Batanes Iraya courtesy callCourtesy call with Mayor Anastacia B. Viola (4thfrom left), Vice Mayor German A. Caccam (2ndfrom left), and Municipal Agriculturist Rhodora H. Domingo (3rdfrom left).

The hydrogeologic assessment of Mt. Iraya watershed in Batanes is now underway. Led by Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Professor, SESAM, this project is initiated by the Local Government Unit of Basco, Batanes in partnership with UPLB Interdisciplinary Studies Center for Water and funded by Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP). 


The project aims to establish hydrogeologic baseline data in Mt. Iraya watershed, the major water source of the whole municipality. This would help to ensure the sustainability of the watershed services and responsible water utilization of the consumers.


The team conducted the social component of the project last July 9 to 15, 2018 in Basco, Batanes. The Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was participated by representatives from different sectors-- LGU, Local People, Water Boys, Institutions, Commercial/Business owners and other people’s organizations. Community resource mapping was done to determine the watershed boundaries and existing water sources (e.g. deep wells, pumps, springs) and SWOT analysis to identify the issues and concerns on water resources of municipality.


Another component of the social assessment is hydrocensus-- a sectoral survey (household, commercial and institutional) and Key Informant Interview (KII) which was conducted in six Barangays of Basco with the help of Barangay Health Workers (BHW) to determine the water utilization and consumption pattern of the community.


The “water boys” of the municipality guided the team in visiting the 15 water resources comprising of springs and water pumps for preliminary assessment of water quality and quantity.


The next project activities will focus on the geologic assessment, water quality and quantity analysis of Mt. Iraya watershed. (Unice Faith A. Roa)

Pushing for Impact: Project SARAI Conducts Training on Information Services Valuation and Impact Assessment


Photo: Ria Jhoanna C. Ducusin


July 21, 2018 – Project Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (Project SARAI) Phase 2 conducted a whole-day workshop on SARAI Technology and Information Valuation at SESAM Lecture Hall. The valuation workshop was conducted by Dr. Canesio Predo, Assistant Professor from the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CNFR). The workshop was attended by the project leaders and researchers of the different components of Project SARAI.


The main objective of the workshop was to discuss the valuation and impact assessment methodologies that can be used for the program. Aside from developing technologies, knowledge products, and systems for the agriculture sector, SARAI also aims to assess its performance through valuation and impact assessment. 


The program leader, Dr. Maria Victoria O. Espaldon,mentioned that the valuation and impact assessment will help the program integrate its results and outputs in such a way that farmers and other agricultural stakeholders will benefit from the whole system. The valuation methodologies will also help the SARAI team to be well-roundedand to see the applications and relevance of economics on their researches. 


The second phase of Project SARAI, a three-year interdisciplinary research, development and extension (RDE) program, funded by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), commenced in May 2018The second phase will focus on establishing community-level SARAI hubs for nine major crops: rice, corn, coconut, banana, coffee, cacao, sugarcane, soybean, and tomato. (Maria Regina V. Regalado and Heidi D. Mendoza)

SESAM starts the Balik PhD Project in Angat Watershed

AngatThe Angat Watershed from the hilltop view deck of National Power Corporation.

A research team led by Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Professor, School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), visited the National Power Corporation (NPC) office at Angat Watershed, last June 27, 2018, to meet with the officials of the NGC Watershed and Flood Forecasting divisions, as part of the Balik-PhD project entitled “Ridge-to-reef Disaster Risk Assessment and Climate Change Impact Assessment of Floods and Droughts in the Agricultural Sector of Angat Watershed, Philippines",

The initiative is under the University of the Philippines Expanded Modernization Program, which initiated the Foreign-trained “Balik” PhD Recruitment Program. The project aims to perform a two-year research project on disaster risk assessment and climate change impact assessment of floods and droughts using ridge-to-reef analysis in the Philippines. 

Mr. Ador Mallari, the OIC and Section Chief of the Angat Watershed division introduced a lot of information about the project site. The section chief mentioned that their department works on the rehabilitation of the river basin and the management of the reservoir. Meanwhile the flood forecasting and water management department, as explained by Mr. Manuel S. Lampitao Jr., is helping PAGASA in terms of monitoring tropical cyclones. On the other hand, with regards to flood forecasting, rainfall and water level data are being monitored as well. 

The research group also visited the office of the National Irrigation Administration– Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (NIA-UPRIIS) in Nueva Ecija and the Pantabangan Dam site with the endorsement of their Division Manager, Engr. Ernesto D. Ponce. Moreover, NIA staff, including Engr. Daryl Pascua of the Reservoir Division, presented a video about the Pantabangan Dam to the SESAM research team. 

The said Balik-PhD project will engage students and will later on be used as a learning tool as and additional experiential learning activities of the graduate students at SESAM. (Jimlea Nadezhda A. Mendoza)

UPLB holds meeting for possible collaboration with constituent universities in addressing water security issues


Water groupUP Constituent University Representatives (Photo by: Jimlea Mendoza).


The University of the Philippines Los Baños created the UPLB Interdisciplinary Interdisciplinary Program on Water (formerly Integrated Water Research Center), through Administrative Order No. 247, Series of 2017, as part of its interdisciplinary research thrust to RDE programs. The goal is to sustainably manage water resources for national development through interdisciplinary research, responsive policy, partnership and capacity building. One of the objectives of the UPLB-ISWC is to develop national and international linkages on water resources management through networking and partnerships with other state universities and colleges. 


Representatives from UP campuses Los Baños, Diliman, Manila, Baguio, Cebu and Visayas attended the meeting. UPLB Chancellor, In his opening remarks, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. highlighted the importance of addressing water security in the country.  He added that water security agenda should be pushed by the UP chancellors and must take the lead in water research since it is a vast area of study to ensure water security in the country. 

Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Chair of the UPLB Water Program, discussed the current efforts of the university in addressing water security problems. It was followed by a workshop moderated by Dr. Agnes C. Rola, Chair of the Networking and Partnership Committee of the Water Program. Each CUs presented the issues and initiatives on water in their respective areas.

The participants agreed to have a unified database which will serves as an inventory of water-related researches. For the ways for collaboration, plan is to have a system-wide structure that will convene the research and extension agenda on water. (Jessa O. Aquino and Catherine Gigantone)

SESAM Gives Recognition to 2018 graduates

DSC 0208 edited small fileClass of 2018 with SESAM Faculty and Staff.

The School of Envriomental Science and Management (SESAM) honored a total of 28 students who graduated this school year 2017-18, at SESAM Lecture Hall, last June 22, 2018. Among them are 21 Master of Science in Environmental Science; six Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science; and one Professional Master in Tropical Marine Ecosystems Management (PMTMEM).


This year’s top PhD graduate is Dr. Armi G. Torres, a researcher at Quantitative Aquatics, Inc., based at SEARCA, College, Laguna. Meanwhile, the top MS graduate is Ms. Leajim A. Villanueva, who is currently continuing her post-graduate studies, taking PhD Environmental Science.


This year also marked the graduation of the third batch of the PMTEM program, a joint offering of the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV), UP-Marine Science Institute and UPLB-SESAM. The lone PMTEM graduate for this school year is Mr. John Leo E. Holongbayan.


Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean, SESAM and Dr. Carmelita M. Rebancos, Professor and Chair of the Program for Instruction, SESAM, led the recognition and giving of the special awards to the graduates. 


Dr. Enrique P. Pacardo, Professor Emeritus, SESAM, delivered an inspirational parting message to the graduates in closing ceremony.  “You have entered the school to learn, now you will depart to serve. As for the things and issues you will be facing when you serve, use the scientific facts you learned. But it doesn’t tell you what to do, it is always your choice and there are many options on what to do with your scientific knowledge. Spread the gospel of environmentalism”, he stressed.


Aside from SESAM faculty and staff, parents and families of the graduates were also invited to witness the recognition rites. 

NAST to Award Best Paper to SESAM Dean, colleagues

Doc Dei pagasa satDr. Decibel Eslava, Dean of SESAM (right), collaborated with researchers from UP Diliman and former scientists of PAGASA-DOST and studied the harsh effects of tropical cyclones in the Philippines.

The paper, “Geohazards, Tropical Cyclones and Disaster Risk Management in the Philippines: Adaptation in a Changing Climate Regime”, is recognized as Outstanding Scientific Paper for 2018 by the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST Phil). The article is a comprehensive presentation of the geographic and geologic settings of the Philippines that make it vulnerable to natural hazards; and, learning from the distressing experience of the country due to Typhoon Pharma (Local Name: Pepeng) that hit the northwestern part of Luzon in 2009, the authors recognize the urgency to implement geo-meteorological-related disaster risk management and climate change adaptation measures in order to save lives and properties during extreme climatic events. They consider heightened information, education, and communication campaigns; improved early warning systems; and climate-proofed land use plans as among the adaptation measures. 

To read more about the article, follow the link:

To be conferred with the remarkable award are Dr. Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava, a well-published geologist and currently the Dean and and Associate Professor of the School of Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and co-authors: Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, UP System and Professor, National Institute of Geological Science, University of the Philippines Diliman; Dr. Graciano P. Yumul, Jr. of the Monte Oro Resources and Energy, Inc.; Dr. Nathaniel T. Servando, former director of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration- Department of Science and Technology (PAGASA-DOST), and Dr. Nathaniel A. Cruz, Resident Meteorologist the GMA Network News. The awarding ceremonies will be held on 12 July 2018 at the Manila Hotel, One Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines during the Academy’s 40th Annual Scientific Meeting.


The Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM), now on its 20thyear, is the publisher of the award-winning paper. It is an international peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly journal of the School of Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines Los Baños indexed by Web of Science Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters), Sciverse-Scopus, CABI, and ACI. It is also an awardee of the Journal Challenge of the Journal Incentive Program of the Philippine Commission on Higher Education. 

The NAST Annual Outstanding Scientific Papers Award is a recognition of the valuable contributions of Filipino scientists in the advancement of science and technology. It is given to qualified papers evaluated based on the 1) quality of content; 2) contribution to science and technology; 3) clarity of presentation; and 4) thoroughness of documentation. Moreover, it must have been published in any Philippine scientific or technical journal within five years preceding the award.

NAST Phil is an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology andis the country’s highest recognition and advisory body in the field of science and technology. It is mandated to recognize and reward exemplary achievements in the aforementioned fields as provided for in Presidential Decree 1003-A.

In 2014, a paper published in JESAM Special Issue No. 1, 2013 titled, “Improving the Validity and Robustness of a Harmful Algal Bloom Model through Genetic Algorithm-based Optimization”, was also awarded the same recognition by NAST Phil. (Cherry Sy-Padilla)