SESAM honors 2017 graduates

top grads 2017Top grads. Dr. Rowena Sazon (left) is this year's UPLB Academic Excellency Awardee. Ms. Jessa Aquino (right) is SESAM's top MS graduate for 2017. 

The School of Environmental Science and Management conducted a testimonial ceremony for MS and PhD in Environmental Science graduates last 23 June 2017 at SESAM Lecture Hall. This year, there were 11 PhD and 30 Masters in Environmental Science students who finished their respective degrees. In addition, there were four students who graduated in the Professional Masters in Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management (PMTMEM). One PhD and two MS foreign students were among the graduates this year. During the opening remarks, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean, SESAM told the graduates to continue to grow and expand as she congratulated all the graduates. “For sure you will be employed by agencies, companies, academe, and I hope you can build your own network soon”, she added. 

The top SESAM MS graduate, Ms. Jessa Aquino, an advisee of Dr. Carmelita Rebancos, Professor, SESAM, said the school has broaden her knowledge in environmental science, and it requires a holistic lens to understand to topics. “I dreamed bigger and worked harder… and I turned my expectations to reality”, she said. A Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) scholar, Ms. Aquino, promised to serve and give back to the country.

The UPLB academic excellency awardee, Dr. Rowena Sazon, an advisee of Dr. Veronica Migo, Professor, College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology (CEAT), thanked SESAM for the ‘ridge to reef’ experience, as she was able to conduct field works in various ecosystems during her PhD course work. “I thank the SESAM faculty for this because we learned a lot from this experience”, Dr. Sazon said.

Top five MS graduates are (from 5th to 1st): Ms. Ma. Cecilia Marza, Ms. Norzelita Sacdalan, Ms. Arlene Tolentino, Ms. Ma. Rusell Latoza and Ms. Jessa Aquino. For PhD, top five includes (from 5th to 1st): Dr. Ana Rosa Carmona, Dr. Dr. Lilibeth Furoc, Dr. Gella Patria Abella, Dr. Evaristo Nino Cando III and Dr. Rowena Sazon

In his closing remarks, Dr. Enrique P. Pacardo, Professor Emeritus, SESAM, said that graduation is the most exciting part of the students’ stay in the university. “Receiving your certificates today is just the beginning of your new life, and you will see that there is a gap between your theoretical learning here and the reality out there” he added. 

Also graduated this year is Dr. Loucel E. Cui, University Research Associate II of SESAM. Dr. Cui is a member of the editorial staff of the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM) and SARAI project team. This recognition ceremony was organized by SESAM, in cooperation with the UP Environmental Science Society. 

Experts to talk about challenges, opportunities for environmental sustainability in mining sector

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Geoscientists, environmental experts and other stakeholders in the mining industry will converge on June 29 and 30 at Venus Parkview in Baguio City for the 2017 Hunt for Ore Deposits (HFOD): Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental Sustainability.

The conference will elevate discussions on rising concerns over the sustainability of the mining industry to a level that tests theoretical insights against realities on the ground.

Participants will talk about recent advances in mineral exploration, ecosystems valuation and management, and related topics on resource development and environmental sustainability. In addition, they will present some best practices in environmental management, rehabilitation measures, socio-economic programs, and other such concerns that could spell success or failure for industry players. 

There will be seven scientific sessions revolving around: socio-economic costs and opportunities in mineral resource development, advances in understanding mineralizations in the Philippine archipelago, mineralization styles and new ore deposit models, new frontiers in minerals prospecting, harnessing biological potency for geophysical restoration, holistic approaches for social acceptability, and ecosystems integrity and multi-criteria approach to resource characterization.

The Rushurgent Working Group (RWG) of the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), UP Diliman organized the conference jointly with the School of Environmental Science and Management, UP Los Baños. RWG also organized the first two HFOD conferences.

This event is sponsored by UP; the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development; Apex Mining Co. Inc.; United States Agency for International Development; Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera Autonomous Region; Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc.; Nickel Asia Corp.; and Northern Cement Corp

Interested participants are advised to contact Dr. Carla B. Dimalanta, NIGS, College of Science, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1101 at telephone number +632-9818500 ext. 3763, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or through the conference website. (UPOVPAA)

SESAM to host 2nd International Conference on Environmental Science

ICES 2017

The Philippine Environmental Science Association (PESA) will be holding its 2nd International Conference on Environmental Science (ICES) on August 3 to 4, 3017 at the New College of Arts and Sciences (NCAS) Auditorium, University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna. With the theme “Baselining, Yardsticks and Agenda-setting in Environmental Science Research”, this event is expected to host more than 200 researchers, professors, students, policymakers and other environmental experts from different sectors.

Plenary sessions, poster and oral presentations will highlight this two-day conference, which aims to provide an opportunity for presentation of new researches and discussion of important environmental issues. The tentative program for this event is included in the attached ICES conference note.

The following topics are invited for either oral or poster presentation are: climate Change, variability, and air quality; environmental impact assessment; biodiversity and conservation; environment, resources and population dynamics; integrated water resource System; environmental education and integration of information databases and networks; land use and land cover change; disaster risks and management, human health and environmental hazards; and best practices and green solutions for sustainable development. The registration fee for professionals is PhP 2,500.00, while for students, PhP 1,500.00.

Aside from the oral and poster presentations, there will a post-conference field trip to strengthen and to experience the wonders of the Laguna Province, a post-conference fieldtrip will be held on August 5, 2017. Participants may choose an ecotourism tour at the Underground River in Cavinti, Laguna, Pagsanjan Falls, Pandin lake and a with a Laguna Tour (Liliw, Paete, Pakil and Lumban Shopping) or a nature hiking at Mt. Makiling (Mudspring, Peak 1 & 2), Philippine High School for the Arts (overlooking Laguna lake) La Resio (Tadlak lake), Makiling Botanic Gardens and Museum of Natural History.

For inquiries, please contact the secretariat at telephone number (049) 536-2251 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">2ndThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please also visit our website at

SESAM, PCAARRD and partners conduct knowledge-sharing on impact assessment of coral reef rehabilitation projects in the Philippines

Knowledge sharing workshop1The participants (representatives from DOST-PCAARRD, Batangas State University, University of San Carlos, Mindanao State University, and a number of graduate students from SESAM) during the Knowledge-Sharing Workshop last May 11-12, 2017.

A collaborative session of multidisciplinary teams was organized by the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) last May 11-12, 2017 at W.D. Dar Hall, DOST-PCAARRD, Los Baños, Laguna. The workshop entitled “Knowledge-Sharing Workshop on Methods and Outcomes of the Coral Transplantation Technology Using Asexually Reproduced Corals in the Philippines” was participated by representatives of the Department of Science and Technology– Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), Batangas State University, University of San Carlos, Mindanao State University, and graduate students of SESAM.

The country’s marine resources especially coral reef ecosystems are continuously being degraded due to anthropogenic activities coupled with natural factors. To address the issue, DOST-PCAARRD funded the Filipinnovation on Coral Rehabilitation Program in the Philippines in 2012-2013 that was tasked to develop a coral transplantation technology that can be used to rehabilitate degraded reef habitats. The technology made use of coral of opportunities (COPs) reared in Coral Nursery Units (CNUs) for transplantation in degraded reef areas which were done using various innovative approaches with the goal of increasing coral cover and biodiversity. Prior to scaling up this technology, an assessment is crucial to identify its strengths and weaknesses, thus, the conduct of the impact assessment project.

The Knowledge-Sharing workshop intends to bring together the individuals involved in the Filipinnovation program and the impact assessment Team to discuss the prospects and the directives for the impact evaluation. Specifically, it aimed to share and present updates on the impacts of the asexual reproduction technology that the Filipinnovation program implemented in selected sites in the Philippines last 2012 and at the same time, discussed the activities for the impact evaluation project that will be done for the program.

Dr. Decibel Eslava, the Dean of UPLB-SESAM, and Dr. Ernesto Brown, the Director of DOST-PCAARRD Socio-Economic Research Division, delivered messages to inspire the participants. Dr. Filipina B. Sotto, the program leader of the “Filipinnovation on Coral Reef Restoration Program”, presented the coral transplantation technology that they have implemented across 13 strategic restoration sites all over the country with the goal of restoring one hectare of degraded coral reef area in each of the pilot sites. She discussed the development process of the technology and the various modifications along the way in order to suit the capability of the coastal community and other stakeholders to carry out such projects. The Filipinnovation team from some of the pilot sites specifically Mabini Batangas, Panglao Bohol, Boracay Aklan, and Tawi-tawi shared the results, learnings, and innovation of their respective sites.  

On the other hand, Dr. Rico C. Ancog, the project leader of the “Impact Assessment of the Filipinnovation on Coral Rehabilitation Program in the Philippines” (PhilCORA Project) discussed the objectives of the impact evaluation. The impact assessment will quantify the biophysical, social and economic consequences of the coral transplantation technology developed by the Filipinnovation team. A brief focus group discussion, facilitated by Dr. Canesio Predo, was conducted to solicit attributes for the choice experiment method that the PhilCORA team will use for reef valuation. The results of this impact assessment project would lead to the development of a management and monitoring protocol that can be applied for evaluating coral rehabilitation projects in the country.

Knowledge sharing workshop2A focus group discussion with the participants to solicit attributes to be used for the reef valuation.

The workshop concluded with talks on information sharing and on-site assistance through close coordination between DOST-PCAARRD representatives, the Filipinnovation team, and the PhilCORA team to ensure a systematic and objective approach for impact assessment. (AG Balatayo, MC Corales)

Life of the Badjaos in Barangay Malitam, Batangas City

Brgy Malitam BatangasFishing is the main source of livelihood of the Badjaos in Brgy. Malitam, Batangas City.

In this side of the city, a community started with only two families two decades ago. Now, there are more than 200 hundred families in the Badjao community in Barangays Malitam and Wawa, Batangas City. Badjao is a muslim ethnic group and considered as the sea gypsies of the Philippines. Most of them came from Mindanao and the southern islands of the Philippines. 

The Badjao community is located on the mouth of Calumpang River towards Batangas Bay. Fishing is the main source of livelihood, however, some are already employed, particularly the newer generation of the Badjaos. With easier access to education, these newer generation of Badjaos are literate, unlike their parents. Due to inter-marriage with locals, some younger Badjaos already have different religions.

According to Gavino Oxillo, Barangay Councilor of Brgy. Malitam, education and livelihood are very important for the stability of the Badjao community. "Before, the community here enjoys a bountiful harvest of marine resources, but now its dwindling", Councilor Oxillo said. The Badjaos are now mostly harvesting small shellfish, small fishes and few crabs in nearby mangroves, Councillor Oxillo said. The Calumpang River mouth has widend due the onslaught of Typhoon Nina in December 2016. Some houses of the Badjaos were destroyed and they were forced to move further inland. 

Brgy Malitam Batangas ShellfishThe dwindling shellfish catch is a big concern for the Badjaos.

The community is also beset with social problems, due to lack of jobs. "Petty crimes, family disputes, waste management and even teenage pregnancies are some of the issues that the barangay government is concerned" according to Barangay Councilor Raffy Gonda. However, he said the Badjaos are generally peaceful. "They cooperate very well, especially during calamities, they voluntarily evacuate especially during typhoons, because they know they are the first one to be affected if the sea waves become bigger", said Coun. Gonda.

Mr. Odilon Conti of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) of Batangas City said the Badjaos are already considered "Batangueños", despite being migrants from southern Philippines. "Mayor Beverly Dimacuha regularly visits the community and she is aware of their needs", Mr. Conti added. He also said Mayor Dimacuha prioritizes the education of the Badjao children.

The City ENRO has funded the documentation of the Batangas City State of Environment (SOE), in which SESAM, led by Mr. Thaddeus Lawas, University Research Associate II, is currently producing a documentary video which includes the plight of the Badjaos in Batangas City.

Brgy Malitam Batangas Kids Access to education is important for the Badjao children, who are happilly playing along the shores of Calumpang River.

The Badjaos are known to sail hundreds of kilometers to look for a better life. However, opportunities are not always plenty. These people only desire daily food for their families, a safe community and a long-term place to stay thus avoiding constant relocation. Education will always be the equalizer, not just for their safety but also for the survival of their culture.

Celebrating three years of research work to re-energize the Philippines’ agriculture sector

 Poster Press

April 28, 9AM, NCAS Auditorium – This day is about agriculture advancing and going proactive, digital, mobile, and near real-time. It is about celebrating the many opportunities to re-energize our agriculture sector.

In November 2013, the University of the Philippines Los Baños, together with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology, launched the three-year research program Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines (Project SARAI).

This 2017, Project SARAI will celebrate its research outputs ranging from a farm-specific integrated crop management advisory protocol to mobile pest identification applications:

                      1. Planting dates

Suggests dates to farmers when it is best to plant based on historical weather data.


2. MAIZE Nutrient Expert

An application that asks for farm-specific information, and provides farm-specific fertilizer rates and other management protocols. It also provides a comparison between the profit from doing the current farmer’s practice, and the suggested new practices.


3. Cost-efficient soil moisture sensors

Soil moisture sensors provide farmers and agricultural technicians with the soil moisture content that can be indicative of the need to water the planted areas to reduce crop stress. These SARAI-fabricated cost-efficient soil moisture sensors are available at only P2,500 to P3,000, as compared with commercially available sensors that cost around P20,000 to P30,000.


4. Pest risk maps for rice and corn

In response to El Niño and La Niña forecasts, the project produced region-specific pest risk maps for rice and corn. These maps serve as early warning protocols for projected affected farm areas.


5.SARAI Knowledge portal (

The online portal integrates all the outputs, and makes it available online for the different interested users. The portal also makes the maps and other applications very interactive, so that the user can choose to manipulate the visuals of the maps depending on their needs.


6 .Crop suitability maps for rice, corn, coconut, banana, coffee, and cacao

These maps provide general data on the suitability index of the six different crops. These suitability index can be used for planning purposes, and other ground-verification activities.


7. SARAI-Enhanced Agricultural Monitoring System (SEAMS)

SEAMS uses free satellite images from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Union (EU) to actively monitor crop production areas. Its outputs include regular crop production areas, typhoon damage assessment in terms of crops lost and flooded areas.


8. Daily weather SMS

Project SARAI installed 22 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) nationwide, and developed a system to monitor the weather data, and send a daily SMS to subscribers every 6 in the morning.


9. Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for monitoring

The UAV, or more commonly known as drones, are also used for agricultural monitoring purposes. The images can provide farm-specific crop status and the spread of pest infestations.


10. National Training Needs Assessment (TNA) of farmers

Project SARAI anchored its training and learning design on the TNA results, which showed that farmers still prefer face-to-face trainings. Results also showed that farmers prefer getting agricultural information from peers, and other mainstream media such as radio and television.

Project SARAI will also launch the National Program for Integrated Crop Monitoring and Forecasting System (ICMF). The ICMF, a UPLB-based program, is the proposed sustainability platform of Project SARAI, where all of its outputs and extension activities will be housed and continued.

Celebrate with us and be part of the growing community for a more proactive agriculture sector.