UP Atmospheric Physicist Takes to the Skies with NASA: Monitoring Air Quality on NASA817

By: Maria Alexandra Marmol

(Photo credit: Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, 2024)

Dr. Gerry Bagtasa of the UP Diliman College of Science – Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (UPD – CS IESM) took flight with NASA last Sunday, February 11, 2024, as part of an air pollution measurement campaign called ASIA-AQ (Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality). 


NASA817—more specifically the NASA DC-8 plane—is an airborne science laboratory based in NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. It is flown to other parts of the world to gather data to support the research and experiments undertaken by the global scientific community.


The objective of this particular series of flights with the Filipino team, consisting of DENR-EMB, the Manila Observatory, and Dr. Bagtasa, was to assess the air quality of multiple Asian cities by utilizing satellite remote sensors and air quality models. With the equipment of the modified Douglas DC-8 jetliner, they were able to observe the atmosphere and detect various pollutants such as particulate matter, ozone, carbon dioxide, and methane, which are not usually locally measured above the ground.


“The purpose is to improve our understanding of the dynamics of air pollution in the region,” Dr. Bagtasa said. 


With the Filipino team, they were able to help plan the flights by providing air quality and weather forecasts. They also provided insights into local weather patterns, drawing from Dr. Bagtasa and the Manila Observatory’s recent publications and expertise in contextualizing the data being collected. 

Flight path of the 8-hour trip around Metro Manila and surrounding regions flying alternately between 1000 ft and 10,000 ft. (Photo credit: Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, 2024)

The Experience


NASA817 flew four times to the Philippines on February 6, 7, 11, and 13, and for each flight, there were a few available seats for observers. Dr. Bagtasa and scientists of the Manila Observatory and DENR joined different flights, and of the 8-hour experience, the plane would constantly change altitudes from 1000 ft to 10,000 ft, then back again, to gather more data at different levels of elevation throughout the region.


“In almost any airplane ride, we encounter some brief bumpy to very bumpy, turbulent moments, right? Imagine that happening for 8 hours—the flight was brutal. I guess mainly due to the low-altitude nature of the flight,” Dr. Bagtasa commented. “And to make it more exciting, I experienced the hardest of hard turns and rolls in an airplane during the flight.” 


With humor, he also went on to say, “Most of the researchers on the plane wear some transdermal patch behind the ear for motion sickness. I didn’t, and I was in the backmost seat. After around 5 – 6 hours into the flight, considering that I’ve been on probably >100 flights in my lifetime, it was my first time to throw up in a plane ride.”

(Photo credit: Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, 2024)

Despite the bumpy ride, the flights are crucial to the campaign, ASIA-AQ. NASA’s project presents an avenue for international cooperation, partnering with local scientists, researchers, and experts to implement a unified strategy across various Asian nations in addressing not only regional air quality concerns but also gaining a broader understanding of the interpretation of satellite data and air quality modeling. 


Dr. Bagtasa and the Manila Observatory partnered with the DENR to join the flights to provide their local knowledge on the air pollution of the country. While the data gathered on these trips are still being processed and have yet to be published, NASA817 will now move on to South Korea, taking measurements in Taiwan on the way. After Seoul, it will then fly to Malaysia and Thailand. After the ASIA-AQ campaign, the NASA DC8 will be retired.


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


UP scientist’s novel tech empowers rural fisherfolk

Dr. Yñiguez holds a SensPak tube, developed by UP scientists, off the coast of Bolinao in June 2021. Once lowered in the water, such devices can help scientists and fisherfolk monitor the health of the marine environment almost in real time. (Photo credit: UPD-CS MSI DOST HABHazard Program)
Innovative data-driven technologies are empowering Filipino coastal communities by enabling them to make better informed decisions on when and how to utilize marine resources.

An advocate of sustainable fishing practices, Dr. Aletta Concepcion T. Yñiguez of the UP Diliman College of Science’s Marine Science Institute (UPD-CS MSI) has been working closely with small-scale fishers and government agencies to help rural fisherfolk with technologies developed by UP scientists.

Yñiguez and her fellow MSI researchers created ARAICoBeH (A Rapid Assessment Instrument for Coastal Benthic Habitats), an inexpensive tool for taking underwater photos of endangered areas such as coral reefs without needing to dive. She also spearheaded HABhub (Harmful Algal Bloom Hub), an online platform that facilitates the detection and reporting of algal blooms, which could threaten both the lives and livelihoods of affected fisherfolk. HABhub also provides robust early-warning systems that would allow for more proactive mitigation and enhanced understanding of these phenomena.

These and other innovations and insights from Dr. Yñiguez were the focus of a recent iStories webinar, hosted by the UPD-CS.

“To ensure the sustainable utilization and management of ocean resources, it is critical that observational, monitoring and decision-support tools are in place to provide concrete, science-based information and management. But the technologies, tools and capacity for these are sorely lacking,” Dr. Yñiguez said at the event.

“Our present efforts help bridge this gap through interdisciplinary collaborations to develop cost-effective sensors that automate ocean observation, building ocean data repositories and models for understanding, forecasting and decision-support,” she added.

For her work, Dr. Yñiguez was bestowed The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service (TOWNS) award in 2022. Given by the TOWNS Foundation, Inc., the prestigious award honors Filipinas 21 to 45 years old who have contributed greatly to Philippine society in their chosen fields.

iStories is a series of monthly innovation-themed talks, storytelling, and activities featuring local and international scientists. The initiative aims to ignite the creativity and inventiveness of young scientists not just from UPD-CS but from other institutes inside and outside UP.

For inquiries about iStories, please message [email protected]

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

‘Huwag bibitiw’: UP professor emeritus urges new scientists to shape PHL’s future

written by UPD-CS Science Communications team

In the face of a future yet to be written, beset by Promethean technologies and an Apolakian climate, one of the country’s foremost Filipino writers calls on a new generation of Filipino scientists to stay grounded—and stand their ground.

UP Diliman Professor Emeritus Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu exhorted UPD-CS’ graduates to remain hopeful but vigilant of the future. (Photo credit: Garcia Photography Services)

“Ihahabilin ko ito nang may pakiusap: huwag sanang magbago ang isip ninyo. Kailangan ng bansa natin ng higit pang maraming scientist,” distinguished writer Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu exhorted the University of the Philippines – Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) graduating class of 2023, noted for having the most number of PhD graduates in the College’s 40-year history.

A professor emeritus and former dean of the College of Arts and Letters (UPD-CAL), Dr. Torres-Yu expressed cautious optimism for the future in her keynote address delivered at the UPD-CS Special Recognition Program last July 29. She also underscored the fundamental role of Filipino scientists in safeguarding the country’s future.

UPD-CS’s newly-minted graduates should never forget why they became scientists, Dr. Torres-Yu said, waxing poetic: “Ang kinang ay dapat timplahin ng kabuluhan para higit na maging kapakinabangan sa bayan at sambayanan. Samakatwid, hindi tayo nabubuhay para sa sariling kinang lamang.”

Hopeful vigilance for the future

Dr. Torres-Yu said she would be remiss as a professor and mentor if she did not urge vigilance and caution amid the celebration. She reminded UPD-CS’ new scientists that their lives and work are not isolated from the rest of the world:

“Anuman ang laboratoryong piliin, hindi ito maitatago sa nangyayari sa mundo. Kumbaga sa bagyo, literal at metaporikal, umaabot sa atin ang unos, baha, lindol, pagkawasak ng kapaligiran, kabuhayan at kapayapaan… Gusto ko mang iwasan ang pagbanggit tungkol dito, dahil ang pagtatapos ninyo ay dapat na maging masaya, magkukulang naman ako bilang guro kung hindi ko man lang mabanggit ang tungkol dito,” she told the gathered crowd of over 400 graduates.

“Ang mahalaga ay manatili ang ugaling mapagmatyag na taglay na ninyo dahil mga scientist kayo; maging mapanuri, makilahok at pumanig sa pagbabagong makabubuti sa ating bayan at sa sangkatauhan,” she added.

UP Diliman Professor Emeritus Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu exhorted UPD-CS’ graduates to remain hopeful but vigilant of the future (Photo credit: Shedy Masayon, UPD-CS SciComm)

She also touched on the need to inspire Filipino children to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through literature. Dr. Torres-Yu’s non-profit organization, Supling Sining, Inc. (SSI), collaborated with UPD-CS to create the Sulong-Agham multilingual children’s books series.

UPD-CS’s Class of 2023 produced a total of 454 graduates. This number consists of 19 PhD graduates, 108 MS graduates, seven MA graduates, three Professional Masters, five diploma recipients, and 312 BS graduates. The number of the College’s PhD graduates for 2023 is also almost double that of the previous year, the most number of PhD graduates UPD-CS has had in its 40 years of existence.

The full text of UP Diliman Professor Emeritus Dr. Rosario Torres-Yu’s keynote address to the UPD-CS Class of 2023 can be found here: https://science.upd.edu.ph/cs-2023-recognition-day-inspirational-message/

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

Ex-UP president Emanuel Soriano passes away at 87

BY Luisa K. Cabato

Courtesy of Rinna Soriano

Former University of the Philippines (UP) President Emanuel Valdez Soriano passed away on Saturday, April 22 at the age of 87.

This was confirmed by his daughter, Rinna, in a Facebook post.

“Bob just passed away…. somehow I knew when a bird sat on my side mirror before leaving…,” she said referring to his late father’s nickname.

“We will celebrate the eucharist for him today at 10 a.m., followed by his cremation at 11 a.m. Arlington Chapels. Please join us if you can. There will be a whole-day wake on Saturday, April 29. Venue to be confirmed. 6 p.m. mass at U.P. Chapel, Parish of the Holy Sacrifice. Inurnment will be on May 31, 2023 at Sta. Maria dela Strada Church, Bob’s 40th day back in our spiritual home and his wedding anniversary with Inay 62 years ago,” said Rinna in a separate post.

Soriano served as the 14th president of the premier state university from 1979 to 1981.

He finished his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Master in Industrial Management degrees at UP and later earned a doctorate in Business Administration at the Harvard Business School.

UP President Angelo A. Jimenez ordered all UP campuses to fly their Philippine and UP flags at half-mast until May 2.

Courtesy of UP

Source: https://mb.com.ph/2023/4/23/ex-up-president-emanuel-soriano-passes-away-at-87

How postwar U.P. shaped the artist Juvenal Sansó

Rachelle Medina

Sansó and his classmates in a war-ravaged UP Padre Faura campus. Photo courtesy of Fundacion Sanso.

As the artist’s Fundacion Sansó bestows an educational grant to his alma mater, the UP College of Fine Arts, we recall his formative years as a UP student

Aside from being the oldest art institution in the country, the University of the Philippines-College of Fine Arts (UPCFA) has educated some of the country’s best-known artists—Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Jose Joya, Jr., Bencab, and Vicente Manansala, to name a few. It is also the alma mater of the Filipino-Spanish painter and Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee Juvenal Sansó.

More famous friends, this time with National Artist Ang Kiukok from UST (far right), and Alcala. Alcala doodled over this photo. Fundacion Sansó Archives.

It’s no wonder his Fundacion Sansó has chosen the institution, his first art school, to give back to—proceeds for the Leo Abaya Thesis Grant were bestowed to UPCFA through UPCFA Dean Marc San Valentin and Dr. Dayang Yraola last February 24, 2023, for the research and development of thesis projects in the college.

The completed main library

This is not the first time Sansó made a donation to the University, says Fundacion Sansó director Ricky Francisco, as the artist has done so discreetly in the past. It has also been documented in Duffie Hufana Osental’s book Sansó: An Introduction, and from several of the artist’s letters, that as Sansó was a student who subsisted on stipends while studying abroad, it was his consistent wish to establish a fund for art students. This thesis grant is part of this gesture, alongside a scholarship stipend fund that is currently running under Fundacion Sansó for other schools.

“Incubus” by Juvenal Sansó, 1951, gouache on board, private collection. This painting won Sansó First Prize in the Watercolor Category of the Art Association of the Philippines’ (AAP) annual competition.
Araceli Dans, Sanso, Tipin Eleazar,Katy Yatco, Nenita Villanueva

This thesis grant is named after Leo Abaya, artist, production designer, professor, and mentor of undergraduate and graduate students at UPCFA. Abaya passed away at the height of the pandemic.

Juvenal Sansó (middle, top row) in a class photo at the UP Padre Faura campus. Sansó described the post-war UP campus as riddled with shell holes, and sometimes they used their fruit juice baon to dilute their paints, as they didn’t have running water. Fundacion Sansó Archives.

Francisco discussed the project with Abaya when they were judges at the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence competition (MADE) four years ago. The latter suggested a grant for thesis research and production. He said that while advising the students, he observed that many of their ideas rarely came into fruition due to lack of funds.

Sansó was in fine company during his Fine Arts student years, with friends who became noted Filipino artists. (From left): a young Hugo Yonzon, Sansó, Mauro Malang Santos, and Alcala. Fundacion Sansó Archives.
Sansó’s early student work, 1948, oil on canvas

The beginnings of this project stems from Juvenal Sansó’s education in postwar UP. After being tutored in art by Alejandro Celis (Sansó was homeschooled, an unusual practice back then), he enrolled as a special student at UP School of Fine Arts—the college’s former name—in the late 1940s. During this period, Sansó felt that he needed to work harder than his classmates, often erasing and redrawing his lines until the paper tore up. Despite this, Sansó recalls his early years as a UP student with much fondness.

Image of a war damaged UP Padre Faura Campus

Seeing the new building of the UP College of Fine Arts today, it is hard to imagine the raw, unpaved Diliman campus of the 1940s to the 1950s. In a caption for one of his student photos, Sansó writes a description of his fine arts class’s “nomadic” existence on campus: “As UP Fine Arts students, we were the original ‘boat people’ of the university or perhaps the ‘boot people’ as we were booted out from one neo-shanty on campus to another, ending up in the high school and the upper floor of the Main Library. The brave new world had its compensations under duress.”

Sansó at a Fine Arts classroom in Diliman, with Villanueva and Alcala, and the FA school janitor Mang Lucio looking on.

The post-war Padre Faura UP campus, where Sansó and his batchmates spent their first years, was in worse shape. Like the rest of Manila, it had not yet recovered from the massive damage wrought by World War II. The walls and classical columns of the buildings were heavily pockmarked from the shelling, and hardly any facilities existed. Sansó recalls there wasn’t even any running water, and that he and his classmates had to use fruit juice from their baon to dilute their paints.

National Artist Larry Alcala was Sansó’s best friend, and lasted until Alcala’s death. Fundacion Sansó Archives.

Yet, judging from pictures and Sansó’s stories, it was a happy existence. Even with rudimentary school amenities, UP was where Sansó blossomed. It was where he honed his skills and where he made lifelong friends, many of whom grew up to become masters, some eventually conferred the National Artist honor.

Photo of Sanso with Doodles by Larry Alcala

Sansó’s closest friend at UP was the cartoonist Larry Alcala. Also in his circle were Araceli “Cheloy” Limcaco-Dans, Rodolfo “Roddy” Ragodon, Celia Diaz-Laurel, Ben Osorio, Katy Yatco, Nenita Villanueva, and the talented campus beauty Josefina “Tipin” Rosales. In Sansó’s large class of Fine Arts majors, there were even more luminaries—the couturier Jose “Pitoy” Moreno, National Artist Napoleon Abueva, and Angel Cacnio, to name a few—proof that the training they received and the energy of the school contributed to the students’ formative years.

Juvenal Sansó and Alcala (background) painting en plein aire during a Baguio trip. Fundacion Sansó Archives.

“In UP, Juvenal’s reticent personality bloomed into a socially adjusted, extroverted and playful figure, who was comfortable with people from different classes,” wrote Reuben Ramas Cañete, Ph.D. in the book La Definitiva Sansó: A Life Lived Thrice.

The UP lineup of Fine Arts teachers was just as stellar. Amorsolo was Dean of the department, and mentors included National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, Dominador Castañeda, Ireneo Miranda, and Dr. Toribio Herrera.

“Ropemaker” by Juvenal Sansó, 1948, oil on canvas, Fundacion Sansó Collection

In the essay After the Deluge Comes the Dawn, Fundacion Sansó’s Francisco adds: “Under the great Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, and other notable artists of that time, Sansó would hone his artistic skills further, even though the techniques taught were mostly answering to the practical needs of that time.”

Audiences may find it hard to connect Sansó’s mid- to late-1950s expressionist art from his “Black Period” to Amorsolo’s pastoral scenery and sunny optimism but Sansó himself acknowledged he shied away from such themes. His award-winning, gouache student work, “Incubus” is his entry into a darker period. Sansó’s depiction of a misshapen beggar was more terrifying than pitiful, and reflected the artist’s wartime traumas.

(From left) Sansó, Alcala, Ben Osorio, and Roddy Ragodon at the UP Diliman Campus. Sansó wrote: “As UP Fine Arts students, we were the original ‘boat people’ of the university or perhaps the ‘boot people’ as we were booted out from one neo-shanty on campus to another.” Fundacion Sansó Archives.

The young artist went on to win more awards as a student in 1951, namely from the Art Association of the Philippines, and the very first Shell National Student Art Competition. He eventually moved on to sit in on classes at the University of Santo Tomas, where the seeds of Modernism were already being planted. Soon thereafter, the Spanish-born artist was on a stipend, boarding a boat bound for further education abroad, much like future art students who sought to better their art and widen their perspectives.

For more information about the Leo Abaya Thesis Grant, email [email protected]. Fundacion Sansó is located at 32 V. Cruz St., San Juan; we are open Mon-Sat., 10am-3pm.

All photos courtesy of Fundacion Sanso.

Source: https://news.abs-cbn.com/ancx/culture/art/03/10/23/how-up-shaped-the-artist-juvenal-sans

UP CMC Dean Luis V. Teodoro, 81

Retired UP Professor of Journalism and UP College of Mass Communication (CMC) Dean (1994-2000) Luis V. Teodoro passed away on 13 March 2023. He was 81.

He is a true pioneer in literature, not just journalism and mass communication education in the Philippines.

His books, especially Out of This Struggle: The Filipinos in Hawaii (the University of Hawaii Press, 1981), The Undiscovered Country (University of the Philippines Press, 2006), In Medias Res: Essays on the Philippine Press and Media (University of the Philippines Press, 2012), and Vantage Point: The Sixth Estate and Other Discoveries (University of the Philippines Press, 2014) contained works that garnered Palanca, Philippine Free Press, and National Book Awards. These texts are also significant interventions in Philippine Studies, comparative literature, and creative writing.

During Philippine PEN meetings during the late 2000s and early 2010s, he frequently warned me about the perils of university administration, especially in UP. “Service, not Power,” he repeatedly whispered. He respected spaces and knew where to start and when to leave.

Luis V. Teodoro’s distinguished career and commitment to advancing mass communication education in the Philippines should inspire many. He has set a high standard for other writers, educators, media practitioners, and university administrators to strive for. His contributions will be remembered for many years.

UP CMC will honor Professor Luis V. Teodoro, on Wednesday, 15 March, at Loyola Commonwealth. UP CMC’s Parangal will be live-streamed on the DZUP YouTube Channel https://youtube.com/@DZUP1602am (6:00 PM)

#universityofthephilippines #unibersidadngpilipinas #luisteodoro

Source: Jose Wendell Capili I Facebook

UPV posts 100% passing rate in 2022 Licensure Exam for Fisheries Professionals

UP Visayas (UPV) posted a 100 percent passing rate in the October 2022 Licensure Exam for Fisheries Professionals, with 10 alumni in the Top 10.


UPV secured eight of the 10 highest places in the said examination.


John Rey Fortu Rasgo, a BS Fisheries graduate of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS), topped the board exam with a rating of 86.25 percent.  


Rasgo who graduated in July 2022, Cum Laude, shared the same spot with Jean Margaret G. Badong of Iloilo State College of Fisheries-main.


All 39 aspirants from UPV-CFOS hurdled the exam held last October 6-7, 2022.


Nine (9) more topnotchers led the newly registered fisheries professionals from CFOS. 

They are Angelica Marie S. Dominguez, third place (85.75); Leslie T. Sampollo, fifth place (85.25); Cedric Jay A. Nantong and Cherry Dale C. Templonuevo, sixth place (84.75); Robert Christian F. Patani, seventh place (84.50); Joseph Keith Paulo T. Nava, eighth place (84.25); Reymark C. Busalla and Marianne Joyce S. Herrada, ninth place (84.00); and Yessamin T. Lebaquin, tenth place (83.75). 


CFOS Dean Encarnacion Emilia S. Yap lauded the performance of the 39 new fisheries professionals produced by the University for they weathered the storm taking into account the challenges that they have been through.


They were among the first batch of K-12 graduates and the first batch of students under the revised BS Fisheries program. 


They were on remote learning mode from March 2020 to February 2022 and went back to the University to attend laboratory classes for their undergraduate thesis last March. 


They took the board exam prepared by new members of the Board of Fisheries of the Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC) and yet, they were able to pull through, Yap stated.


“Warmest congratulations to our new batch of fisheries professionals for holding on.  We are very proud of you. Thank you.  May we all continue to serve the fisheries industry and the Filipino people,” the dean said.


PRC released the list of 716 successful examinees out of 1,966 takers with a national passing percentage of 36.42% on October 12.


UPV-CFOS has been dominating the licensure exam as the top performing school in the previous examinations.  


Last year, UPV registered a passing rate of 95.83 percent; 96.33 percent in 2019; 97.30 percent in 2018; and 98.97 percent in 2017.

Actress Chai Fonacier Is A Force Of Nature In International Film Nocebo

Actress Chai Fonacier Is A Force Of Nature In International Film Nocebo

Carlo Fajarda

One element about actress and musician Chai Fonacier that everyone would agree on is that she is fearless. Her performances radiate confidence au naturel


She received her first acting award in 2015 for Miss Bulalacao at the Cinema One Originals Festival. Then in 2017, she won the Luna Awards for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal in Patay Na Si Hesus


And Fonacier is just getting started. “I am going to ride my life now like a surfer would. I don’t surf, but I understand the principle: You sit on your board and wait for the wave. I don’t know what kind of wave is coming, and I am scared of it. But I have my eyes on the horizon,” Fonacier tells Vogue Philippines in an exclusive video call, describing her rise to stardom in the international arena.


On October 14, the long-gestating folk horror movie Nocebo will premiere in Sitges, Spain. It stars Eva Green, Fonacier, and Mark Strong. Fonacier will grace the red carpet wearing Vania Romoff alongside her co-stars.

Film Still from Nocebo | Radek Ladczuk P.S.C.

Irish director Lorcan Finnegan takes on the tale of a UK fashion designer, Christine, played by Green, who is struck by a mysterious illness. Christine hires a Filipino nanny, Diana (Fonacier), to look after the household. In an attempt to cure Christine’s condition, she offers an ancient folk remedy.


Then, a surprising portrait emerges. Diana becomes the uncontrolled and uncontrollable creation of a powerful dark force, which shapes the conflict of the story more than what she can possibly understand.


“Diana has a lot of pain. I think that this journey of hers is dealing with personal pain. This pain brought by the loss that she experienced and that led her to where she is now,” says Fonacier, who was born and raised in Cagayan de Oro. She studied communication at the University of the Philippines in Cebu where she was active in the music, film, and theater community.


“I know science has explained a lot of things in the world, but I think there are still a lot out there that we could not explain [either]. But it doesn’t only talk about folk healing, but it also discusses about the current situation of labor practices, consumerism, and the issues of fast fashion,” Fonacier says.

Carlo Fajarda

Great care has also been rendered in handling the folkloric aspect. The producers consulted with local practitioners and employed Filipino writers to guard its accuracy. Talismans, herbs, and animal “familiars” that aid spells are employed as props.


“I had fears of misrepresenting our culture, but the more that I delve into the character and the more that I delve into the story, I understand how the producers prepared for the movie,” she says. “They did it with a lot of respect. It comes from a protective space.”


She shares that they consulted with a Filipino shaman on how to handle the props. “These props were the actual stuff that shamans would use. If I mishandled them, it may take [away] the authenticity of the movie,” the actress says. “I could not forget about this one item in the movie that is very dangerous to handle. With any route you take, do not pass by a cemetery. So the producers checked all the routes to the location to make sure there’s no cemetery nearby.”


Viewers have taken note of Fonacier since the movie’s trailer was released earlier. She needed extraordinary stamina to tackle Finnegan’s most monumental tragedy, pitch-black to the point of extreme skepticism.


“Most of the characters I played before are comedic, finding the funny and the ridiculous even in the worst situation. What makes Diana unique is I am able to explore a certain kind of darkness in her and in our culture. She is not complicated at all, but this one is pretty hard,” she says. “But the kind of relationship we had with the director is collaborative. I watched Eva try different techniques during rehearsals to see how the director would receive them.”

The pair’s chemistry was undeniable. What was novel about Nocebo for the Filipino was witnessing Green, a multi-awarded French actor, graciously step back and let another star shine. 


“Eva is very generous,” Fonacier says. “She is nice to everybody on-set; yet, she was not intrusive. When waiting for her turn to go, she could sit on one corner and go unnoticed. But once she stepped into the scene, she could fill a big hall. She transformed into her character. She did not impose a certain method when we shot our scenes together. Pakiramdaman lang. She would respond to what I give, vice-versa.”


What has been less mentioned now is Fonacier’s music. After having been discovered on the first season of Pinoy Dream Academy in 2005, she finally moved to Manila where she became a singer-songwriter whose thoughtful lyrics and beauty have captured the independent music and art scenes. In 2017, she won in the Visayan Pop Music Festival as the interpreter of the Cebuano song Kung Di Pa Lang Ko Buang.


“I am going to have music with me. It’s going to be there. It’s just a matter of what phase I am in my life,” she says. “For now, it’s acting. But who knows? Back then, I thought I was only going to be a musician. I didn’t expect I would land in film.” 


Fonacier croons in her music, building spoken-word verses into operatic crescendos, but no matter what size stage she ends up, expect her to do it with bare soul. “I have been asked many times about how I made it through show business. Pain, poverty, and pancit canton. Honestly, I don’t have a clue,” she says. “When you hit rock bottom, cried all the tears, usually what happens? You start laughing like a mad man.”

UP Manila prof named Outstanding Filipino by Metrobank Foundation

Dr. Leonila De La Fuente Dans, professor at the University of the Philippines Manila College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and Department of Clinical Epidemiology, was one of the Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos awardees who was recognized as a Pioneering Educator on Pediatric Rheumatology.


She is the first Filipina doctor to specialize in the care of children with rheumatologic or autoimmune diseases and became the very first chief of the Pediatric Rheumatology Section of the Department of Pediatrics, Philippine General Hospital.


“The path I have chosen is actually quite unique and rare, because at the start nobody was into this field,“ stated Dr. Dans as she was the one who designed her own pediatric rheumatology fellowship training program. She observed that there is still a need for more pediatricians who can take care of thousands of children suffering from these kinds of diseases.


Her other major achievement is in the field of clinical epidemiology, having led the implementation of Southeast Asia’s first Master of Science program in Clinical Epidemiology. She aims to train more doctors to specialize in pediatric rheumatology as well as in clinical epidemiology.


Dr. Dans is a Member Emeritus of the American College of Rheumatology, member of the International Clinical Epidemiology Network, and Advisory Editorial Board member of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. She is a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Clinical Practice Guidelines and Research Methods and Ethics. She has authored several journal articles and book chapters, with special interest on issues of applicability and equity. Her most recent publication is the second edition of their user-friendly simplified book entitled “Painless Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM)” targeted for EBM practitioners.


Over the past two years, she has been the sage voice of the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC), a group of healthcare workers whose statements help shape the national response to the pandemic. She is the Project Co-leader in the development of the Philippine COVID-19 Living Clinical Practice Guidelines funded by the Department of Health through the Philippine Council for Health Research Development.


Dr. Dans was awarded the rank of UP Scientist III of the UP Scientific Productivity System 2017-2019.

The award conferment held on Sept. 5, 2022 marked the celebration of Metrobank’s diamond anniversary. Recognized were four teachers, three soldiers, and three police officers each of whom received a cash incentive, gold medallion, and “The Flame” trophy.


The awardees underwent an intensive selection process and were selected from hundreds of nominations. The awardees’ accomplishments include innovations in their respective institutions as well as advocacies that benefit several communities. This year’s teacher-awardees have proven that mentorship is crucial in a learner’s journey, especially during a crisis. Their breakthroughs and innovations are rooted in shaping the future generation. Watch the awarding ceremony here.


Charmaine Lingdas | With reports from Metrobank Foundation


Source: https://www.upm.edu.ph/node/3964