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].



Dr. Romulo G. Davide. The name rings a bell.  It should because former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Hilario Davide, Jr. is his brother.

He might be, as one would say, lesser known, but his credentials are equally impressive. He is a professor emeritus of UPLB, a well-loved professor of plant pathology and nematology, and an accomplished and well-published scientist and researcher. To cap off all these, he was given the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2012 for helping empower farmers through science.

Within agriculture circles, he has been hailed as the “Father of Plant Nematology,” for his groundbreaking research on nematode pests that infest, debilitate, and destroy agricultural crops. Dr. Davide discovered fungi (P. lilacinus and P. oxalicum) that could kill nematode pests attacking vegetables, banana, potato, citrus, pineapple, rice, and other crops. This led to the development of BIOACT, a patented biological pest control agent that is environment-friendly and a practical alternative to highly toxic and expensive chemicals.



Empowering farmers



His discovery of the fungi and consequent recognition as a nematologist would have capped his career in the academe where he practically rose from the ranks at the then UPCA. He finished M.Sc. in plant pathology at the Oklahoma State University in 1962 and Ph.D. in nematology at the North Carolina State University in 1965.

The grand design for his life’s advocacy, however, eventually emerged and took over his retirement plans. A desire to prove that “there are no barren soils, only barren minds” fueled his resolve to help farmers. Dr. Davide went home to Argao, Cebu in 1994 to implement the “Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP),” selflessly using his prize money as “Outstanding Agricultural Scientist” of the Department of Agriculture.  Doing this, he risked his reputation and credibility as a scientist because Cebu, with its calcareous, rocky soil had been dismissed as unproductive even by agriculture bureaucrats.

Through the FSTP, a corn-based farming system, Dr. Davide trained an initial 50 Cebuano farmers in conducting experiments to test the efficacy of technologies in their own farms. The approach, with its values formation and marketing components, empowered and gave them a new-found dignity in their livelihood, and resulted in higher productivity in the farmer-scientists communities.


Creator of ripples of change


By mid-2000, the FSTP was creating ripples of change as an extension approach in Cebu and across the country when it enabled farmers to increase their income at least six-fold. In 2008, it was elevated into the National FSTP and has since expanded to 103 municipalities in 12 regions.

Because of the FSTP, Dr. Davide was named recipient of the prestigious Magsaysay Award. His citation read that his “steadfast passion in placing the power and discipline of science in the hands of Filipino farmers (who) have consequently multiplied their yields, created productive farming communities, and rediscovered the dignity of their labor.”

His name may have never made it to the headlines of national newspapers, but he is well-respected and loved by extension workers and farm families living even in the far reaches and deep in the hinterlands of the country.  



Partners in public service

Dr. Davide has remained a staunch partner of UPLB in public service. With the passage of Republic Act 9500 or the UP Charter, UP as the National University, has been mandated to serve as a graduate, research and a public service university. Under the administration of Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., UPLB has highlighted the public service mandate in its vision “to be a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development.”

Consistent with this vision, UPLB recently infused additional funding to scale up the National FSTP.  With this, Dr. Davide and UPLB will continue to reinforce each other’s efforts to make every Filipino farmer a discerning farmer-scientist -- one who wields mastery and control over the use of his/her resources and destiny, and who meaningfully benefits from national development. (JM Bo)



Professor Eberhard Curio, world-renowned conservation biologist and professor emeritus at the Ruhr-Universität Bochun in Germany, emphasized the importance of knowing animal behavior in conserving threatened species in his lecture “Conservation Needs Ethology: A Focus on Captive Breeding” on 27 March at the Plant Pathology Auditorium.

Prof. Curio, a visiting professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS), said that ethology is indispensable for the survival of threatened species in situ, conservation breeding, and release of threatened species back into the wild. He highlighted the need to identify the behavior of threatened animals from the captive breeding stage until their release into their original habitat.

Ethology, the biological study of animal behavior, is one of the five essential fields in conservation biology, Prof. Curio said. The others are taxonomy, population biology, zoo biology, and veterinary medicine.

He put a premium on ethology’s importance during the stage where the species is released to the wild, and presented what he called as “hurdles in the road to release.” These include the animals’ (a) sensitivity period for sexual imprinting; (b) sensitivity period for hunting/handling prey/food; (c) failure to recognize predators; and (d) maladaptive behavior despite the animal’s perfect look.

Prof. Curio gave remedies in facing these four hurdles but also reminded the audience that ethology requires a case-by-case approach.  Likewise, he emphasized the importance of proper animal nutrition during the captive breeding stage and prior to their release into the wild. He also recognized the help of other disciplines, such as sociology, in dealing with conservation ethology.

The lecture, co-organized by IBS and the Museum of Natural History (MNH), capped Prof. Curio’s two-week visiting professorship at UPLB from 16 to 27 March. IBS Director Nina Cadiz and Deputy Director Aimee Lynn Dupo thanked Prof. Curio for his efforts in sharing his knowledge and expertise with the audience who were composed of biology, forestry, veterinary medicine, and development communication students. (MJE Gloria)




The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension held a forum on public service on Thursday,  12 March. The forum gathered participants from UPLB colleges and offices with the goal of defining public service in the context of UPLB extension initiatives and proposing a public service framework that would integrate UPLB’s instruction, research, and extension efforts toward fulfilling UPLB’s mandate to lead as a public service university.

Public service is one of the functions of the University. RA 9500 or the UP Charter provides that it should lead as a public service university by providing various forms of community, public and volunteer service, as well as scholarly and technical assistance to the government, the private sector, and civil society while maintaining its standards of excellence.

Chancellor Fernando Sanchez delivered an inspirational message, in which he said that the noble calling of public service must be upheld in order to achieve UPLB’s goal of becoming a globally competitive graduate and research university. “It has often been said that the noblest way to live one’s life is to live it in service to others. And as constituents of the University of the Philippines, we know this to be true and we will continue to uphold this noble calling as we strive to reach our goal of becoming instrumental in leading in the development of our country,” said Chancellor Sanchez.

He also reminded the participants that, “in planning for UPLB’s future, and in everything that you do, always keep a cool head, and a warm heart.”

The forum invited panelists to discuss and provide their inputs into the topic. The panelists are Dr. Rita P. Laude, a professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences; Dr. Virginia Cardenas, director for administration of SEARCA; Dr. Enrico P. Supangco, director of the Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship;  and Prof. Maria Teresa DV. Arejola, director of the Office of Initiatives for Culture and the Arts.

The public service forum culminated with a framework and the restructuring of proposals from the forum participants, all of which are for further study by the OVCRE. These and the Public Service initiatives of UPLB will be presented in Part II of the forum that is slated on the second week of April. (JLL Roble III)


World renowned conservation biologist  Professor Eberhard Curio to deliver lectures in IBS – CAS,  UPLB


Visiting Professor Eberhard Curio, from Ruhr University Bochum (retired), and well known for his work on preserving endangered species,  will deliver a series of lectures from 16 to 27 March 2015, on conservation biology at the Institute of  Biological Sciences,  College of Arts and Sciences,  in UPLB. 

Prof. Curio has done extensive scientific research on endangered specieis such as the hornbill Visayan writhed-billed hornbill (Aceros waldeni; local names: dulungan, kalaw) in the deep mountains of Sibaliw, Northern Panay where he spent more than 20 years doing research. He is also instrumental in discovering new species of flora and fauna such as freshwater and arboreal crabs; and a rainforest landhopper Curiotalitrus curioi.

He will deliver a series of lectures in selected biology classes on topics such as:   

Principles of population ecology;

Principles of behavioral ecology;



Optimal foraging theory;

Parental care;

Mutualism (seed dispersal, pollination and others);

Predator – prey relationships;

Sexual selection; operational sex ratio;

Female mating strategies;

Speciation (multiplication of species); and

Life history theory — principles and selected topics.

Researchers and graduate students working on their dissertations and publications could also consult with Prof. Eberhard Curio,  subject to his time availability from 16 to 27 March 2015.

For interested participants please contact  the IBS through the following: 

IBS – CAS UPLB  official email addresses: [email protected][email protected]

IBS – CAS UPLB telefax number: (049) 536-2893

For more information about the scientific work of Prof Curio, please visit the Panay Eco-Conservation website


Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. who gave the inspirational message during the 106th Foundation Day Celebration and Convocation Program enjoined the UPLB personnel to make excellence a habit. The Convocation Program was held to honor 16 UPLB personnel and an extension and a research team that were given awards for outstanding accomplishments and acts that brought honor to UPLB.

Chancellor Sanchez said that he will do all he can to create an enabling environment that will promote creativity, innovation, and a culture of excellence in the University.

Dr. Robert S. Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute, the keynote speaker during the awarding ceremonies, highlighted the collaborative partnership between UPLB and IRRI since IRRI was established in 1959.

Dr. Zeigler’s speech took off from Chancellor Sanchez’s remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony for IRRI’s Lloyd T. Evans Plant Growth Facility on Jan. 17 that IRRI is part of UPLB and UPLB is part of IRRI. Dr. Zeigler said, “this mutual identity has been equally beneficial for both institutions.” To highlight this fact, he quoted IRRI luminaries’ statements on the UPLB-IRRI collaborative partnership and named renowned personalities who led in implementing them.

In her speech to accept the awards on behalf of the 18 award recipients, Prof. Loida E. Mojica, a faculty member at the College of Economics and Management said that the awards are meant to reward performance as well as to serve as a reminder to continuously press on and strive further to hone their crafts and be of better service to UPLB and its clients.

The award recipients are the following: Outstanding Administrative Personnel – Elpidio M. Tejano, Eduardo G. Eres, Geronimo M. Reyes, Liza G. Custodio, and Engr. Romulo E. Eusebio; Outstanding Researchers – Dr. Sheryl A. Yap, Dr. Mario V. Navasero, Dulce D. Elazegui, Dr. Leni Diamante-Camacho, and Dr. Barbara L. Caoili; Outstanding Artist – Dr. Susan Aquino-Ong; Outstanding Research Team – ASEAN-Korea Environmental Cooperation Project-Philippines; Outstanding Extension Team – The Cereals Section of the Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture; Outstanding Teachers – Ivy Amor F. Lambio, Reginald Neil C. Recario, Dr. Liza N. Comia, Gemalyn H. Lozano, and Loida E. Mojica.