“They’re always surprised that a Filipino is doing plasma research, especially in relation to materials. ”This is a common reaction to Magdaleno “Jong” Vasquez Jr. when he meets foreign scientists. They’re even more surprised, he says, when he tells them that he works on ion sources. “And I’m working on low-energy ion sources when most are working on high-energy.”

Binibini 26 Wynonah Buot (Photo by Erwin Lim)

To say that beauty pageants are big in the Philippines would be an understatement. Year after year, millions are glued to their TV sets watching Filipinas compete on the international arena as beauty queens become heroes who dominate the national conversation. The battle, however, begins at home and two iskolars are among this year’s Binibining Pilipinas 2018 candidates, both of whom are striving to stand alongside powerful, elegant women such as Theresa Licaros, Venus Raj, Shamcey Supsup, Ariella Arida, and Catherine Untalan.

Photo by Bong Arboleda, UP MPRO

“When I face an ordinary Filipino citizen, and he asks me who I am, I want to be able to tell him that I know what he’s going through and that we can help each other.” This is what keeps Attorney Hanna Keila Garcia serving in government despite criticism from some people, including family and friends.

She is just as honest as she was during her final question-and-answer portion at the Miss Universe contest in 2010. But this time, eight years later, she admits that she has a major, major problem when asked why she wanted to take up a master’s degree in Community Development. “I’ll be very honest with you,” says the towering Bicolana beauty Venus Raj. “I had no idea what Community Development was at first. Someone told me to enroll in it as I was interested in going back to my roots and serving the community. Those were the selling points for me,” she continued.

The first three issues of Tabi Po. (Photo from Mervin Malonzo's online store, www.mervstore.com.)

Funny Komiks made Mervin Malonzo realize he could tell stories with drawings. His family had just moved into another rental house and the former occupants had left copies lying around. The future magna cum laude graduate and National Book Award winner was in the third grade then.

The DNA Analysis Laboratory's (DAL) Jazelyn Salvador. (Photo courtesy of the DAL)

In 2016, National Geographic ran a story on the case of Sierra Bouzigard, a 19-year-old from Louisiana, USA who was found beaten to death seven years prior. Although in the fatal struggle Bouzigard managed to get some of her attacker’s tissue under her nails, traditional methods of matching DNA to suspect failed to yield any […]

UP RI Executive Director Alfredo Mahar Lagmay speaks to Mayors, Municipal Planners, and Disaster Risk Reduction Officers during the National Rollout and Training-Workshop on the Formulation of the Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP). (Photo courtesy of the UP Resilience Institute.)

Mandated to advance national development and also to help save people’s lives, the University of the Philippines established the UP Resilience Institute (RI) in July 2016, followed by its adoption of the Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards (NOAH) Center in March 2017 as its core component. By harnessing the expertise of academics and professionals in the fields of science and technology as well as the arts and humanities, these UP hubs are at the forefront of scientific research and extension work on natural hazards, climate change actions, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and the promotion of disaster resilience in the Philippines and the Pacific Rim.

Dr. Pablito Magdalita

He dreamed of becoming a doctor and now he is addressed as Dr. Pablito Magdalita. Instead of a medical degree, however, he has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Biotechnology from the University of Queensland, Australia. “I went from wanting to help human health to plant health. It’s ultimately about wanting to help improve lives through science. I loved all my science classes in high school,” Magdalita says.

Lem conducting "photo ID" studies in southern Tañon Strait, identifying individual dolphins through scars, shape, and unusual pigments in dorsal fins. Photo courtesy of the UPD-IESM Marine Mammal Research and Stranding Laboratory

Marine mammals—such as whales, dolphins, dugongs—are descended from ancestors that lived entirely on land. Fleeing from terrestrial competition, they turned to the waters and the vast resources of its depths. The Philippines is rife with marine mammals, a fact confirmed by stranding incidences—more than 800 recorded since 2005—exceeding the normal numbers in the region.