Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2010

GQNPC @ Don Manolo's

Swimming party for GQNPC staff and family!!
Tran, the OJTs, and I went home at 9.30 PM. The others stayed overnight.
My assignment was to bring drinks good for 34 people (including kids) so I brought 18 L of children-friendly beverages (allotting 0.5 L per person) and tube ice. With the summer heat, the drinks didn't last three hours!!

Baby's day out 2

Hannah dropped by the lab again, this time a lot bigger and nimbler. Her squeaky shoes made enough racket to let Fe know where in the lab she was.

Boodle lunch at the Coconut Grove

April 23, 2010

My first boodle lunch!! Food was served on banana leaves and we ate with our hands (well, except for Jing, who brought a spoon with her). I enjoyed the lunch very much. Aside from the delicious and nutritious food (with generous helpings of vegetables), the gathering was held in such an informal atmosphere.

Ate Lucy even had a photo op with Dr. Zeigler. =)

IFSA/IJR Alumni Homecoming

April 22, 2010

The alumni dropped by to share stories about the beginnings of what is now IRRI Filipino Scientists Association. A gathering of people who loved to speak and to reminisce the old and the not-so-old times.
Roslen was the official photographer. Most of the posed shots are available in his Facebook Photos page. Some wacky shots during the group photo sessions are found below.

Inside the Golden Stroke

April 21, 2010

Golden Stroke

The Nakpil Art Group came, saw and found inspiration. The artists painted various scenes about different aspects of rice research and its relevance to society. There were a lot of artworks, but I'm posting only two pieces in this album.

To see the rest of the exhibit, visit the IRRI Riceworld Museum's Asia Room. Golden Stroke runs until May 14.

Inside IRRI's Nostalgia Theatre

April 21, 2010.

The team who translated a dream into reality did an impressive job of turning what used to be Mommy's office (1990s) into a cozy exhibit area. Whenever I'm in what is now the Seminar Room at Harrar Hall, I remember the day I was hit smack on the head by a typewriter's platen knob (the knob people turn to push a sheet of paper up the typewriter).

The Nostalgia Theatre runs until next week (I think).

Nuvali day trip: April 9, 2010

The Nuvali trip finally pushed through on April 9th. We did not feed the fish and we did not ride the boat. However, we lunched at Crisostomo's, basked in the intense afternoon sun, and then capped the day at Starbucks with new friends.

Wala palang picture ang mga bagong kaibigan.

... and we did take photos. Hehehe =)

The GQNPC Open House

The lab was open to anyone who wanted to have a look and to taste basmati and jasmine rice. We didn't resort to "infomercials" too much, just a brochure of what the lab is about and a few email announcements (that the lab welcomed guests until 5 PM). However, we did put arrows to help guests find the GQNPC facility. 

We never expected to get a lot of visitors. At 9 AM, the first group of people, mainly alumni, dropped by, and the lab tours began! I'm really thankful that Melissa, the boss, had been training Fe, Dara, and me in touring guests around the lab. By the time the Thai princess visited in 2009, the three of us could give lab tours properly when Melissa and Tita Dory are unavailable. When the alumni's turn arrived, the three of us certainly could hold our own. Plus, the technicians at Quality Evaluation were also very knowledgeable with what they're doing. All we had to do was introduce them to the visitors and then they'd continue their experiment…

Asian Hospital Run: May 2, 2010

Ate Maddie signed us up for our next 3k run, another one for charity. She's definitely hooked to road races, which is a good thing.

The RUNew 2010 of the Asian Hospital and Medical Centre is our second road run. Slated on May 2nd, the fun run happens at the Filinvest Corporate City in Alabang in the wee hours of the morning. Ate Maddie's got the race kits with her, and I'm excited to see what a timing chip looks like. Anyway, signing up for this race is the first time we had to supply our expected finish time, and it's quite nice that we've had a dry run at the PGH fun run last week. 
I just hope that the run route wouldn't pass by areas where vehicles smoke could reach us. However, that's wishful thinking. Getting a big dose of smoke from a truck during a race is NOT a nice experience (but that's Manila, what did I expect?).
If Ate Maddie isn't going overseas for a vacation, I suspect we'd be running on official races every weekend!! Running is a …

Breakfast by any other name...

... is still breakfast. 
My problem is I couldn't eat breakfast before 9 AM when I'm tense (nervous, excited... just like prior to conference presentations), but I had to eat something before the PGH run on April 24. Therefore, I called my 4 AM mac-and-cheese meal a midnight snack (thanks, Ate Maddie!) and did not suffer from the usual after-breakfast stomachache. 
Ate Maddie and I finished the 3-km fun run in about 25 minutes based on our calculation. The official race time is yet to come out (along with the photos), but as far as we were concerned, we performed quite well. 
I was hungry by the time the sun was over the buildings. Off to the food stall we went, but I didn't get a sandwich (looked too much like breakfast). Instead, I had four siomai pieces and one pork barbeque, fruit juice, taho, and water. At 7 AM, those count as breakfast, but I called them meryenda (snacks) instead.
Yep, it's all in my mind.
What do I usually consume in the morning nowadays? Water (or f…

A lesson in audience etiquette

As part of IRRI's alumni homecoming, the Kabayao Family quintet performed at the Havener Auditorium on April 22. (What a great show!!)
As usual, the house rules were: turn off or keep mobile phones on silent mode, eating and/or drinking are not allowed inside the venue.
The pianist, Corazon Kabayao, gave us a few more tips on how to be a good audience. 
1. Kids are normally not allowed to stay on the front row. They distract the performers. So people with kids are encouraged to stay at the rear of the auditorium.
2. Do not let the performers walk on stage in silence. Applaud while they enter. Applaud while they exit.
3. In performances with many movements (particularly the classical compositions), do not applaud after each movement. Clap only when all movements have been performed.
4. Applause is the only way the audience can communicate feedback to the performers. The performers know when the audience claps just to be polite and when they do deserve the applause (and the standing ovati…

Who will produce food in the future?

"I want to be a doctor." "I want to be a lawyer." "I want to be a nurse." "I want to be a football player."
I was watching the replay of American Idol 9: Idol Gives Back on Star World when I heard these statements, purportedly from children living in Africa who are going to benefit from donations pledged during the course of the program.
Hmm... Dr. de Datta had hit the bull's eye during the special forum earlier today. Africa is suffering from food shortage caused by various factors and yet none of the kids (or whoever scripted the overdubs) mentioned ever wanting to produce food and aim for food self-sufficiency. Medicine and its allied professions are obvious career choices because of the prevalence of AIDS and other diseases in the region (based on the video). Sports and law are also lucrative professions and can really alleviate poverty.
However, I'm sure some of these children will end up in agriculture eventually.

So this is how high-level scientists discuss issues...

The future of international agricultural research. That was the topic of the special forum/ armchair discussion (without armchairs) I attended today. What an impressive group of panellists!
Dr. Bob Zeigler and Dr. Klaus Lampe (Directors General) Dr. Ren Wang and Dr. Achim Dobermann (Deputy Directors General, Research) Dr. S.K. de Datta (Agronomist, Principal Scientist 1964–1991) Dr. Swapan Datta (Senior Biotechnologist 1993–2005) Dr. Ronnie Coffman (Plant Breeder 1971–1981) Mrs. Angeline Kamba (Board of Trustees 1998–2003)
Only during an alumni homecoming can you gather all these brilliant people together in IRRI's Havener Auditorium to talk science in such a relaxed atmosphere.
A lot of things were discussed during the two-hour forum. It amazed me that all of them were throwing ideas from the top of their heads; very spontaneous, very informal. Dr. Zeigler was a very effective moderator as well, successfully engaging the panellists and keeping the audience's interest with challenging…

Rice Self-Sufficiency: Possibilities in the Philippines (My notes from the media forum in IRRI)

We've done it before; we'll do it all over again. That is the take-home message from the media forum held in IRRI on April 19 (in connection with IRRI's 50th anniversary). The panel members during the forum were: Dr. Achim Dobermann and Mr. Jojo Lapitan (IRRI), and Dr. Sergio Francisco (PhilRice).
The question though, is really WHEN will  the Philippines have enough stocks of rice again?
Now that is a harder question to answer. Dr. Francisco has predicted that if the Philippines can produce 3.3 cavans of rice more per hectare each year, then the country will be self-sufficient in 2013. On a more realistic scale (I think), which is based on a rice yield growth of 3.7% and a population growth of ~2%, self-sufficiency is predicted to be attained in 2017. 
Why is the Philippines importing rice in the first place?
This is one of the most common questions asked by non-rice science people. The book, entitled "Why Does the Philippines Import Rice?" (published by IRRI, PhilRi…

GQNPC Open House on April 23 (Friday)

This week (April 19–23), the International Rice Research Institute is celebrating hosting an alumni homecoming as part of its 50th anniversary celebration. Alumni (former IRRI students and staff, and their companions) are invited on April 23rd (Friday) to drop by the Grain Quality, Nutrition, and Postharvest Centre (GQNPC). Take a glimpse at how rice from the breeding lines are evaluated for various parameters of quality and see the science that goes behind current and future tools in grain quality evaluation. Post-harvest technologies and management practices developed under close collaboration with national partners are also on exhibit.
Aside from a look at the laboratory facilities (at the Kenzo Hemmi Laboratory and the Service Building), visitors can also participate in sensory evaluation of cooked rice varieties. Three guided laboratory tours are scheduled throughout the day*. 
Tour 110:00 AM Tour 2  3:00 PM Tour 3  4:00 PM
For more information about the alumni homecoming, please visi…

Al Gore Live in Manila

I thank Sylvia for pointing out that this event is not as publicised as others. The promotional poster is found below:

You read that right! Former US Vice President Al Gore is gracing the stage at SM Prime's Leadership Conference Series 3. This lecture was originally set on April 30, but is now slated on June 8. 
I had enjoyed his lecture on "An Inconvenient Truth" except in parts where I felt that he was trying to promote himself as a great would-have-been president. On his lecture on the 8th, I will not only take notes on his thoughts and studies about environmental issues. I will also note down his presentation styles. His lecture is highly praised by Garr Reynolds in May 2006. See his blog in the link:
Anyway, more information about his talk can be found at the TicketNet website.

PGH Run!

Ate Maddie and I are now registered for the 3-km run! 
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Medical Foundation, Inc. launches the "Takbo Para sa PGH" to raise funds to support the Charity Patients' Medical Fund. The run is slated on April 25 (Sunday) at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, and I am happy that Dr. Sharon Madrinan (PGH Pediatrics Resident) forwarded the information to me. I told Ate Maddie about this, and I convinced her to join on the spot! =)
More information about the event and is available in The pdf copy of the registration form is available in the website too! Online registration is at
The PGH Medical Foundation helps financially-challenged patients to obtain medicine and avail of costly laboratory tests. The Charity Patients' Medical Fund was established in 2004.

Kanina sa Ticketnet outlet...

Tagalog naman ngayon para maiba naman (salamat kay Bob Ong... binabasa ko kanina yung isa sa mga librong nilathala niya).
Nakabili na ako ng ticket para makapakinig sa talumpati ni Al Gore sa Leadership Conference Series 3 na hatid ng SM Prime Holdings (Yehey!). Sa Ticketnet Outlet sa loob ng SM Makati ako nakabili. Bago ako bumili, kailangan muna syempre malaman kung may nabibili na nga ba... 
Rochie: Nagbebenta na po ba ng ticket para sa "Al Gore Live in Manila"?
Tindera sa Ticketnet: Oo, mayroon nang ticket. Ito ang seat plan. (iniabot sa akin ang isang papel)
Rochie: Magkano po ang pinakamurang ticket? Ito pong bronze?
Tindera sa Ticketnet: P1,056 ang isang ticket sa bronze. P5,280 naman ang silver. Ang mahal naman ng platinum ticket, P15,840! Sino ba si Al Gore? 
Rochie: Dati pong bise-presidente ng Amerika si Al Gore. 
Tindera sa Ticketnet: May concert siya? Anong kinakanta niya?
Rochie: Naku, hindi po! May lecture po siya kaya siya pupunta sa Maynila; hindi po concert.
Oo nga …

I am not THAT sweet... yet. Hehehe!

With diabetes on both sides of my family, I had to monitor my blood glucose levels. This year, I had blood samples taken for fasting blood sugar (FBS) and 2-hour post-prandial blood sugar (RBS) tests. I didn't eat and drink fluids from 12mn to 7.30am for the FBS, and I had blood drawn exactly two hours after lunch for the post-prandial. 
I passed both tests this year–barely–but I'm still NOT pre-diabetic based on the WHO (110 mg/dL) and the ADA (100 mg/dL) criteria!!
FBS = 99 mg/dL Post-prandial = 96 mg/dL
Dr. Zenaida Torres told me that my insulin sensitivity is still good, and I don't have to take in any medicine yet. However, she did tell me to eat in moderation and continue with the exercise (which is currently jogging 2.5k every other day, if my schedule can fit it).
Next year ulit!

Anna's BSc Nursing Graduation

April 7, 2010.

To Anna, well done! Congrats! Culinary Arts naman! Hehehe. =)

To Tita Mely, Tita Lucy, and Trisha, thank you for attending her graduation with me. I'm happy you enjoyed Faustina's. =)

To Mommy, Daddy, and Biboy, I WISH YOU WERE HERE (kanta ng Incubus). Absent kayo e, ako muna ang STAGE sister. Hehehe

Good Friday 2010: In black and white

While the procession slowed down to a halt (thanks to low-lying wires that had to be raised so each cart with the saint(s) could pass by), I went a little ways ahead to find a good spot. As I walked further away from the procession, I noticed the Sta Cruz river and the infamous typhoon-damaged bridge as the sun began setting low.

Good Friday 2010: People-watching

Anna and I took photos during the Aglipayan Good Friday procession. We caught up to the procession as it was on Taleon Street, and then we split up.

This set contains photos of people before and during the procession... a lot of family photos since our family was assigned to maintain the images of St. Veronica and of a flogged Jesus.

Still in Morong, Rizal

... and still April 1, 2010.
Aside from Morong's Tagalog dialect, I noticed two more things. Sadly none of them included the famous Chinese lions of the Morong Church. I still don't understand how I missed such prominent pieces of art. Hmmph! The only statue of a lion I saw in there is the one beside Saint Jerome, and I'm sure that one does NOT look like a Chinese lion.

On our way to the church, I was attempting to photograph this boy because I thought he walking along the main street holding a hen. The bird moved its head towards the coaster and I saw its huge eyes. Whoa! That's an owl! (I didn't realise I said that aloud until the two kids with us on the trip snapped their heads to look at my side of the window). Because I was quite shocked, I missed my shot, and did not get a photo of the owl's head. We're not sure if the owl is a pet or is about to become the boy's lunch. I sure hope the owl will not be eaten by the boy's family. This is the first…