University of the Philippines Los Baños
Horizon online
The UPLB Horizon is a newspaper/magazine that features articles on instruction, research and public service initiatives and programs, as well as information of general interest to UPLB and its publics. Some articles that are featured in it appear on the UPLB website. For contributions, email [email protected].



Pagkaraan ng isang daan at siyam na taon (After 109 years), UPLB remains relevant to this day. In fact, hindi lang po relevant – pinaka-relevant (it is not only relevant, but most relevant). Not just because of its niche areas, but because it continues to adapt to the changing needs and demands of our people and the rest of humanity.”

This was how UP President Danilo L. Concepcion described UPLB’s role in society as the University celebrates its 109th anniversary. President Concepcion was the keynote speaker at the Foundation Day Convocation and Awarding Ceremonies on March 6 at Baker Hall.

President Concepcion recognized the wide array of products that resulted from UPLB’s research and underscored how the study of agriculture has helped provide safe, nutritious, sustainable, affordable, and abundantly available food to the people. “Hindi po natin matatawaran ang pananaliksik na ngayon ay ginagawa dito sa UPLB (We cannot discount the research that UPLB conducts today),” he said.

He acknowledged the role of UPLB’s human resources in the level of excellence that the University has achieved, and commended the 2018 awardees’ honor and excellence in their service inside and outside the University.

During the event, 14 outstanding personnel and research and extension teams of the University were honored. In the words of Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. “they are members of the UPLB family who give more of themselves in fulfillment of UPLB’s mission.”

The 2018 outstanding personnel and team are the following:


OUTSTANDING TEACHERS. (2nd, 4th, and 5th from L) Dr. Michelle Grace V. Paraso (biological sciences); Dr. Benjamina Paula G. Flor (social sciences and humanities); and Asst. Prof. Katrina Joy M. Abriol-Santos (physical sciences), join President Concepcion (center) on the stage. Flanking them are Asst. Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Julieta A. Delos Reyes and Chancellor Sanchez.



OUTSTANDING RESEARCHERS AND EXTENSIONIST. (2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th from L) Outstanding researchers Asst. Prof. Jason R. Albia (junior faculty, natural sciences); Eldrin DLR. Arguelles (junior REPS, natural sciences); Dr. Antonio G. Lalusin (senior faculty, natural sciences); Asst. Prof. Karen P. Quilloy (junior faculty, social sciences); and Dr. Dinah Pura T. Depositario (senior faculty, social sciences); and (3rd from L) outstanding extensionist Asst. Prof. Glenn N. Baticados, together with (1st, 4th, and 9th from L) Asst. Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension Glenn S. Lubuguin, President Concepcion, and Chancellor Sanchez.


OUTSTANDING RESEARCH TEAM. The Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant Eggplant Research Team of the Institute of Plant Breeding, led by Dr. Desiree Hautea (9th from L) join Asst. Vice Chancellor Lubuguin, President Concepcion, and Chancellor Sanchez on the stage (6th, 10th, and 11th from L, respectively), together with CAFS Dean Enrico P. Supangco (back).


OUTSTANDING EXTENSION TEAM. The National Crop Protection Center Quick Response Team, led by Dr. Bonifacio Cayabyab (5th from L), together with Asst. Vice Chancellor Lubuguin, Dean Supangco, President Concepcion, and Chancellor Sanchez (2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 11th from L, respectively).


OUTSTANDING ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF. (2nd, 3rd, and 5th from L) Adora M. De Castro (technician/craftsman); Divinia B. Padua (office personnel); and Jenette Lory P. Tamayo-Estabillo (supervisor) are joined by (1st, 4th, and 6th from L) Vice Chancellor for Administration Crisanto A. Dorado, President Concepcion, and Chancellor Sanchez.

Dr. Benjamina Paula G. Flor, associate professor from the College of Development Communication and outstanding teacher in social sciences and humanities, delivered the response on behalf of the awardees. She cited the sacrifices and efforts that UPLB teachers have done to ensure that UPLB students will learn best and become successful when they graduate. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)



Drones, unmanned vehicles that roam the skies, can record breathtaking sceneries from a whole new vantage points. They have taken over media production, from the news to the big screen with their high-quality imagery, garnering quite a number of enthusiasts from all over the country.

A group of professors from UPLB share the same fascination for these flying machines, but not for the same reasons.

Since 2016, Prof. Danilo Mercado and his colleagues at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS) and Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics (IMSP), have been teaching robotics to students to aid agriculture and the environment.

Testing the skies

“Since drones are capable of processing digital images, we have been exploring their potential to determine agricultural crops’ nutritional deficiencies, stress, lack of water, and many other problems being faced by our local farmers,” said Prof. Mercado.

“If we can point these out as early as possible, we also have a better chance to come up with remedies. I believe this is something that would greatly lessen the losses of our farmers,” he added. 

The UPLB professors have also been trying to develop the drone’s application to determine whether the right crops are planted in areas based on crop suitability maps, to monitor farm productivity and characterize plant nutrition. They have already submitted a proposal to the Department of Agriculture to start an Agricultural Drone Academy to further develop applications of drone technologies for farming and to train potential users.


Testing the waters

From the skies, the team also dove into building water crafts that take water samples to keep track of lake temperatures, pH and oxygen level, and other important data.

Mercado gives it emphasis as he explains that it will soon be an essential tool in the early detection of fish kill. “It serves as a water quality sensor and an early warning device for fisherfolks.” Together with other UPLB professors and students, he plans to test the boat in Taal Lake, which has recorded numerous fish kill incidents in the past resulting to millions of pesos in losses.

In the long run, the team would also like to develop an image processing remotely operated underwater vehicle that could assess coral reefs and determine the classification and quantity of each.


Hand in hand

“Robotics is a collective and multi-disciplinary effort, it is at its best when it is done through a collaboration of different experts,” Mercado said.

Dr. Nelio Altoveros, a professor at IMSP, spearheads the initiative to establish the UPLB Robotics and Instrumentation Study Center that aims to conduct researches on robotics application for agriculture and to train professionals and students from all over the country.

The center, once functional, would propose studies on technologies such as farm drone application, automation of irrigation, and GPS-guided machines like driverless tractors.

Other than this initiative, UPLB has already been active on other on-going projects related to robotics agricultural and environmental application.


UPLB, through Project SARAI or Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines, has developed multi spectral drone system and uses free satellite images from NASA and the European Union to monitor farming areas to determine crop status and crop health. It also estimates actual damage after typhoons and other natural disasters.

Meanwhile, the Phil-LiDAR 1 project produced high resolution maps that show the extent of flooding across major rivers in the country. This is done using aircrafts equipped with Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) which scans and reflects the Earth’s surface and its features to a sensor.

“Our dream is to be able to tap these existing applications from the university and also to come up with new concepts. Once we package all these technologies, we might even be able to convince more young people to venture into farming and environment protection,” a hopeful Mercado shares his ambition.

Right now, these robotics experts from UPLB are focused on building mature technologies for the future — the robots of tomorrow to secure food production and preserve our natural resources. In the end, there is still a lot of work to be done but a vision has been set and the sky’s the limit. (John Glen S. Sarol)



EU Share ii

UPLB is now preparing to undergo an on-site institutional assessment by the European Union Support for Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (EU-SHARE) on Feb 5-6. The assessment is part of the University’s thrusts towards becoming an internationally recognized competitive research and graduate university.

The assessment is expected to help enhance the capacity of the University in taking charge of its internal quality assurance system by identifying points and recommendations for development. This is in line with EU SHARE’s aim to strengthen regional cooperation, enhance the quality, competitiveness, and internationalization of ASEAN higher education institutions and students.

UPLB is the first UP campus and the only public university in the Philippines to undergo the assessment. In preparation for the event, UPLB conducted the “Higher Education Assessment for Relevance, Towards Sustained Institutional Excellence: An Orientation” (HEARTS) seminar among administrative and academic unit heads in June 7 to 8, 2017. The seminar stressed the importance of institutional quality assessment and was also a preparation for UPLB’s self-assessment report which will be the basis for the EU SHARE on-site visit.

UPLB will be evaluated in a series of interviews with its faculty, personnel, officials, students, and alumni. The EU SHARE assessors for UPLB are Dr. Agus Setiabudi, from the Indonesia University of Education; Dr. Jacques Lanares, vice rector of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland; Dr. Chavalit Wongse-ek from Mahidol University; and Dr. Oliver Vettori  from Vienna University of Economics and Business. (JJSArana)

Chancellor FCSJr photoMMkiling

The UP Board of Regents, the highest decision-making body of the UP System, has reappointed Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. as chancellor of UPLB at its 1331st meeting on Oct. 18 at Quezon Hall, UP Diliman.

Chancellor Sanchez’s second term is effective Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2020.

In his vision paper entitled “Continuing the legacy of working together for excellence,” Chancellor Sanchez articulated his plans to continue making UPLB a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development. He expressed his aim to continuously sustain UPLB’s academic leadership and excellence; promote the use of UPLB knowledge and technologies towards inclusive growth; and create an enabling environment for creativity and innovation.

“UPLB is blessed with a collegial spirit – a thread of community and family that continues to bind our alumni, students, and staff – amidst diversity and the challenges of a fast changing world,” Chancellor Sanchez said. “My mission is to continue to bring together everyone in the University to actively participate and collaborate with us so that we can achieve our vision for UPLB.”

Chancellor Sanchez is a professor of landscape horticulture at the College of Agriculture and Food Science, a licensed agriculturist, and a certified arborist. He finished his BS Agriculture and MS Environmental Science from UPLB in 1987 and 1994, respectively. He earned his PhD Landscape Architecture from the Tokyo University of Agriculture in 1998.

He has held various administrative positions in UPLB since 2005. He was assistant to the vice chancellor for planning and development (2005-2011) and vice chancellor for planning and development (2011-2014) prior to becoming UPLB’s chief executive in Nov. 2014. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)


“The road to change is treacherous to say the least. But to guide us in every step of the way, compassion is what shall set our bearings.”

This is how President Danilo L. Concepcion contextualized his call for compassion during his investiture address as the 21st President of UP System on Sept. 20 at the University Theater, UP Diliman.

President Concepcion emphasized the need to have compassion, along with honor and excellence, in achieving UP’s solidarity and lasting camaraderie. “When we genuinely feel compassion, we are truly careful with our words and deeds; we are very careful of our every move so as not to hurt or harm the things we value and care for,” he explained.

Pres. Concepcion said that his administration will be guided by the overarching vision of UP: to be a leading regional and global university in an environment that sustains 21st century learning, knowledge creation, and public service for society and humanity.

In his speech, he spoke about his administration’s future plans and initiatives such as the protection of students’ right to freedom of expression, the option for return service for UP graduates, improving working conditions of faculty and staff, and rehabilitation of University facilities.

Present during the ceremony was Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education and of the UP Board of Regents (BOR), who presided over the investiture.

Also present were Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who is also a UP alumna, other government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, National Artists, National Scientists, heads of state universities and colleges and private higher education institutions, former UP Presidents, and current officials of the UP System.


President Concepcion was accompanied by his wife Atty. Ma. Gabriela Roldan-Concepcion, mother Natalia, mother-in-law Teresita, and his four children, namely: Juan Arsenio Gabriel, Carlos Rafael, Alfonso Miguel, and Isabella.

The BOR elected President Concepcion as chief executive of UP on Nov 15, 2016 during a special BOR meeting. On Feb. 10, former President Alfredo E. Pascual formally turned the position over to him during a program at UP Diliman’s Quezon Hall. On March 10, UPLB welcomed President Concepcion at a program held in his honor. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)