University of the Philippines Los Baños

The UPLB Horizon is issued quarterly and features news, feature articles, research and extension updates, literary pieces, and information of general interest to UPLB and its publics. For contributions, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





UPLB served as a venue of the technical tour component of the 6th Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation (PSSTI 6) on August 12.

Dignitaries from APEC member economies visited UPLB and learned about its research programs on addressing food security in the country, as well as that of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

PSSTI 6 runs from August 10-12 and is one of the series of APEC activities being hosted by the country this year. In a message by Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo during the PSSTI opening at the Philippine International Convention Center, he said that PSSTI “serves as a venue for formulating S&T-based policy recommendations and concrete actions to enhance the capacity for and promote an environment conducive to innovation” among APEC member economies. (JPA Aquino, with reports from releases)



UPLB has just concluded its first Academic Leadership Conference (ALC) at the Subic Holiday Villas, which Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. said is part of UPLB’s effort to set the bar of academic excellence higher, to move the benchmark beyond Philippine shores and to remain progressive, relevant and globally competitive as a research and graduate university.


In his keynote speech at the ALC themed “Pathways to a globally competitive research and graduate University,” UP President Alfredo E. Pascual said that only an internationally oriented research and graduate university can provide the specialized knowledge, innovation, and postgraduate mentoring that our nation needs to compete in the global economy.


The ALC was power- and information-packed with thought leaders sharing their knowledge and experiences on global competitiveness for research and graduate universities. In essence, these thought leaders from the National University of Singapore and the UP System, as well as a national scientist and academicians of the National Academy of Science and Technology, said that leadership and governance are the keys toward making a University globally competitive in the higher and graduate education and in the research arena.


In her talk on “The UP Faculty: a national treasure and wealth,” UP Vice President Giselle Concepcion highlighted the potentials of harnessing UP’s high-caliber manpower through leading, living and giving, or through research and creative work, teaching and mentoring, and public service  functions respectively.


Two speakers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) talked about academic leadership. Dr. N. Varaprasad, also a partner and principal consultant of the Singapore Education Consulting Group, discussed how leaders treat change and the need for leaders to implement reforms. He said that we must embrace change and reforms and that this requires a leader who is a visionary of future needs. On the other hand, Dr. N. Lakshminaryanan Samavedham, director of the NUS Centre for Development of Learning and Teaching, said that the University must provide an enabling  culture for excellence through active learning. Dr. Grace Alfonso, UPOU chancellor, demonstrated how academic leaders can use technology to transform pedagogy and connectivity – and democratize as well as internationalize learning.


A panel discussion on “Academic Leadership and University Governance: Looking Back, Moving Forward” capped the first day of the conference. Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias, vice chancellor for community affairs, facilitated the discussion with top caliber science educators and administrators on internationalization, research and development policies and linkages, and faculty profile improvement. The panelists were Dr. Dolores Ramirez, national scientist; Dr. William Padolina, academician; Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina, former UP Open University chancellor and current president of the Centro Escolar University; and Dr, Carmencita David-Padillia, academician and UP Manila chancellor.


The second day of the UPLB ALC provided as many gems of information as the first day did with resource persons sharing their experiences as mentors, researchers, research administrators, and recipients of outstanding teacher awards. The talks fueled up the two discussion sessions that ensued among the participants and with University leaders.


The first session, “Promoting the Culture of Excellence Through Teaching” by Dr. John Florencio Lapeña, Jr., University Scientist III at UP Manila, focused on effective mentoring; understanding the mentoring process; actions of effective mentors; and the differences between mentoring vs. coaching. 


Dr. Lapeña’s talk set the tone for the panel discussion on teaching excellence that was facilitated by Prof. Jerry Yapo, a faculty member at the Department of Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences. The discussants, namely: Dr. Virginia C. Cuevas, Dr. Merlyn S. Mendioro, Prof. Rolando G. Panopio, Prof. Jeanette B. Madamba, and Dr. Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo had all received the Outstanding Teacher Award from UPLB. They shared their experiences and best practices for effective mentoring. The panel also engaged the participants and administrators in a discussion of concerns and issues related to providing an enabling atmosphere for effective mentoring.


The second speaker, Dr. Mark Gregory Robson, professor in plant biology and pathology at the Rutgers University, presented their innovative graduate degree program, the Professional Science Master’s (PSM). The PSM, which is interdisciplinary in character, emphasizes effective communication and problem solving, and provides an understanding of the entrepreneurial spirit and technical innovation.


Dr. Philip Ian P. Padilla, who talked about the role of a faculty regent in ensuring the welfare of faculty members, also discussed initiatives and plans to increase the honorarium for undergraduate theses advising; the possibility of having  hazard pay and a harmonized promotion instrument; and collaborations in academic, research, and public service across campuses.


Academician and UPLB Professor Emeritus Salcedo Eduardo gave recommendations on how UPLB could strengthen the culture of research and publication in UPLB.  According to him, a research culture ensures continuity of the research process among the students and the research community. 


A panel discussion on strengthening the culture of research and publication followed with Dr. Aaron Joseph Vilaraza, deputy director of the UP Office of International Linkages; Dr. Juan Pulhin, UP Scientist; and former USec for Science and Technology Fortunato dela Peña as panelists. The discussion that was facilitated by Dr. Jaine Reyes focused on research productivity in UP and how the UP can nurture an environment that fosters R&D productivity.


On the third day of the ALC, Dr. J. Prospero De Vera III, UP vice president for public affairs, gave a talk on how the University could push the frontiers of its public service engagement. According to him, the Unversity should learn to integrate its public service efforts for better impact as well as document and move for public service at UP to be known and recognized.


The ALC, organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, led by Dr. Portia Lapitan with Dr. Jose Camacho, Jr., Graduate School dean and program coordinator, is the first of a series for UPLB. UPLB officials had already participated in ALCs held by the UP System and the National University of Singapore.  


(Photo courtesy of Lucas Cabalse) 





An ICT-based crop forecasting system enables
farmers to decide on planting dates for higher crop
yields and higher net income. (Photo courtesy of SARAI)

 ICT-based tools and systems that guide farmers on the best time to plant and help researchers determine the impact of climate change on a forest; web-based maps that identify areas at risk to natural calamities using a free software; and a tool which enables one to trace the source of pork sold in grocery stores. These are just among the ICT-based tools that UPLB scientists and researchers presented at the ICT Asia 2015 Regional Workshop on May 25-26 held at SEARCA in the UPLB campus.

ICT-Asia is an annual scientific conference that focuses on the applications of information and communication technology (ICT) on climate change modeling and monitoring, disaster risk reduction, food security, and urban and rural informatics. Spearheaded by the French Government and held in collaboration with SEARCA, UNESCO, and IRRI, ICT Asia 2015 drew participants among systems developers and scientists from Asia, including five from UPLB.

Dr. Felino P. Lansigan, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor at the Institute of Statistics, presented a crop forecasting system (CFS) that enables farmers to decide on planting dates for higher crop yields and higher net income, or minimize their losses due to extreme weather events.

Concepcion L. Khan, assistant professor at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS), presented a collaborative portal framework that features adaptive planting calendars, early warning system, and nutrient and pest advisories that aim to help farmers increase their yield, or minimize their losses due to extreme weather conditions.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, professor at the Institute of Renewable and Natural Resources and director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems, proposed an automated system of gathering data on forest tree parameters using radio-frequency identification and geomatics. This will help researchers determine the impact of climate change on tree growth and resiliency, and on forest dynamics.

Prof. Jaderick Pabico, also from ICS, presented a system that ensures meat quality and safety through a nationwide pork tracking system that uses an RFID device to monitor the process that the product went through before it reached the market.

On the other hand, Charmaine Marie A. Pabelico, a fourth year BS Computer Science student of ICS, developed a web-based geohazard map for the local government unit of Los Baños, Laguna using an open source software. The web-based map voids the use of expensive and complex licensed software in developing standard geohazard maps.

The opening program saw the gathering of top officials from various Asian and French organizations.

In his message, Dr. Gil C. Saguitguit, Jr., director of SEARCA,  expressed his desire for Southeast Asia’s continuous strong ties with French research institutions in advancing agricultural and rural development. Likewise, UPLB Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr., called for stronger research partnerships among the participants.

Dr. Amelia P. Guevara, undersecretary for research and development of the Department of Science and Technology, commended the gathering of bilateral partners. She said that ICT has become ubiquitous and integrated in daily life and she cited DOST programs that are making full use of ICT, such as Project NOAH and DREAM.

Prof. Kanchana Kancha-nasut, vice president for research of the Asian Institute of Technology based in Thailand, highlighted the need for more participation in climate change research. She noted that the original idea of bringing together French and Southeast Asian ICT researchers has grown into a wide and strong network of institutions and people.

His Excellency Gilles Garachon, French Ambassador to the Philippines, noted the importance of ICT Asia 2015 in solving food production and climate change issues. He said that the map of the world is changing because of climate change and that  the current generation must ensure that “food is available, air is fresh, and there is water” for future generations.

Meanwhile, André de Bussy, counselor for regional cooperation for the ASEAN of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, discussed the contributions of ICT in fostering regional cooperation and its vital role in disaster risk reduction and management.

               Also present were Dr. Luc le Calvez, director of the Office for Southeast Asia of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), who encouraged participants to collaborate with the the CNRS; and Dr. Jean-Pascual Torreton, representative in Vietnam and Regional Coordinator for Asia of the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), who noted that the conference’s purpose is closely linked with their organization’s aim of helping developing countries and encouraging research development while mutualizing research benefits. (OPR release)





Dr. David Manalo (2nd fr left) proudly displays his award plaque. With him are His Excellency Josef Mulluer,
Ambassador of Austria to the Philippines; Dr. Florentino Monsalud, director of the ASC-FSSRI; Dr. Manalo’s
wife Pacita; and Ms. Lisa Koscak, commercial counsellor of the Austrian Embassy. (Photo courtesy of ASC/FSSRI)


A simple and low-cost early warning system (EWS) for communities that face heightened risks of landslides especially during heavy rains has won yet another international prize.

“Bell and Bottle: Low cost EWS for landslide-prone communities in remote areas,” a technology developed by Dr. David Manalo, a university researcher at the Farming Systems and Soil Resources Institute (FSSRI) of the Agricultural Systems Cluster was one of two projects that the Energy Globe Foundation named in its 2015 National Award for the Philippines. This award is referred to as the largest and most important environmental prize in the world.

In 2009, this project had won in the challenge “to come up with an idea in local communities to help save the planet and people from the effects of climate change” posed in the Ninth Global Development Marketplace sponsored by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Danish MFA), and the World Bank (WB) Institute.

The Energy Globe Foundation cited Manalo’s Bell and Bottle innovation which is used as an EWS for hard-to-reach landslide-prone communities. The foundation recognized how people were trained to use the EWS.

The Bell and the Bottle EWS has saved no less than 20 villages where no casualties were reported since the project was implemented.

Over 170 countries participated in this year’s awards with over 1,500 project submissions.

The two winners received a certificate from the Energy Globe Foundation signed by the foundation’s Jury chairperson Maneka Gandhi and Energy Globe’s founder Wolfgang Neumann. The Energy Globe Foundation was founded by Wolfgang Neumann, an Austrian energy pioneer. The awards given by the foundation focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy. (with report from



CHED Sangalang

The Graduate School will hold its hooding and recognition rites at the DL Umali Hall on July 3 with an institution builder and a commissioner of higher education to give the keynote address to the graduating class.  Dr. Ruperto S. Sangalang is an alumnus, having worked on his master’s degree in agricultural economics and extension education at UPLB. He finished his Ph.D. in international development and planning as a Fulbright-Hays scholar at the Ohio State University in the United States.

A President Emeritus of Cavite State University, Dr. Sangalang has been on secondment to the Commission on Higher Education as a commissioner since 2012. Dr. Sangalang served the Cavite State University as its president for more than 20 years (1983 to 2008).

A visiting professorial lecturer of  UPLB, Dr. Sangalang’s professional interest include management of and quality assurance in higher education institutions, comparative education systems, agricultural education and administration, and rural and international development. Dr. Sangalang was recently conferred the International Alumni Award from the Ohio State University.

(Photo from: