2 UP alumnae belongs in the 2024 Pulitzer Prizes Finalists

The University of the Philippines takes pride in having two of its alumnae as finalists in the 2024 Pulitzer Prizes.

Congratulations, Ren Galeno and Hannah Reyes-Morales!

Along with Claire Healy and Nicole Dungca, visual artist Ren Galeno, who earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, in UP Diliman, produced a multimedia story for the Washington Post titled Searching for Maura, a comic form presentation about a group of Filipinos who were exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.

Read more here: https://www.pulitzer.org/…/claire-healy-nicole-dungca…

Meanwhile, photographer Hannah Reyes-Morales, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication, Cum Laude, from UP Diliman, was nominated for her work with the The New York Times titled ‘youthquake’, which is a documentary work of the youth of Africa, expected to account for one-quarter of the world’s population by 2050.

Read here: https://www.pulitzer.org/…/hannah-reyes-morales…

Source: University of the Philippines Facebook

SSS welcomes the newest member of the Social Security Commission

Newly-appointed Social Security Commissioner Jesus P. Sale Jr. meets with Social Security System President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet during a courtesy call at the SSS Main Office in Quezon City on April 5.

The Social Security System (SSS) welcomed Jesus P. Sale Jr.’s appointment as the newest member of the Social Security Commission (SSC), the SSS’ highest governing board.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. appointed Sale to the SSC last March 26, 2024 and he took his oath of office before Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma on April 11, 2024.

Macasaet said that Sale will represent the Workers’ Group in the policymaking body of the SSS.

“We welcome the newest member of the SSC as announced by Malacañang, Atty. Jesus “Jojo” Sale. We look forward to working closely with him in the Commission, especially for programs that will benefit the labor sector,” Macasaet said.

Sale will replace Anita Bumpus-Quitain, who has served in the SSC since October 2016. Quitain headed several committees involved in information technology, coverage, and collection.

“We are indebted to Commissioner Quitain for lending her wisdom and expertise to the SSC in championing policies to serve SSS members and pensioners better. We wish her all success in her future endeavors,” Macasaet said.

As a member of the SSC, Sale will provide policy directions to the SSS and formulate, adopt, amend, and rescind rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of the Social Security Law.

Sale is a seasoned public servant who served in various capacities in the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and the Central Bank Board of Liquidators from December 1985 until August 2003.

He obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of the Philippines Diliman. He also completed his Master’s degree in Development Economics from the Williams College in Massachusetts, USA, and his Bachelor’s degree in Economics, cum laude, from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Currently, Sale also serves as the Vice President for Internal Affairs of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), a Filipino seafarer organization that promotes the welfare of Filipino maritime professionals.

Source: https://dailyguardian.com.ph/sss-welcomes-the-newest-member-of-the-social-security-commission/

Two UPD College of Science Professors Win the NRCP Achievement Award

By Harvey Sapigao

Dr. Cristine Villagonzalo and Dr. Reynaldo Garcia from the UP Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) received the prestigious Achievement Award from the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) in the recently held Annual Scientific Conference and 91st General Membership Assembly last March 12, 2024.


Dr. Villagonzalo of the UPD-CS National Institute of Physics (UPD-CS NIP) was lauded for her contributions to Physics, and Dr. Garcia of the UPD-CS National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (UPD-CS NIMBB) for his contributions to the field of Medical Sciences.


Dr. Villagonzalo served as the President of the NRCP Governing board from 2022 to 2023. She is a Professor and the Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at NIP and the Project Leader of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD) Philippines. Dr. Villagonzalo received her doctorate of natural sciences at Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany. She is currently working on a research project to integrate a quantum mechanics principle called the perturbation theory in a quantum circuit.


Dr. Garcia founded the Disease Molecular Biology and Epigenetics Laboratory (DMBEL) at NIMBB in 2011. He and his team played a crucial role in detecting and preventing the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. Dr. Garcia received his doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Australian National University and is currently a Professor at NIMBB. He is currently investigating how specific mutations in colon cancer cells affect their resistance to treatments, and how these mutated cells divide, migrate, and survive.


The NRCP started awarding the Achievement Award in 1979 to those who have significantly contributed to the research and development of natural sciences, health sciences, engineering, industry, social sciences, and humanities in the Philippines.


Aside from Dr. Villagonzalo and Dr. Garcia, three professors from UP Los Baños also received the Achievement Awards, namely Dr. Inocencio Buot Jr. for his contributions to Biological Sciences, Dr. Maria Ana Quimbo for Social Sciences, and Dr. Remil Galay for Veterinary Medicine.


The UPD Department of Chemical Engineering was awarded the 2023 NRCP Outstanding Institution Award. It joins the ranks of UPD-CS institutes that have received the award, namely NIP, Marine Science Institute (MSI), and Natural Sciences Research Institute DNA Analysis Laboratory (NSRI-DAL).


For interview requests and other media inquiries, please contact: [email protected]




5 UP alumni among the TOYM awardees for 2023

Five UP alumni are among the 10 recipients of the Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Awards 2023, as announced by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines.

“These outstanding individuals have demonstrated unparalleled commitment, innovation, and leadership in their respective fields, embodying the spirit of positive change and progress.” said JCI Philippines on their Facebook post

The five UP alumni are:

Ruel Amparo, CEO and Founder of Cropital Enterprises Corporation, for Agri Entrepreneurship

Jan Carlo Punongbayan, assistant professor at the University of the Philippines School of Economics (UPSE) and Rappler Columnist, for Economics

John Mark Napao, President and Founder of Solar Hope, for Sustainable Energy

Ma. Regaele Olarte, officer-in-charge-chief education supervisor of the Muntinlupa SDO’s School Governance and Operations Division, for Education Leadership

Stephen Michael Co, co-founder and CEO of WTH Foods, for Food Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Previously known as the Outstanding Young Filipinos, the annual national recognition is awarded to Filipinos between 18 and 40 years old who have made significant contributions to their field or community, according to the JCI Philippines website.

Last year’s UP alumni awardees were Dr. Paul Gideon Lasco, Dr. Beverly Lorraine Ho, Dr. Ronnie Baticulon, Dr. Ramon Lorenzo Luis Guinto, Manix Abrera, and Dr. Rico Ancog.

UP CAMP alumna receives IASCL Inaugural Early Career Award (ECA) for 2024

Congratulations to Rowena Garcia on her inaugural Early Career Award (ECA) for 2024, awarded by the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL). She will be presented the prestigious award at the IASCL 2024 Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, where she will also be delivering the ECA Plenary talk entitled “Casting a wider linguistic net: Language acquisition insights from an Austronesian language.”

Rowena Garcia is a graduate of the UP CAMP BS Speech Pathology program (Batch 2011) and currently serves as a visiting professor for the Department.

For more information on her award and her contributions to the field of child language acquisition, you may visit this link: https://www.mpi.nl/…/iascl-inaugural-early-career-award…

Source: UP College of Allied Medical Professions Facebook

Scientists’ group names Filipina in Germany as ‘Planet Earth’ awardee

Mari-An C. Santos

‘How can you do proper science if your needs are not met? Science is not a priority in the Philippines. But I hope it will be,’ says Germany-based Filipino professor Denise Margaret Matias

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina professor in Germany has been named as an awardee in the 2024 Planet Earth Awards of the Alliance of World Scientists (AWS).

Nakakahiya nga, e (It’s embarrassing, really),” Denise Margaret Matias said as she sat down for an exclusive online interview with Rappler on March 23.

The professor at the Biosphere Reserves Institute at Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany was named a recipient of the Planet Earth Awards on March 14 by the international body of scientists composed of more than 26,000 from more than 180 countries.

Matias said, “Part of me is insecure. I mean, to be in the company of such established names in their respective fields!”

FIELDWORK. Dr. Denie Margaret Matias (standing, second from left) with members of the Tagbanua community during a training for mapping giant honey bee nests. courtesy of Denise Margaret Matias

Matias, who holds a Ph.D., is the youngest among the group of scientist awardees which include Dr. S. Faizi from India, Dr. James Hansen from the United States, Dr. Kimberly Nicholas from Sweden, Dr. Jamie Pittock from Australia, and Dr. Fernando Valladares from Spain.

The award acknowledges individuals who champion life on Earth and demonstrate exceptional creativity or contributions in their work in science-based advocacy with the public, policymakers, or other non-scientist groups seeking solutions to environmental challenges. The nominees went through a rigorous screening process.

Charting a course

Growing up in Pasig, Metro Manila, Matias recalled that she always had an acute awareness of the value of the environment.

She was president of her high school’s Eco Team club and thought “science was cool.” But when the time came to enroll for a college course, conferred with a BPI Foundation scholarship, she was surprised to find that Environmental Science was not on the list of courses she could take.

Matias decided on the next best thing: a biology course.

She knew that, unlike most of her peers, she didn’t want to become a medical doctor. So she subsequently pursued a master’s degree in environmental science at the University of the Philippines while working for Greenpeace Southeast Asia but soon succumbed to the perils that many who try to pursue higher education while working professionally in the Philippines.

While working at UP-Diliman’s Marine Science Institute, Matias started to seriously consider a career in the academe, thanks to Dr. Arturo Lluisma, a principal investigator who introduced her to the rigors of research.

She earned an International Climate Protection Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, then a scholarship to finish her MSc in Environmental Sciences and Policy from the Central European University in Hungary. She was awarded a PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn in Germany in 2017.

She received a European Science Award from the Eiselen Foundation and Foundation Fiat Panis in 2018 for her doctoral dissertation entitled Sustainability of Community Forestry Enterprises: Indigenous Wild Honey Gathering in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, Palawan, Philippines.

It was a work borne of her engagement in fieldwork with various Philippine nongovernmental organizations, including the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP Asia). She found out from the indigenous Tagbanua community that they had a problem with honey gathering in Aborlan, Palawan.

She subsequently carried out a project with the community to help restore giant honey bee habitat by planting native species.

In 2018, she, with Loreta Alsa, a Tagbanua, went to Yale University to present the project and they were awarded first place by Yale’s International Society of Tropical Forests for the Innovation Prize.

Giving back

“I always look for a way to give back,” she said. She recounted how she would actively raise funds after extreme emergency events in the Philippines by making handmade items, especially with recycled paper.

After Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines in 2013, for example, she sold products at a Christmas market in Germany to raise funds for relief aid.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, she solicited donations through her Instagram account (@thegreenitch) for NTFP-EP Philippines and sent handcrafted notepads to donors.

All these served as her way to contribute to her country even if she was physically away.

“I don’t want to build a career by using people, especially since I conduct research with indigenous communities,” she said.

For her current research project on Palawan pangolins, she is helping several Filipinos by giving them access to information, training, and opportunities that are not, sadly, available to most Filipino scientists.

She said, “We need to advance science because, at the moment, it exists in a silo. There is limited interaction with the social sciences and the humanities. In Germany, interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged and promoted, and they are supported with research grants.”

Matias, a tenured Filipino professor in Germany, currently serves as a member of the Selection Committee of the International Climate Protection Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; lead author of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Thematic Assessment of the Interlinkages among Biodiversity, Water, Food and Health (Nexus Assessment); and senior fellow of the Manila Observatory.

Something that she heard Dr. Jurgenne Honculada-Primavera, a mangrove ecosystem scientist, say has been her north star: “We need science-based development.”

“How can you do proper science if your needs are not met? Science is not a priority in the Philippines. But I hope it will be,” she said. – Rappler.com

Source: https://www.rappler.com/nation/overseas-filipinos/scientists-group-names-filipina-denise-margaret-matias-germany-planet-earth-awardee/

UPMin alumna among the awardees of the Mindanao Women in Development Awards 2024

LOOK | UPMin alumna Architect Gloryrose Dy-Metilla is among the awardees in the Mindanao Women in Development Awards 2024. Ar. Dy-Metilla, second from right in the stage photo, was awarded for “Translating Mindanao’s Beautiful Culture into Architecture.”

The award was bestowed by the Mindanao Development Authority through its chairperson, Secretary Maria Belen S. Acosta.

Source: University of the Philippines Mindanao

Bobby Batungbacal Heads Makati Business Club

Photo from MBC website

Effective March 15, 2024, our member Bobby Batungbacal assumed the Executive Director’s position in the influential Makati Business Club.

Its website cites MBC’s purpose to be the voice of the Philippine business sector, taking advocacy positions and implementation roles necessary to contribute to nation-building. Bobby retired as Managing Director of Dow Chemicals Asia Pacific operations in April 2023. During his time, Dow Chemicals sponsored a Research Grant for the DMMME on Upcycling of Waste Plastics, with several Thesis Support Grants for the participating students.

He has been active in the Samahan sa Pilipinas ng Industri Kimia (SPIK) and with several programs of the Department of Trade and Industry. Since his retirement, he has been active in UPERDFI affairs, as a member of the Innovation Committee.

We wish for him renewed energy in his MBC leadership role. Several UPERDFI members are also active in MBC advocacies. Our member, Ed Chua, also served as MBC ED soon after his retirement as Country President of Shell Philippines in 2016.

Source: UPERDFI Newsletter – March 2024

CSC recognizes UP alumni in the 2023 Outstanding Government Workers Awards Rites

UP alumni from different government offices were recognized for their outstanding performance in and contribution to public service in the Outstanding Government Workers Awards Rites 2023 given by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on February 14, 2024 at Malacañang Palace.

The annual ceremony is divided into three categories: the CSC Pagasa Award, given to an individual or a group for their outstanding contribution/s resulting from an idea or performance that directly benefit more than one department; the Outstanding Public Officials and Employees (Dangal ng Bayan), conferred to an individual for performance of an extraordinary act or public service and consistent demonstration of exemplary ethical behavior on the basis of observance of the eight norms provided under Republic Act No. 6713; and, the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, awarded to an individual or group comprised of five members for exceptional or extraordinary contributions resulting from an idea or performance that had nationwide impact on public interest, security and patrimony.

Naway magsilbing inspirasyon ang ating mga pangangaralan upang mapagtanto ng lahat na ang serbisyo publiko ay hindi instrumento sa pagpapaunlad ng sarili kung hindi para sa kabutihan ng nakararami (May our awardees be an inspiration for everyone to realize that public service is not an instrument for self-development, as it is for the common good),” CSC Chairperson Karlos Nograles said in his opening remarks.

The first category called was the CSC Pagasa Award. Two UP alumni belonging to different teams were given the award as follows:

Senior Science Research Specialist Sheryl B. Narida-Napoco, member of the Food Processing and Innovation Center Davao (FPIC-Davao) of DOST XI in Davao City, for implementing 17 food innovation centers across the country by collaborative approach that supports competitiveness, and encourages startups and more students to pursue Food Technology; and,

Associate Professor I Rhuelyn Alimpolos-Ballaran, member of Palayamanan Project Team of Bulacan Agricultural State College in San Ildefonso, Bulacan “for pioneering a diversified integrated rice-based farming system, transferring the technology to more than 500 farmers mainly in Central Luzon”.

The next category was the Outstanding Public Officials and Employees (Dangal ng Bayan) Award. Head Teacher III Glenny E. Laping of the DepEd Lapu-Lapu Division Office in Lapu-Lapu City was the lone UP alumna among the ten awardees who received the award “for coming up with ingenious ways to stimulate interest in learning using gamification, digital exercises and a mobile application where students, parents and teachers can access learning modules even without internet connection resulting in improve academic performance”.

And the last category is the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award, with five UP alumni conferred the award in this category. They are the following:

Professor III Julie Ann Acebuque Salido of Aklan State University in Bacan, Banga, Aklan, for her “creation of an Android mobile application Sea condition Emergency alert and warning apparatus for vessel safety or Seawaves”;

Medical Officer V Dr. Donnabel Lorenzana Tubera Panes, Team Leader of Baguio Lead Contact Tracing Team of the City Government of Baguio for the “team’s prompt, proactive and collaborative approach in the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Baguio thru the creation of Baguio re-tooled contact tracing system that inspired other LGUs from Ilocos region to Zamboanga to follow suit”;

Senior Vice President Randolp Luib Montesa, Team Leader of the Landbank Agent Banking Program Team of the Landbank of the Philippines in Manila City, for “being at the forefront of promoting inclusive growth especially in the countryside thru the delivery of innovative products and services powered by digital banking platforms and supporting the government’s financial inclusion. Their initiative facilitated the opening of transaction accounts to 3.74 million previously unbank registrants from 60 provinces”; and,

Garry Tayona Balinon and Ryan Vilmor J. Dumpit, both members of the S-PaSS Core Team of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region VI in Iloilo City, for the group’s response to the urgent need for an accessible and efficient travel management system during the pandemic thru the development of Safe, Swift and Smart passage or SPASS. Piloted in Western Visayas, the SPASS was eventually implemented by the Department of Transportation in airports, seaports, and terminals nationwide.

Every individual and group received a gold gilded medallion crafted and sponsored by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, a presidential plaque, PhP200,000 cash reward for individuals and PhP100,000 cash reward for each member of the group awardees and an automatic promotion to the next higher position or equivalent salary increase.

Award Rites for the Outstanding Government Workers of 2023 Video

UP Visayas Dr. Prieto-Carolino wins second place in the 2024 Loretta Makasiar Sicat Prize for the Social Sciences

The UPV Division of Social Sciences proudly congratulates Dr. Alice C. Prieto-Carolino for winning the Second Prize in the Loretta Makasiar Sicat Prize for the Social Sciences 2024 (LMS Prize) organized by the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC).

Dr. Prieto-Carolino is set to receive her award on April 18, 2024 at the awarding ceremony and scientific lecture for the LMS Prize.

Source: UPV Division of Social Sciences Facebook