SESAM, UP-NIGS Hosts 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.


NEDA Asec. Planta in next week's 'Talakayan'

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. 

UPLB participates in the 2019 National Water Summit

Natl water summitParticipants from National Government Agencies, Non-Government Agencies, Private Organizations and Academe during the National Water Summit last March 21, 2019 at Novotel Hotel, Cubao, Quezon, City.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB), under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), spearheaded the National Water Summit Towards Water Security at Novotel Hotel, Cubao, Quezon, City last March 21, 2019. The event is concurrent with the previous National Water Pre-Summits conducted in 2017, as part of the Memorandum of Agreement signed between NWRB and University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) for the project entitled “Towards a Comprehensive National Plan for Water Security (Roadmap Preparations) and Summit” under the leadership of Drs. Rex Demafelis and Patricia Ann Sanchez, members of the project management team. 

UPLB served as the technical arm of the project to craft technical reports on different water key dimensions/sectors such as environment, economic, domestic, urban, governance, agriculture and resilience. In addition, series of committee meetings and focus group discussions were also conducted by NWRB in preparation for this event.

Usec. Rosemarie Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) start-off the summit with the discussion on the importance of water and its underlying concerns. Water demand especially on urban centers, flood management and climate change impacts to water are some of the issues that she mentioned. Moreover, Asec. Roderick Planta of NEDA discussed the state of water in the country. He emphasized that water should be managed using Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Framework. 

Part also of the event was the presentation of cluster output based from the conducted focus group discussions and committee meetings. Cluster A includes governance, resilience and environment sectors; Cluster B is for urban and domestic sectors; and Cluster C is for agriculture and economics. Key issues and recommendations/strategies (short-term, medium-term and long-term) for each cluster were presented. (JOAquino)