What motivated you to take this path, becoming a scientist? (Did you stumble into it quite by accident or was it the fulfilling-a-childhood dream kind of thing)
I cannot say it as a childhood dream, because when I was young, I was dreaming of a having a cap on my head like a nurse or a stethoscope on my ear. It is more of prodding and comfort probably because I'm exposed here at the FPRDI ever since.
My father was once a carpenter, working as a science aide and he always brings me here.
He's been always advising me to take forestry, as he was very much impressed with foresters, those working in this office specially the bosses. He would always say that "I admire them, their patience, work [ethics] and their enthusiasm is fulfilling."
To make it short, my dream of becoming a nurse or a doctor cannot be realized as my father had been saying we don't have the resources. I have to think of a course that will suit our condition. I was then convinced to enter forestry because it's just nearby [we lived here in Los Banos].
What is your favorite aspect of being a scientist?
There is joy in working in forestry, because you are not confined in just the four corners of your room [office]. You get involved in the other areas in the field such as harvesting, plantation establishment and having the chance to interact with different people. Actual field work helps you to appreciate what you are doing because you started from the very basic (collection of material), interact with people like plantation growers, farmers and managers, collaborators investors and other agencies.
Aside from the sciences, what is the next thing that you are passionate about? (for some it's playing the violin, mountain climbing, or pets etc.)
Weekdays is focused on work and family. As a catholic, I religiously attend church services. In my free time, I actively participate in this town's community activities. I'm the chairman of Catholic Women's League and the Ministry of Ecology. We do community service activities such as tree planting and community involvement, medical and dental clinic, and cleanliness program among others.
With all that you have accomplished so far, is there anything else, whether related to science or not, that you'd like to do?
Hopefully before I retire, I would want to further improve the moisture meter, developed by FPRDI with ASTI in 2008. We are working for its improvement, together with our partners and collaborator using the feedbacks from our clients.
As person, I would want to continue what I have been doing. This is where my passion lies and at the end of the day, I don't feel nor get tired as I am happy doing what I do.
What advice can you give to our young people of today, to those who dream of becoming scientists one day and those who are still undecided over where to go?
My advice to our young ones is to focus on the field they want to pursue. There is a need for patience and hard work for a researcher to succeed. Try to explore all this possibilities of improving the existing technologies or think of practical applications.
Right now, I could say that going into science is very enticing because the children have these vast opportunities, such as robotics and electronics and herbal/medicine coming. With the growth of modern technologies in our time, it presents us both, real challenges and opportunities to improve our well being.
We really love to share with them (what we know). We are open and we are encouraging them because if they succeed, of course we'll be happy to see that our young generation would continue what we started. Of course, with the assistance of these various agencies concerned with research and scientists, I think the young could succeed in the future.
Interviewed by: Arjay Escondo