conference fieldwork, the participants trekked Mt. Pinatubo on day 3. Mt. Pinatubo produced the second largest volcanic eruption of the 21stcentury in June 1991. The one-hour four-wheel drive journey was followed by another hour of hiking towards the crater lake. Filipino and Taiwanese scientists took rock samples from the pyroclastic deposits for analysis during the field work.


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43rd Talakayan series ASecPlanta

SARAI Young Researchers Inspire Siargao youth to Engage in Agriculture

RM SARAI SiargaoMs. Rosemarie Areglado, Science Research Specialist I, Project SARAI, talked about the pros of using technologies in the Agri-Youth Camp in Siargao Province.

DEL CARMEN, SIARGAO– The Project Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry (SARAI) presented and exhibited technologies and systems in the Budding Season Agri-Youth Camp at Provincial Nursery, Brgy. Cancohoy, Del Carmen, Siargao from April 5 to 7, 2019. The camp was part of the Agri-Youth program organized by the Municipal Agriculture and Fishery Office of Del Carmen and with by 52 youth leaders from different municipalities of Siargao attended the event. 

Project SARAI provides a vessel of inspiration and wisdom to encourage and equip the youth to pursue agriculture not only in line of work but more so as part of their lifestyle. This would hopefully transcend to their respective communities with the goal of achieving food security in the island of Siargao.

In the session for the Agri-Technology and Agri-Innovations, SARAI team highlighted the different SARAI-developed technological advancements and innovations such as the Community-Level SARAI Enhanced Agricultural Monitoring System (CL-SEAMS), SARAI Knowledge Portal and the Smarter Pest Identification Technology (SPIDTECH). CL-SEAMS is a system that can provide near-real time monitoring of crops planted in an area through the use of readily available satellite images. The SARAI Knowledge Portal is the online hub for all the project’s services and data products. SPIDTECH on the other hand is a mobile application that has the ability to identify and report different pests and diseases of SARAI priority crops. 

The participants expressed interest on how SARAI technologies and systems can be life changing to the farmers and how they can contribute as a youth to the agriculture sector. Aside from introducing SARAI, researchers namely, Ms. Rosemarie Laila Areglado (Development Communication and Environmental Science), Engr. Jerome Suarez (Agricultural Engineering), and Mr. Angelo Guiam (Computer Science) shared an inspirational talk on how their background can contribute to the development of the agriculture sector. (Ria Jhoanna Ducusin and RM Areglado)


Water forum 2019Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM-UPLB (left), moderated the discussion during the 2019 Water Forum at UP Diliman. Resource persons on this event include (from left) Dr. Guillermo Tabios III, Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Ms. Rusy Abastillas and Mr. Ramon Alikpala.

The Geological Society of the Philippines organized the water forum entitled “El Niño, Water Infrastructure Planning and the Supposed Water Crisis: Facts and Figures” last April 4, 2019 at the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), University of the Philippines Diliman. Water experts from different institutions discussed and layout the facts of what really happened regarding the recent water crisis in Metro Manila and the possible solutions to hone the said issue.

Ms. Rusy Abastillas, senior weather specialist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), explained how the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is affecting climate in the Philippines. She also presented the climate outlook of the Philippines for the next few months. She emphasized that there will still be dry spell from April until May, but improvements on the weather will be visible on June.

Meanwhile, Dr. Guillermo Tabios III, former director of the National Hydraulic Research Center, gave an assessment on the cause of water disruption in the east zone of Metro Manila. He also identified alternative water sources like Pampanga River Basin, Laguna Lake, Sumag-Biliway River Basin, Laiban-Kaliwa Dam, and even groundwater sources.

For her part, Dr. Patricia Ann Jaranilla-Sanchez, chair of the UPLB Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water, discussed about the possible alternative water resources for Metro Manila and the factors to consider for water resources development. She also highlighted that severe floods and droughts are more likely to happen in the future. Hence, optimization and conservation of available water resources is needed. 

Mr. Ramon Alikpala, chief executive officer of Future Water Asia and former chairperson of the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS), introduced the idea of urban water management and cited household-level strategies to optimize water use, such as water loss reduction, pressure management, water reuse, drainage management, and rainwater harvesting. 

During the open forum, many participants sought for an independent regulatory body for water that will spearhead the management of water resources of the country.

Supported by the Rushurgent Working Group, UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management, UPLB Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water, National Research Council of the Philippines, the UP Geology Alumni Association, and the Philippine Association of Geology Students-SEG Student Chapter, more than 300 participants joined this year’s Water Forum.

SESAM joins the world to commemorate Earth Hour

Earth hour 2019Mr. Jong Sumangil and the Zoomangle Band delighted the crowd during the Earth Hour 2019 switch-off event at the UPLB Carabao Park last March 30, 2019.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) led the celebration of Earth Hour 2019 last March 30, 2019 at the Carabao Park, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).


This year, the worldwide advocacy aims to promote awareness to save mother earth such as the ban on single-use plastic. The #EarthHour and #connect2earth trended on social media worldwide to promote awareness of Earth Hour 2019 and generated more than 2 billion shares to show the netizen’s concern for nature.


Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM, thanked all the people who gathered to support the event. She also delivered the message sent by Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., which stressed that all of us have a responsibility to our future generations. Further, Dr. Eslava mentioned “Let earth hour be the not the sum, but the start of a great movement towards protecting and serving mother earth”, as she read the Chancellor’s message.


Prior to the switch-off at 8:30 pm, local artists delivered a mini-concert. Dr. Antonio J. Quilloy, Professor, College of Economics and Management (CEM) and the 2019 UPLB Most Outstanding Artist, delivered a mesmerizing saxophone performance. Meanwhile, local folk artist Jong Sumangil and the Zoomangle band sang their original compositions to the delight of the crowd. The band was followed by Mr. Mark Virtudes, a development communication student and a finalist of the 2019 Star in a Carillon singing contest, rendered a couple of light rock songs. Lastly, the UPLB Filipiniana Dance Troupe capped the night with two traditional Filipino dance numbers just before the countdown of the switch-off lights in the campus.


Different cities in 188 countries worldwide joined Earth Hour 2019 to speak up for nature and inspire urgent action for the environment. Thousands of landmarks switched off their lights in solidarity for the planet. Individuals pledged their support for the planet, challenging world leaders to push the preservation of nature up the global agenda.