SESAM supports industry-academe linkage through Water Footprint Accounting

SESAM Laguna waterThe SESAM Research Team together with Mr. Perry Rivera (4th from right), President of Laguna Water Company.

A pioneering work that aims to account the water footprint of major land property developments in the country is currently being spearheaded and implemented by the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) and Manila Water Philippine Ventures. As one of the largest companies that provides freshwater to various development property all over the Philippines, Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWC) has seen the need to quantify and value both water consumed and polluted resulting from their business’ daily operations, both from residential and commercial properties. The project was aimed at providing solutions to the increasing issues of water scarcity, risks, and sustainability particularly at the corporate and industry levels. 

The research team, with Dr. Rico C. Ancog and Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez as the project lead, presented the project’s results to the President of Laguna Water Company, Mr. Virgilio “Perry” C. Rivera, Jr., together with his team, last February 28, 2018 held at Laguna Water office in Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Benchmarks for blue and grey water footprint of a business firm were computed covering both construction and operational phase. This would then provide definitive information on the impacts of water demand on the available water supply in the area. Correspondingly, responses to sustain freshwater supply across businesses establishments over time were formulated for inclusion in their strategic planning and management.

Through this project, SESAM further targets its aims of contributing to strengthening industry-academe linkage in the context of sustainable water management in the Philippines. (Christina Corales, Glenn Oca, and Alvin Dolores).

SESAM Professors publish research findings

Benham seamountHot issue. The government reasserts the country's sovereign rights on the Benham Bank below the Philippine Sea, as part of its continental shelf. Dr. Hildie Marie Nacorda, SESAM Professor, published her recent study on the coral reef of the seamount. 

Drs. Hildie Marie E. Nacorda and Mark Dondi M. Arboleda, Assistant Professors, School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Laguna, Philippines recently published their research findings at the Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM).

Dr. Nacorda’s article, “Beneath 50 m of NW Pacific Water: Coral Reefs on the Benham Bank Seamount off the Philippine Sea”, revealed the richness of the pristine reefscape of the seamount documented thru oceanographic sampling, voucher specimens collection, and opportunistic fishing. The article is co-authored with Romeo M. Dizon, of the Department of Biology, College of Science, University of the Philippines Baguio; Cleto L. Nañola, Jr., of the Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies, College of Science and Mathematics, University of the Philippines Mindanao; Patrice Bianca L. Roa-Chio and Fra-and Timothy R. Quimpo, of the McKeough Marine Center, Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan; Wilfredo Roehl Y. Licuanan, of the Department of Biology, College of Science, De La Salle University; Diovanie O. De Jesus, Porfirio M. Aliño, and Cesar L. Villanoy, from The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines, Diliman; and, Homer B. Hernandez and Lambert Anthony B. Meñez, also part of the Benham Rise exploration team.

Proudly the first Philippine research conducted in the site, the paper accounts for the “first records of mesophotic coral reef biodiversity” found on the Benham Bank- a seamount on the then Benham Rise, now the Philippine Rise by virtue of Executive Order No. 25 series of 2017.  It is, in fact, a hot issue nowadays as discussions arise as to the sovereign rights of the Philippines over this undersea region. The project was a Joint Cruise by the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute (UPMSI), UP Los Baños thru SESAM, and the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR). It was funded by the Department of Science and Technology.  Nacorda is a Study Leader of the project.

On the other hand, Arboleda’s paper titled, “Utilization of Putative Enterobacter Isolate and Substrates for Microbial Fuel Cells”, is based from an experiment that explored the potential of wastes as substrate for microbial fuel cells (MFC) to generate alternative energy. Over corn stover and domestic sewage, Dr.Arboleda discovered that fish farm sediments are the most practical substrates as they produced the highest voltage. He used an improvised MFC made of PVC pipes and food jars for this set-up.

These two papers were published in the Volume 20 No. 2 December 2017 issue of JESAM- an online and in-print semi-annual publication of SESAM-UPLB. It is an international peer-reviewed scientific journal indexed by the Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics), Elsevier BV Sciverse Scopus, Asean Citation Index, and is supported by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education.

These publications are available at the JESAM website ( and at the UPLB Journals Online ( (Cherry S. Padilla).


Project SARAI TechDep seminar conducted in Isabela

SARAI IsabelaParticipants during the SARAI field work at DA Cagayan Valley Research Center, Isabela.

The Deployment and Validation of SARAI Technologies (Project SARAI TechDep) conducted a training entitled “Bringing Smarter Technologies Closer to the Community” last February 5, 2018 at Department of Agriculture (DA)-Cagayan Valley Research Center, Ilagan, Isabela. Thirty-five municipal agriculture officers and agricultural technicians from the province of Isabela attended the training.

Dr. Loucel E. Cui, University Researcher II of the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), presented the project and the different technologies and systems it developed for the past three years. The SARAI Knowledge Portal, which serves as the central hub of SARAI was also introduced to the participants. While the Maize Nutrient Expert, a software developed by International Plant Nutrition Institute was discussed through a hands-on training using their mobiles phones/tablets and laptops.

Experts from the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology-Institute of Agricultural Engineering (CEAT-IAE) namely, Prof. Keynty Boy V. Magtoto, Engr. Yaminah Mochica M. Pinca, and Dr. Ronaldo B. Saludes, discussed the SARAI Soil Moisture Monitoring System. Included in their discussion were the soil moisture basic concepts, types of soil moisture meter, and the SARAI Soil Moisture Meter and Sensor. The team also presented the SARAI Soil Moisture Sensor-Based Irrigation Scheduler (SMSIS), a spreadsheet where the users of the SARAI Soil Moisture Meter and Sensor will input their data to know if their crop needs irrigation.

The last part of the training was the installation of the SARAI Soil Moisture Sensors in a corn field provided by DA-CVRC. The participants were shown the actual installation and reading of data from SARAI Soil Moisture Meter and Sensor. The said training was conducted in partnership with Cagayan Valley Agricultural and Aquatic Resources Research and Development (CVAARRD) and DA-CVRC.

Following its initial endeavors, SARAI is primed to proceed to its second phase and continue to develop and implement science-based crops, technologies, protocols and long term strategies geared towards maximizing crop yield and minimizing adverse environmental and climate impacts on selected crops. The Phase 2 of SARAI will start this year and will end on the year 2021. The project will focus on rice, corn, banana, coconut, coffee, cacao, sugarcane, and soybean. (RM Areglado)


SESAM Conducts Orientation for new students


Dr. Decibel Eslava, Dean, SESAM, told the new students during the orientation that "patience" is the key for the success of their studies.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) and the UPLB Environmental Science Society (EnviSoc) conducted a back-to-back orientation and general assembly last January 30, 2018 at SESAM Lecture Hall.

For this second semester 2017-28, there are 15 new MS and six new PhD students enrolled in the environmental science program.

During the orientation, Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean of SESAM thanked the new students who chose environmental science as their post-graduate course.  “Thanks for choosing to hone your knowledge and skills here in UPLB-SESAM”, Dr. Eslava said. She also told that the Office of the Dean and the Program for Instruction will always be welcome to assist them if they have a problem or issue regarding their studies. She also advised students to be patient with their studies, with the people they interact with, and even the facilities and equipment that they will use at SESAM.

Dr. Carmelita M. Rebancos, head of SESAM’s Program for Instruction briefed the new students with the policies, requirements, rules and regulations while taking the environmental science program. These include the pre-qualifying exam, subjects to be taken, cognate, written and oral comprehensive exams, thesis/dissertation and defense.

For her part, Dr. Loucel E. Cui, University Researcher II and current Laboratory Manager, introduced the SESAM Analytical Laboratory and the equipment available for student’s use.

For the first time in a SESAM student orientation, an anti-sexual harassment lecture was presented. Dr. Maria Helen H. Dayao, former head of the Office of the Anti-Sexual Harassment (OASH) and gender and development expert, discussed the coverage of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Law. She also advised the new students on how to interact and the behavior towards co-students, faculty and staff of the university. Dr. Dayao also discussed the possible penalties and punishment if an individual is found guilty of committing sexual harassment.

After the orientation, the UPLB EnviSoc, led by their president, Ms. Myleen L. Magistrado conducted a general assembly. Also present during the general assembly is SESAM professor Dr. Rico C. Ancog, Junior Adviser of the society. 

SESAM conducts MS Environmental Science Orientation in UP Mindanao

MSES UPMinUP Mindanao to offer MS Environmental Science. The faculty members of the School of Environmental Science-UPLB and the Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies-College of Sciences and Mathematics discussed the implementation of the MSES program in UP Mindanao. (photo courtesy of PJSanchez)

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) conducted an orientation and planning workshop for the implementation of the Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES) with the faculty members of the Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies, College of Science and Mathematics (DBSES-CSM), December 21, 2017 at the Lorenzo Hall, UP Mindanao, Davao City.

UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., an MSES graduate of SESAM, led the UPLB delegation. Also with him were Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean SESAM, Drs. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon, Carmelita M. Rebancos and Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, faculty members of SESAM. They served as resource persons during the orientation-workshop. UP Mindanao Chancellor Sylvia B. Concepcion, Vice-Chancellor Nilo B. Oponda,  Dr. Cleto L. Nanola, Jr., Department Chair, DBSES and Dr. Dominica D.M. Dacera, Dean, CSM, led the UP Mindanao faculty members who attended the orientation.

According to Dr. Patricia J. Sanchez, the MSES adoption by UP Mindanao is currently in the planning stage. “It will be implemented possibly next semester, 2018”, Dr. Sanchez added.

“It was very promising that UP Mindanao gave their commitment to adopt it. The next step is for them to make an internal assessment to plan for the adoption. This is SESAM’s mandate to help capacitate the region in developing environmental science as a major discipline”, Dr. Eslava said.

The program will be similar to MSES offering at UP Visayas, which will start on January 2018. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, economics and other social sciences may be admitted to the program. 

NUS Professor is the first JESAM Editors' Series Lecturer

dr taylor 1Dr. David Taylor of National University of Singapore is first JESAM Editor Lecture Series presentor.

The Journal of Environmental Science and Management (JESAM), conducted its first Editors' Lecture Series presentation at the SESAM Lecture Hall, December 12, 2017. The first Editorial Board lecturer is Dr. David Taylor, Professor, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore (NUS). The lecture series is part of the 20th anniversary celebration of JESAM.

Prior to joining NUS, Dr. Taylor was the Professor Geography at Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland (2001-2012), where he was also Head of Department (2001-2005), Head of School (2005-2008), Acting Senior Dean (2004-2006) and Chair of the Trinity International Development Initiative (2010-2012). For the past seven years, he has been a Member of the European Science Foundation (ESF) Research Review Panel. He has also served as Secretary to the Palaeoecology and Human Evolution Commission of INQUA (2003-2010); Member of the Board of Governors, Mary Robinson Foundation- Climate Justice (2010-2012); Member of the Governing Council: British Academy/British Institute in Eastern Africa (2001-2013); Member of the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) Committee on Climate Change (2001-07) and the RIA Committee for Geography (2004-06).

A tropical palaeoecologist by training, with over 30 years of experience of fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, Dr. Taylor’s research examines the human dimensions of environmental change. Most of his work and his most highly cited research papers, including articles in Nature– focuses on environmental, including climate, changes and the ways in which people and ecosystems respond to and interact with these at low latitudes in Africa and Asia.

Dr. Taylor’s presentation entitled “Past environmental changes recorded in lake sediments: warming- enhanced eutrophication in the seven crater lakes of San Pablo?” highlighted their fieldwork in lakes Sampalok, Yambo, Mohicap and Bunot. “We used sediment cores to get samples of trace elements and diatoms, which will determine the changes that happened in the lakes past 100 to 300 years” said Dr. Taylor. Based on their sediment cores, the samples on top of the tubes are the more recent while those at the bottom of the tube is the oldest. “The data shown more proliferation of trace elements and diatoms on the top portion of the core samples, it indicates the anthropogenic effects on the lakes in the past 100 hundred years, where there is an increase in population and activities”, Dr. Taylor added. These are more prevalent in Lakes Sampalok and Yambo, which are nearer to San Pablo City, with denser population, compared to Lakes Mohicap and Bunot, which are farther away from populated areas.

Dr. Taylor is willing to collaborate with local academic institutions like SESAM-UPLB, as he continues his research about the Seven Lakes. Currently, He has students from NUS and University of Santo Tomas conducting studies in the Seven Lakes. More than 60 SESAM faculty, staff and students, as well as the JESAM editorial team attended the lecture series.