Former Rep. Florencio Gabriel G. Noel and Rep. Victoria Isabel G. Noel: 2016 PFCS Awardees for Service to the Chemistry Profession

Representative Victoria Isabel Noel and former representative Florencio Gabriel Noel of An-Waray* Party List made a significant contribution to the upliftment of Chemistry in the Philippines being instrumental in the passage of the Chemistry Profession Act that was signed into law by the Philippine President a year ago. The new Chemistry Law regulates and modernizes the practice of Chemistry in the Philippines. It is more responsive to recent changes brought about by rapid developments in Chemistry, Science and Technology, the rise of international standards, global competition and also concerns for the environment, climate change, and sustainable development. The Law provides that Chemistry is vital to public safety, the national economy, and the protection of the environment. It is, therefore, the policy of the State to promote, regulate and protect the professional practice of chemistry and to ensure the continued development and high international standards of the practice of chemistry in the Philippines.

*An Waray party list aims to uplift, develop and improve the lives of people in region 8. Its mission is characterized by three main goals: partnership for community development, principled and integrity – oriented leadership and social services for the Filipino family. An Waray believes that the true response to the needs of the marginalized is to provide them with access to basic education, efficient social services and the ability to influence public policy and hold public institutions accountable.

Ms. Ludivinia B. Avendaño: 2016 PFCS Awardee for Chemical Industry

Ms. Ludivinia “Ludy” Avendaño’s more than three decades of service to various leading companies is testament to her being an outstanding asset to the Chemical Industry as a whole. In a span of 36 years in the industry – from the laboratory to Quality Assurance to Business Process Management, inside and outside the country – she continuously apply the fundamentals and basic technical concepts of Chemistry learned from her alma mater. These technical concepts do not include the likes of “particle in a box “ theories , hard core laboratory researches, nor sophisticated chemical reactions, but rather, the unpretentious applications of Chemistry used in the industry such as materials and product specification testing applying the proper laboratory tools and techniques, correct Sampling, Quality Control and Quality Assurance, Quality Systems, Process Control, Productivity, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Leadership and Management, which she has adhered to consistently using the discipline and determination learned while doing the unknowns in her Quantitative Chemistry days in UP among so many lectures and laboratory works in the life of a Chemistry student.

Ms. Ludivinia “Ludy” Avendaño is currently, the Quality and Process Manager, Region Quality Assurance of Zuellig Pharma Asia Pacific, responsible for providing leadership and direction to its QA Function to deliver measurable improvements utilizing continuous improvement strategies, to drive harmonization of standard operational and quality-related processes and to develop appropriate actions to reduce variations and eliminate wastes.
Before Zuellig, she honed her skills as a chemist and a leader from her experiences in UP Diliman, San Miguel Corporation, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, and Coca Cola Bottlers Investment Group. She held various company leadership positions exhibiting excellence in carrying out her duties and constantly producing exemplary output for the company. She does not shy away from responsibilities whether chemistry related tasks or not as she sees them as challenges. She believes that “the world is open for us to embrace; be ready to take over. Yes, it will not be easy but we Chemists are ahead of the League”.

Rising from the ranks, Ludy started as a water laboratory chemist in one of the SMC Breweries. She later moved to Production as an Asst. Brew Master supervising the Brewing Operations. She was transferred back to QA Function as a Plant QA Manager then moved up to various QA leadership positions until her appointment as Beverage QA Manager of SMC Corporate Technical Services Directorate where she retired after 20 years of service. In Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCBPI), she worked as the Senior Asst. Vice-President and Quality Assurance Director responsible for the Quality Assurance programs of the integrated Carbonated and Non-carbonated Beverages Operations. Ms. Avendaño moved to Zuellig Pharma Asia Pacific in 2015.

Ms. Avendaño is one of the Board of Directors of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP). She made valuable contributions in assisting the Board of Chemistry draft the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Chemistry Profession Act (New Chemistry Law).

Ludy is a mother to two daughters and a son; a wife to a very supportive loving husband; a sister and a daughter; a niece and a sister-in-law; and takes pride in being a mentor and a friend.

Dr. Relicardo M. Coloso: 2016 PFCS Awardee for Chemical Research

In a nutshell, the story of Dr. Relicardo M. Coloso’s career is that of a boy who grows up in Iloilo, leaves the comforts of home for further education and training, and returns to his hometown as an accomplished scientist. Dr. Coloso is currently based in Iloilo as a Scientist of the Nutrition and Feed Development Section, Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).

To the scientific community, Reli is known for his work on fish nutrition, nutritional biochemistry, and feed development for food species e.g. milkfish, tiger shrimp, Asian sea bass, grouper, and mud crab. His work is described in several scientific papers (>40) published in international journals and proceedings. He has also co-authored a textbook on Nutrition in Tropical Aquaculture which was awarded the 2004 Outstanding Book Award by the National Academy of Science and Technology.

He holds adjunct faculty appointments at the Central Philippine University and the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, both in Iloilo.

His academic credentials include a PhD in Nutritional Sciences (Cornell), a MS in Chemistry (Univ. Of the Philippines – College of Medicine), and a BS in Chemistry cum laude (Univ. of the Philippines, Diliman). He has also held research fellowships at Cornell, the New Jersey Medical School, and at the Institute of Marine Biochemistry (Aberdeen, Scotland).

Reli is also an avid student of cultures other than of our own, and makes it a point to visit less-travelled destinations.

Acceptance Speech

Good evening everyone!

Thank you very much for this wonderful award from colleagues and peers in the field of chemistry represented by the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS). When I was growing up and coming from a small town Iloilo was then, I initially found the chemistry subject at the PSHS very challenging and difficult that I almost gave up. With excellent guidance and mentoring from my chemistry teacher the subject became much more interesting and she made me realize that chemistry is an important stepping stone to other fields because it is at the core of most of them. And of course, that if I was good at it, I would surely grab a college science scholarship which was a really big incentive for a student in secondary school to try harder. And she was right after all. Much later on, my undergraduate and graduate professors, taught me the virtues of determination, hard work, patience, and perseverance that are needed in one’s professional life in research here in the country be it in biochemistry, aquaculture or other fields of endeavor. They all made me realize that success in our chosen work does not come easy. It takes a lot of determination and hard work to achieve more and a lot of patience to stay the course.

You all heard me talk about our research work this morning. Aquaculture research, when it started, was way behind agriculture research by more than three decades and work here in Southeast Asia started even much later than that. Suffice it to say that our small group was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to pioneer in tropical aquaculture nutrition research here in Southeast Asia. Our efforts led to the better understanding of the nutrient requirements, feed development and feeding of our economically important tropical aquaculture species such as milkfish, prawn, tilapia, and a few other species.

I have so many people to thank for. Our group was fortunate to train with the world’s best fish nutritionists who were so generous with their knowledge and time. Secondly, I want to thank my science mentors from elementary school all the way to graduate school and scholarship sponsors particularly the PSHS, DOST, PCAARRD and Fulbright scholarships, for giving me the educational opportunities and ample scientific training needed to become a productive researcher in this field. I also want to thank SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department that nurtured us and gave us the job that supported our families all these years and the many generous funding agencies that financially supported our work. Colleagues, research assistants, graduate students, and support staff at work, not to mention even the drivers, who drove us back and forth to our research stations and field sites to do our research, as well as to many close friends who gave support, unselfishly lent their precious time and ideas and shared many happy moments. For my family, I thank them for the love, support and understanding for the many times and years I had to be away to complete my training and do my work at SEAFDEC. I am truly grateful, too, to Dr. Nestor Valera, who was one of those who convinced me to join SEAFDEC in its formative years and for nominating me to the Awards Committee, and to the Federation for this precious award. To the Lord up there, thank you for all the blessings big and small all these years and for holding us in the safety of your hands. Finally, to all of you, tonight is nothing without your love and support for our chemistry societies and for what they stand for, thank you for being here. May you continue to lend your strong support to the Federation and our chemistry societies and help promote their advocacies. May you enjoy the rest of the evening and the rest of the Congress.

Thank you for this award and good evening!

Myrna S. Rodriguez, PhD: 2016 PFCS Awardee for Chemical Education – Tertiary Level

Dr. Myrna S. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in Chemistry and currently Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of the Philippines Los Baños where she has served as faculty member of the Institute of Chemistry since her graduation from the BS Agricultural Chemistry program of the University. She earned her Master’s degree in Agricultural Chemistry, also from UPLB, and her doctoral degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry (Bioinorganic Chemistry) from La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Chemistry, general education courses, and some science education courses in the Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Science Teaching (BSMST) program of UPLB, and in the PhD in Education program of UP Open University.

Dr. Rodriguez has been involved in curriculum and course development and in the preparation of teaching materials both for secondary and tertiary level chemistry or physical science courses. She has taught courses delivered in distance mode at the UP Open University and participated in developing procedures to connect distance learners with their teachers at the time when the network connections are not as commonplace as today. She participated in developing standards for the BS Chemistry program as a member of the sub-Technical Panel in Chemistry of CHED in the early 2000s, and in proposing reforms in the educational system as part of the Technical Working Group on Teacher Welfare of the Philippine Council for Educational Reform (PCER) under the administration of Pres. Joseph Estrada.

Her interest in Chemistry began while a student at the Philippine Science High School, where she realized the importance of the classroom teacher in shaping the attitudes of learners. The passion for teaching and teaching well grew with her constant involvement even as a young faculty in the workshops and teacher trainings conducted by Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) and in past Chemistry Congresses. She eventually became president of the association, and it was under her watch that the PACT held the Young Ambassadors for Chemistry (YAC) activity of the IUPAC and Science Across the World, with the help of various private organizations.

In the current flurry of activities as the K to 12 curriculum is being implemented, Dr. Rodriguez is actively involved in DepEd-organized trainings and in those conducted by private groups and PACT. She takes part in the curriculum revisions going on in the University, both in Chemistry courses and in the GE program that are affected by the K to 12 courses. She is also one of the team leaders in the writing of teachers guides for the chemistry course for the Senior High School under a project of PNU and CHED.

Dr. Rodriguez is a recipient of the Regional Award for Tertiary Level of the Juan Salcedo Jr. Award for Science Education given by DOST, CHED and DECS, the CAS Distinguished Alumni Award in Education and a KKP-Southern Tagalog Achievement Award in Education.

Dr. Rochelle T. Papasin: 2016 PFCS Awardee for Chemistry Education – Secondary Level

As a high school chemistry teacher, Dr. Rochelle T. Papasin brings into her classrooms meaningful insights from her experiences growing up in a university town with parents who were both university science professors, from her industrial background as a research chemist, and from her formal academic training.

Rochelle has won many awards such as the Metrobank Outstanding Teacher Award (2009) and International Leaders in Education Program Fellowship (Clemson University, South Carolina, 2010). Her academic credentials include a PhD in Education (University of Immaculate Concepcion, Davao City), Master of Chemistry (Ateneo de Manila), MA in Science Education (University of Southeastern Philippines, Davao City), and a BS in Chemistry cum laude (Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City).

She started her professional career initially as an agricultural chemist at International Rice Research Institute (Laguna) and at the Cocoa Investors, Inc. (Davao del Sur). With the opening of the first PSHS campus outside of Metro Manila, she decided to re-enter the academic world as a chemistry teacher at the Philippine Science High School – Southern Mindanao Campus in 1991. She earned all of her graduate degrees while working at PSHS – SMC.

Rochelle continues to live and breathe science to this day. In addition to supervising her high school chemistry classes and research teams, she and her husband Sem are busy raising a family of three college-age children who are also into science and mathematics.

Acceptance Speech
To the honored guests, the officers and members of the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies, good evening.

It has been sometime since I referred to myself as a chemist. For the longest time I have considered myself as a chemistry teacher. It is a job title I feel most comfortable with.
My entry into the chemistry profession started with DOST. Back then and I reveal my age here, it was called NSDB which later transformed to NSTA and then DOST. My having passed the NSDB scholarship made me choose BS Chemistry for two reasons: my mother was a chemistry professor in the university and my high school chemistry teacher ( in the University of Southern Mindanao, Kabacan , Cotabato) inspired me and was proud of my good scores. It was a choice I never regretted. I thank DOST for the opportunity offered to me. I would like to thank my mentors in Ateneo de Davao and Ateneo de Manila for my training in chemistry. I would to specially thank Dr. Nestor Valera who was my adviser and who nominated me to this award.

When I began teaching in high school, I found an eager audience among my students. I felt and still feel the compulsion to fuel this enthusiasm. I realized it was not only the content that mattered to the young learners. The delivery of the lesson was equally important. So I have embraced the idea of being a lifelong learner, always trying to find ways to make the lesson click. I was once asked, “What is your philosophy in teaching?” I had no answer back then. But the question rankled in my mind. So my teaching philosophy began to take shape. I decided that I teach so that my learners will not only acquire the desired proficiency but also to love learning. That said, I have been in a continued pursuit of ways to get the students attention and to make the lessons relevant. It hasn’t been easy. High school kids can be harsh. In one of my recent evaluations, I read the line, “I don’t understand why you have to compel me to count the number of particles in a spoonful of sugar. I am very sure I will not use this knowledge in my life”. Another one said, “I was excited to take Chemistry. I thought we will have fireworks and explosions like they show in cartoons. How come our experiments are boring?”. So I learned to use You Tube to show the explosive reactions. That was a poor substitute but it seemed to satisfy. After sometime in class, the kids begin to acknowledge the significance of our lessons. Whenever I see at least one of my students visibly reacting with an “Aha!” moment, I know I have succeeded. Still more fulfilling is when some years after graduation, they visit and express thanks for having understood the lessons I taught especially the ones they didn’t like in high school.

My other mission as a teacher is to encourage my students to take up BS Chemistry. I tried to inject stories about people and scientists. In one lesson, before I introduced the Law of Conservation of Matter, I showed an elaborate presentation of the life of Antoine Lavoisier and the events that led to his death during the French Revolution. I remember my audience was in rapt attention and some of them engaged me in conversations in the hallway. This was a lesson in second year. After their four year stay in PSHS, the students had an exit conference and one of the questions asked was, “What was your most memorable lesson?” One replied, “I learned about French Revolution in my chemistry class”. I share this story to emphasize that scientists are not images in lab coats but real people living real lives. That made sense to the students, prompting a good number of them to take up BS Chemistry.

Recently, I linked up with UP Mindanao to help my students in their research projects. It was quite an easy arrangement as the College Dean was a parent, while the College Secretary was a former student. While we were in the lab, I demonstrated to my student how to use the pipet properly. The research assistant suddenly blurted out, “You know Ma’am, you were the one who taught me how to pipet. In fact, I took up BS Chemistry because of you.” At that moment, I knew I have come full circle. A high school teacher encouraged me to take up BS Chemistry and now, I have returned the favor. In fact, among my students, I see a good number of them doing valuable work and others have PhD’s now. When I try to read their researches, I realize that I am unable to understand the high level chemistry that they do now. That knowledge amazes me and makes me happy. I understand that my role in life is to be high school chemistry teacher. I open the doors for my students to begin their journeys into fulfilling careers in chemistry. It has been said, “When your students have surpassed you, you have succeeded as a teacher”. I thank the Philippine Science High School Southern Mindanao Campus for providing me the opportunity to fulfill my role as a chemistry teacher. I am proud of my students. This award belongs to them.

Thank you and good evening.

QA/QC in the Laboratory

The Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry (PIPAC) wil be holding a seminar-workshop on QA/QC in the Laboratory on June 30 to July 1 at the PIPAC building, Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.

The seminar fee is PHP 6000/person inclusive of training materials, lunch and snacks. Payment may be made upon registration or paid in advance to the account of Philippine Institute of Pure and Applied Chemistry, BPI Loyola Heights with account number 3081 0451 85. Please fax/email the validated deposit.

We look forward to see you in the workshop. For more information, please contact

Eric A. Angeles
+632 4266072

Ronaldo M. Fabicon

By Mark Adam Ferry

What has science done for you lately?  This is rhetorical question a common person would easily blurt out in desperation. Have you noticed laundry detergents generating desirable voluminous suds in the washing process to clean the laundry? However, while ample suds are desirable during cleaning, it typically takes between multiple rinses to remove them, translating to water wastage as well as added energy or labor cost. Here comes a patented invention that dared to improve this laundering dilemma providing a liquid laundry detergent containing 0.01-1% of a silicone-containing suds suppressor and thus saving water.

The patent inventor previously described is Ronaldo Fabicon, an alumnus of Pennsylvania State University with a doctorate degree of inorganic chemistry with a specialization in organometallic chemistry and catalysis. His research area is inorganic chemistry, and focuses on both heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis. Currently, he is working on the use of surfactants, polymers, and the complexes of both synthesis of active-release agents. Included in this research is the interaction of surfactants with inorganic materials like zeolites in complexes. He also dabbles in using zeolite for the catalysis of the production of biodiesel.

As a researcher in the Philippine context, he notes that one of the main struggles he experienced is the limited access if not unavailability of high-tech instruments used for characterization. “Because of these limitations, sometimes, we cannot to research that we are most interested in. We look at research that can be done here in the Philippines using the equipment and the raw materials we have instead.” The industry in the country has a lot of potential to grow as well. “The good thing is that we are doing basic research which will be very useful here in the Philippines. Example, one of the research I hope to do is on biodiesel and looking to improve the catalysis on that. Eventually, it will lead to research that will help the industry and the use of it here.” Ronaldo hopes for a future that involves more high-tech research instead of the basic research that we do here today.

In terms of being a professor in the Ateneo, he states that the quality of chemistry education given by universities in the Philippines is almost at par with other developed countries with a more rigorous culture for science and research. “Based from my experience in universities in the United States and when I was in China.” For chemistry education in the country, he is already satisfied with the level of learning being done now, but he is more interested how far the Philippines will progress once the ASEAN integration is in full effect. “I think there will be a lot of improvement for research.”

Outside the laboratory, he loves tinkering with used computers he salvages. “I don’t know how I came to love this, but I buy a non-working computer and look at what’s inside. I try to some things work. I don’t have any education on computers and electronics, but it’s a hobby of mine; the thrill of self-discovery and the things that you can make of it.”