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.

Maureen M. Pasciolco: 2015 PFCS Awardee for Chemical Industry

For Maureen Mitra Pasiolco, owner of Pasciolco Agri-Venture, coconut products have greatly changed her life. Her company manufactures coconut-based products such as virgin coconut oil, nata de coco, coconut vinegar, coconut jam, coco-nut sap sugar, coconut sap syrup and other coconut by-products.

She started her business in 1993, when demand for nata de coco picked up in Japan. Now they developed their own natural coconut vinegar, their very famous coconut jam, virgin coconut oil (VCO) and lately the coconut sap sugar and coconut sap syrup for diabetic people. The Agriculture and Trade Department as well as the Philippine Coconut Authority assisted Maureen in terms of marketing and promotion. The Department of Science and Technology gave them trainings making their products known not only locally but also in the international market.

Maureen is happy that her Virgin Coconut Oil and other products are now being exported to US, Canada, Japan, Europe and Asian countries. The goods of Pasciolo Agri-Venture got recognition as Kosher Certified and Organic Certified products. This gives her more reason to make sure that the good quality of the products is maintained.

At present, Maureen is happily married to Lito Pascioclo. They have four children, namely, Mary Anjaneth Pasci-olco, a secon year medical student of UERM, Marianne Pasciolco, a dentistry student at UP Manila, Michelle Pasciolco who is taking up Physical Therapy at UERM and Mark Joseph Pasciolco, a Chemical Engineering student at UP Diliman. Maureen says that despite her busy schedule, she makes sure that she spends quality time with her family.

William G. Padolina, PhD: 2015 PFCS Awardee for Chemical Research

Dr. William G. Padolina, professor and academician, is the current president of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). His professional career is truly a rich convergence of his roles as scientist, teacher, researcher, administrator, and policy maker. His career began when he entered the BS Agricultural Chemistry program from which he graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), became a licensed chemist immediately after. He earned his Ph.D. in Botany/Phytochemistry from University of Texas in a straight Ph.D. program as a Fulbright-Hays scholar and pursued postdoctoral studies at the world famous carotenoid chemistry laboratories of Prof. Synnove Liaaen-Jensen, Norwegian Institute of Technology (now the Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Trondheim, Norway.

He rose from Instructor to full Professor of Chemistry at the UPLB, where he mentored numerous students, headed research groups, and held various administrative positions, including being Director of the Institute of Chemistry, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Director of the National Institutes of Microbiology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), and Assistant to the President of the University. He was appointed Secretary of Science and Technology by President Fidel V. Ramos from 1994 to 1998 and was retained by President Joseph Estrada until 31 January 1999. He was former President of the 40th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Di-rector for External Relations of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and later the Deputy Director General for Operations until his retirement. He continues to serve as consultant and senior advisor of IRRI. He served as Chair of the Technical Panel for Food and Agriculture of the Joint Philippine Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering from 2008 to 2010. He became a member of the Executive Board of the National Academy of Science and Technology and currently the President of the National Academy of Science and Technology. He was member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (2001-2012) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (2002-2011). He is currently also Senior Fellow at the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), member and at present, manager of the CHED Technical Working Group for PCARI, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Euromed Laboratories, Inc.

The leadership and wisdom that Dr. Padolina brought into his various roles earned him numerous awards, including the Tree of Life Award for Research in Coconut by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the Award of Excellence in Science and Engineering by the Philippine Development Foundation USA, the Merit Medal “For the cause of agriculture and rural development in Vietnam” , awarded by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the ASEAN Meritorious Service Award in Science and Technology, Philippine Legion of Honor (Rank of Officer) by both President Fidel V. Ramos and President Joseph Estrada, Philippine Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Outstanding Professional in Chemistry, Outstanding Alumnus Professional in Chemistry by UPAA in 1995, UP System Out-standing Administrator in 1988, Pantas Award in Research Management by PCARRD, Ten Outstanding Young Men Award in the field of Science and Technology in 1985, and Outstanding Young Scientist in Phytochemistry in 1982. In 2010, he was named one of UPLB Centennial Fellows, and was also given a special award of recognition as an Outstanding Citizen of Los Baños.

His research interests include the chemistry of the coconut — production of novel derivatives of coconut fatty ac-ids; medicinal plants chemistry – isolation, identification and biological testing of novel active constituents of Philippine medicinal plants, particularly those with anti-allergy and anti-diabetic properties; acetone-butanol production from molasses using Clostridium acetobutylicum, and biogas production from cellulosic wastes like coconut coir dust and fiber and rice straw. Due to the various positions he has held, his research has widened to those needed in policy making, hence his interest in Science Policy and Food Security.

As Director of BIOTECH and Secretary of DOST, he had exhorted the need to continuously improve products of research, and often chided research personnel on the attitude of “puwede na”. At DOST, he promoted a development agenda that made use of technological advances in agriculture, manufacturing and services, education pro-gram for improvement of technological and research management system. He pushed STAND (Science & Technology Agenda for National Development), identifying specific commodities, products and services as export winners. He aimed for the development of S&T human resources through the Engineering and Science Education Project (ESEP), which provided support for scholars in science, engineering, science education, and technology management. The Science and Technology Scholarship Act was implemented alongside parallel programs of the Science Education Institute and other DOST councils. He also implemented the PhNet project, which linked the country to the Internet. The Magna Carta for S&T Personnel became RA 8439 in 1997 through the efforts of Dr. Padolina. It was during his time that IRRI acted as the coordinating institution for the golden rice network, for the development of rice varieties containing significant amount of beta-carotene, as a response to findings of increasing Vitamin A deficiency in the world population.

Today, in many of his speaking engagements as president of NAST, Dr. Padolina continues to emphasize that importance of the role of science and technology in nation building. Science and technology, he stresses, could significantly “contribute to national development by providing the country the tools and means to meet the challenges of globalization and empowerment while responding to the needs of the economically disadvantaged”.

Ronaldo C. Reyes: 2015 PFCS Awardee for Chemistry Education (Secondary Level)

Mr. Ronaldo C. Reyes is currently serving as Master Teacher I of Tabaco National High School. He has diligently and consistently displaying all the time a high level of performance as a classroom Chemistry teacher for almost 11 years and a winning coach in various Chemistry, Science & Research competitions. He also served as demonstration teacher, organizer, facilitator, resource speaker and trainer in Chemistry and Research.

Mr. Reyes served as key teacher/ subject coordinator in Chemistry and a division test constructor in Chemistry. He also served as the Science Club Adviser and YES- O adviser in the school and the division and an officer in various professional organizations.

Mr. Reyes has devised various instructional materials in Chemistry and other science subjects like Strategic Intervention Materials (SIM), ICT materials, activity sheets, and modules. He also mentored other teachers especially when it comes to Science content and strategies and usually opens himself for service to colleagues who needed his assistance both in ICT and Research.
Mr. Reyes has various Chemistry articles published in professional and educational magazines from national to international circulations. He also authored the National Achievement Test (NAT) Reviewer used in the school and the whole province of Albay. He conducted action researches in Chemistry Education and became research presenter in various international conferences. He also served as DepEd scholar for the one month training course in Science abroad.

Mr. Reyes didn’t confine his profession in the four walls of the classroom. He also reached out with the community and initiated various projects like seminar- workshop on global warming, climate change, disaster prepared-ness as well as the Community Agri tech Project. Another significant project he implemented is the Chem- Connect Project, which was adjudged as the National Most Innovative Classroom Management Award conferred by the Science Education Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST- SEI) last August 15, 2014. The said project, which was evaluated, validated, and monitored by various experts nationwide, is a school and community- based project, which aimed to enhance inquiry skills of the students regarding Chemistry concepts and promote practical applications of Chemistry in daily life activities. One of the features of the project is the Chemistry Promotion in the Community/ Barangays in which during weekends, Mr. Reyes, together with the TNHS students, promoted the various practical applications of Chemistry, especially those concepts that can serve as means of livelihood of the people in the barangay. The teacher- nominee generated additional funding source and linked with the Local Government Unit of Tabaco, barangay officials, General Parents-Teachers Association and the school administration in the implementation of the project.

Because of his achievements in various fields, Mr. Reyes emerged as winners in various competitions in Science. He was declared as the Champion in the Strategic Intervention Material Contest in Chemistry as well as in the Science Investigatory Project- Teacher’s Category during the 9th National Science Quest in Baguio City. In addition he is also a recipient of various awards. Some of the awards he received were the following: Federation of Asian Chemical Society awardee in Taipei, Taiwan, Outstanding Science Teacher in the Philippines, Outstanding Science Club Adviser of the Philippines, Outstanding National YES- O Adviser, Outstanding Teacher of Albay, Outstanding Teacher of Tabaco, and Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Science Teacher Award in the City of Solo, Indonesia.

Fortunato B. Sevilla III, PhD: 2015 PFCS Awardee for Chemistry Education (Tertiary Level)

Fortunato Sevilla III has a proactive role and productive involvement in research (particularly in the field of chemical sensors and biosensors), in chemistry education, and in chemistry organizations: his presence alone thereby invigorating scientific education and research in the country.

Fortune (as he is called by colleagues) applied his expertise in instrumentation and brought great enthusiasm in chemistry education through his low-cost instrumentation and micro-scale experiments. He pursued work in the area of low-cost instrumentation, after it was introduced by Prof. Krishna Sane, Chair of the IUPAC Committee for Chemistry Education, with the support of UNESCO and the IUPAC. As an extension of his research involvement, he conducted training workshops on the development of low cost instrumentation, such as colorimeters, potentiometers and conductimeters, in different parts of the country, as well as in countries in Asia and Latin America. This became the core material and group linking Filipino analytical scientists with the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

He also focused his research efforts towards providing solutions for problems facing chemistry education in the country. To address limitations of the laboratory facilities in high schools and colleges in the country, he espoused and developed microscale chemistry experiments. His research group designed low-cost instrumentation for microscale chemistry experiments, enabling high school and college students to carry out chemical measurements at very low cost. He networked with the UNESCO Microscience Program and microscale groups in different parts of the world.

He established the Chemical Sensors and Biosensors Research Group in the UST Research Center for the Natural and Applied Sciences, and pioneered chemical sensors research and development work in the Philippines. Through the years, his involvement in the development of chemical sensors and biosensors research in the Philippines. ranged from the basic sensing materials to the use of present-day nanomaterials including electronic noses.

He served as the chair of the Technical Committee for Chemistry of the Commission on Higher Education. He led the committee in revising the policy standards and guidelines for the undergraduate and graduate programs on chemistry. He networked with the Committee for Chemistry Education of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry to facilitate the updating the chemistry curriculum.

He was president of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies, the Philippine Federation of Chemical Societies, the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (Chemical Society of the Philippines) and the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science. He is a Fellow of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry and of the Federation of Asian Chemical Societies.

Sir Fortune is “a living catalyst,” one who enhances potent reactions for our junior academic and research staff to pursue higher degrees and research breakthroughs. He is “the transducer”, formulating great ideas and trans-forming these into something tangible and measurable in the classroom and in the laboratory, for the use and advancement of students and colleagues. His battle cry is “Excellence”; and he gladly assists in lowering the resource- and time-barriers in school and in the field so as to heighten the success of others. Against all odds, nothing has so far deterred him from doing meaningful and purposive scientific research. For many, he is considered a sage of a mentor, a gentleman leader, and a thoughtful friend, who would by turns challenge and cajole you to flying higher and accomplishing greater than you would have ever dreamt possible.

Submissions Open For The 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize

Recognizing the brightest young chemists of the future

New York, December 8, 2015, Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, has announced that submissions are now open for the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize. Now in its seventh year, the Reaxys PhD Prize is open to talented PhD students or recent graduates conducting original and innovative research in chemistry that demonstrates excellence in methodology and approach. Since its introduction in 2010, the Prize has nurtured advances in chemistry by giving young chemists worldwide who have produced truly ground breaking research the recognition and opportunities to both extend their network and share knowledge.

The 2016 Prize is open to any student who is either currently in a chemistry PhD program or who completed their PhD after January 1, 2015. To apply a candidate needs to submit a published, peer-reviewed article, a CV (resumé); and a letter of recommendation from their PhD supervisor. With previous winners from Asia, Europe and the Americas, the 2016 winners could come from anywhere in the world. Finalists for the Prize will join the Reaxys Prize Club, a unique, international network of chemists from all research areas and career paths which also provides travel bursaries for members to meet and study with one another. The finalists will receive personal and unlimited access to the rich content of Reaxys and Reaxys Medical Chemistry, and are invited to present their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium; where the three winners will each receive $2,000 in prize money.

The deadline for submissions is February 8, 2016. After this date, submissions will be reviewed for: originality, innovation, importance and applicability of the research; the rigor of approach and methodology; the quality and clarity of published work; and supporting evidence of these accomplishments from the recommendation letter and CV. This process is managed by a board of internationally renowned chemists. The board will subsequently select the 45 finalists. These finalists will be invited to attend the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium, where all finalists will have the opportunity to meet and share their research.

Every year we are impressed by the quality of entries to the Reaxys PhD Prize, and I am sure 2016 will be no exception,” said Dr. David Evans, Scientific Affairs Director at Reed Elsevier Properties SA. “In six years we have received nearly 2500 submissions from across the globe. The Prize is an opportunity to identify and support some of the brightest minds in the youngest generation of research chemists, and entry to the PhD Prize Club, helps all 45 finalists network and share knowledge giving them a running start to their chemistry careers.

Read more about the 2016 Reaxys PhD Prize on Elsevier Connect. For more information about the Reaxys PhD Prize and to submit an entry, go to http://inspiringchemistry.reaxys.com/phdprize.

Reaxys empowers chemistry research and development by providing structure, property and reaction data, experimental procedures and literature. It is designed to support early drug discovery, education, material selection and synthesis planning; its capabilities include data export and integration to enable harmonized analysis of in-house and external data. Reaxys improves R&D productivity by delivering the facts the way chemists need them. For more information about Reaxys visit www.elsevier.com/reaxys.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirectScopusElsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 33,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries. www.elsevier.com.

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Former Science Dean Gets Festchrift, Academic Tribute

By Michael Carlo C. Rodolfo

To honor his contributions in the field of chemistry, the UST Graduate School presented a festschrift to Fortunato Sevilla III last Feb. 26 at the Faculty of Civil Law Auditorium.

A festschrift is a volume of writings by various authors presented as a tribute to a scholar.

“[It] is for distinguished member of the faculty [whose] scholarly achievements are beyond question and his contributions to the field are monumental,” Graduate School (GS) Dean Marilu Madrunio said in her speech during the presentation of the festschrift. “It is the highest recognition given to a master mentor.”

Read the full article at the Varsitarian.
Download the Festchrift Articles.

Two Ateneans Bag National Awards

RA Ranola

Dr. Regina C. So and Dr. Nina Rosario L. Rojas both associate professors from the Chemistry Department at the University received a special award. Dr. Regina C. So, received an Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) award given by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).
Dr. So’s contribution in the field of Organic chemistry is by designing and rapid synthesis of biologically important unique sphinganine-containing glycosphingolipid analogs used in elucidating the relationship between structure of glycosphingolipids and the type of immune response they generate.

While Dr. Nina Rosario L. Rojas received an Outstanding Scientific Paper Award for the paper entitled “A Partial Expressed Sequence Tag (EST) Library of the economically important red alga Eucheuma denticulatum (N.L. Burham) F.C. Collins and Hervey” which she co-authored with Paulina S. Aspilla, Anna Angela Camille B. Anto-nio and Giuseppe C. Zuccarello. The paper was published in the Philippines Science Letters in 2010.