Dr. Nacorda Attends International Ocean Science Confab



​Dr. Hildie Marie E. Nacorda (right) joined other Filipino delegates at the 2016 Ocean Science Meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, 21-26 February.



Dr. Hildie Maria E. Nacorda, SESAM professor, participated in the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting held last February 21 to 26 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.


Together with colleagues from the UP Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) and the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) who all contributed papers to the Conference, Dr. Nacorda presented the talk “Exploring Mesopothic Depths off the Philippine Sea: Coral Reefs on the Benham Bank Seamount” in the Marine Ecosystems session Exploration, Research and Assessment of Complex Deep-Sea Ecosystems: Recent Advances, Holistic Approaches, and Future Challenges. Her talk highlighted the key results from the observational surveys conducted at the Benham Bank in 2014.

      The paper presented is under the “Exploration, Mapping, and Assessment of Deep Water Areas” research program, funded by Department of Science and Technology/Philippine Council for Agriculture,  Aquaculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development-Grants in Aid (DOST-PCAARRD-GIA). (John Miko R. Ofalsa)


DKI-APCSS Training for Comprehensive Crisis Management: An Opportunity to Develop Graduate Studies in Climate Change, Disaster


By: Mark Dondi M. Arboleda

Honolulu, Hawaii- For one month and a week, I was given the opportunity train with the (best) crisis managers in the Asia Pacific. It was the 16th offering of the seminar for Comprehensive Crisis Management at the Daniel K. Inounye Pacific Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, from February 9 to March 18, 2016. It was also the seminar where the Daniel K. Inouye Asian- Pacific Center for Security Studies Training for Comprehensive Crisis Management (DKI-APCSS) had their 10,000th trainee attending. The seminar focused on what to do strategically in the light of increasing natural disaster occurring in the region. In fact, one of the case studies discussed was the debacle after Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). As you know, the Philippine government was unprepared to handle the magnitude of the calamity and could not effectively coordinate relief efforts. Here, I learned that all sectors in the society and the international community need to coordinate effectively to help those affected by natural calamities.


There were comprehensive lectures in the morning followed by workshops/ break-out sessions in the afternoon. The entire training was capped by an exercise where a simulated crisis (influenza outbreak) was complicated by confounding issues (a complex problem) such limited budgets, tribal conflicts, inter-departmental quarrels, and the reluctance to ask for international help.


All the lectures and activities will certainly be applicable for developing the degree programs I was set to do: a Graduate Degree Program for Climate Change, Disaster and Comprehensive Crisis Management. The honorable Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr even called me to his office so that UPLB can develop training modules.


I had wished I could have attended all the lectures. Some lectures were electives and we where only allowed to attend two electives out of a possible 11. These entire elective courses could have been good material for including into the Graduate Program. The two elective I had attended where related to Public health and disease outbreaks and another elective was on Climate Change. Electives I missed where: Applications of Technology in Crisis Management and Communications in Times of Crisis, for example.


I had also wished there where more workshop activities and more time to have more simulated activities. But it seemed time was running short and before I realized it, it was time to say goodbye and head home.


During this time, I realized that the Philippines is not the “only” country in the region. It is not the only country affected severely by crisis. It is not the only country with problems – and solutions. There were 125 participants from 44 countries, big andsmall, rich and poor, advanced and developing.


The Philippine contingent was comprised of the chief planning officer for the National Disaster and Risk Management Center, the director for clearing operations, Metro Manila Development Authority; a PNP colonel for anti–kidnapping, the district commander for Aparri region from the Coast Guard, the consul special concerns from the Department of Foreign Affairs and your truly.



This was our welcoming party group photo. I’m somewhere in the middle, fourth row.


We were an odd group and we were separated into different seminar groups. When we got together for beer and chicken wings on weekends, we would discuss the Philippine situation and how we’d need to get together to help in getting our natural disasters (and other crisis) into more manageable form. The Philippines has a law and implementing rules and regulations. But not many know this or are educated in it. We as Filipinos had the opportunity to see the problem(s) in a different perspective and tackle it.


The objective of the workshop was to be able to network internally and internationally- and to learn from each other…I did.


We need more opportunities and training in order to address our local issues. Hopefully we can rise again and lead the region. I encourage practitioners and professionals in climate change and crisis management to apply to APCSS CCM.

Project SARAI holds its First Seminar-Exhibit


SARAI research team demonstrated the Soil Moisture Monitoring System under Project 2, led by Drs. Roger Luyun and Ronaldo Saludes


Mr. Brian Altoveros operates the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (AUV) under Project 1.


March 17 – The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council Agriculture, Aquaculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD)- funded research program, Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (Project SARAI) held its first UPLB-based seminar-exhibit, at ICOPED Auditorium, CEM.

The seminar-exhibit was composed of a short presentation of the program and its current outputs, and was followed by an open house. The open house was for the exhibit of the program’s technologies and systems which all pave way to a more productive and more resilient agriculture sector. UPLB students and other researchers attended the said event.

Project SARAI will conduct also a seminar-exhibit series this coming April in the different colleges – College of Agriculture (CA), College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology (CEAT), and School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM). (Heidi D. Mendoza)


SESAM faculty vacancy March 2016


Cagayan and Benguet Provinces Work To Strengthen Disaster Risk Reduction Actions

landslides kapangan

Landslides are very common in the Cordillera Mountains in Kapangan, Benguet.

Initial findings on the experience of Cagayan and Benguet show that the local government units (LGUs) from both provinces have been working to strengthen their disaster risk reduction (DRR) actions through a number of mitigation and preparedness activities.

A research team, led by Mr. Thaddeus Lawas, made courtesy calls with the municipalities of Sta. Teresita and Ballesteros of Cagayan and Tublay, Atok, Kibungan, and Kapangan of Benguet province in February and March respectively, to document the different DRR practices of the LGUs. From the field visit to Sta. Teresita and Ballesteros, they were found to be vulnerable to typhoons, floods, soil erosions, and possible storm surge and tsunami. In the case of mountainous province Benguet, heavy rainfall induced landslides, which severely affected the local residents. This leaves the road impassable, cutting people off from market access.  

In order to lessen the impacts of disasters, the municipalities in Benguet focused on the mitigation activities, especially to address the issues of soil erosions and landslides. Both Tublay and Atok towns have planted bamboo in the landslide prone areas as well as coffee and mulberry, respectively. Experts from UP Baguio and Benguet State University were tapped to conduct a research on the effectiveness of these plantations.

On the other hand, Sta. Teresita of Cagayan has installed an early warning system– automated rain gauge, which monitors the level of rainfall and sends the readings to the central database.  It is expected to help the LGU to warn the locals and eventually to be better prepared for floods. Ballesteros has built a food storage facility that is also being used as a temporary classroom as means to meet the various needs of the LGU and the community.

Besides the help of academe, towns of Benguet have established a partnership with NGOs. For instance, Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc. assisted in several capacity building trainings in Kibungan and Atok for disaster risk reduction concept orientations, contingency planning workshops, and in creating emergency operation manuals. The towns mentioned that the academe and NGO partners have been great supporters for their DRR initiatives and made the projects more feasible.

All these findings are part of the UN World Food Programme (UN WFP) funded project of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), UPLB - “Documentation and Evaluation of Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness and Response Projects in Four Provinces: Cagayan, Benguet, Laguna, Sorsogon,” and will be packaged in forms of an interactive CD, IEC materials, and documentary video. (Minji Na)

SARAI on Smarter Moves for a Competitive Agriculture at SIPAG Fiesta Techno Forum


Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon talks about Project SARAI at the SIPAG Fiesta


The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) led an event coined as Pushing the Best of SIPAG through FIESTA or the SIPAG FIESTA last March 2-4, 2016. This is a three-day event which features the outputs from the various Strategic Industry S&T Programs for Agri-Aqua Growth (SIPAG) conducted by the R&D partner institutions around the country.

Project SARAI or the Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines is one of the initiatives of the DOST-PCAARRD and University of the Philippines Los Baños which aims to provide target beneficiaries/stakeholders access to near real-time scientific information and smarter technologies on agriculture to arm our agricultural sector against climate change.

SARAI Project Leader, Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon talked about the Smarter Moves for a Competitive Agriculture during the SIPAG Fiesta Techno-Forum on the second day of the event at E.O. Tan Hall. This Techno-Forum is a series of seminars on selected technologies in the aquatic, livestock, crops, forestry and natural resources sectors.

Dr. Espaldon discussed the composition of SARAI and its framework. Her presentation focuses on the following SARAI Technologies, systems and products:

* Water Management Decision Support System (WAISS) is used in monitoring of the soil moisture for early warning for the presence of crop water stress.

* SARAI Maize Nutrient Expert is a system that can be used to determine proper site-specific fertilization level in any corn farm in the country that optimizes soil fertility conversion and income of the farmer. Farmers, with the assistance of agricultural officers, can easily input their farm details in the application. The resulting analysis will provide the farmers a comparison of change in input and change in profit between their current and the recommended practices.

* SARAI Crop Suitability Maps that serves also as decision support tool for the crops at a scale usable by the stakeholders. The resulting maps were evaluated using crop-specific growth requirements, and were then classified into different suitability levels.

After the presentation, Mr. PJ Saavedra of Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU) asked about the contribution of SARAI to drought. Prof. Moises Dorado, a study leader of SARAI explained the use of GIS and RS to determine the vulnerability of the areas. Dir. Rodolfo Ilao, Director of the Agricultural Resources Management Research Division of PCAARRD also added that the SARAI outputs and technologies are being inputted into the El Niño action program.

The project entailed interest from the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI), and they requested trainings for their staffs and technicians with regards to the technologies and protocols developed by the program.

Project SARAI is a three year-program consists of pool of experts from different departments and institutions of UPLB, united for the same goal: for SMARTER AGRICULTURE. (RM Areglado)