Questions, Claims and Evidence – A Salute to an Extraordinary Chemical Educator, Professor Fortunato Sevilla III

Mickey Sarquis1* and Lynn Hogue2
Terrific Science, USA

1 Professor Emerita Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and
Director Emerita Center for Chemistry Education, Miami University, Ohio, USA
Present address: 1514 Lupine Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448 USA,
1-707-395-0260 (home)

2 Retired Associate Director, Center for Chemistry Education, Miami University, Ohio, USA


One of the most important aspects of teaching any science is to convey the methodology of scientific investigation in such a way that students develop the skills that are fundamental to scientific inquiry and the scientific way of processing information. As students develop their own testable questions about the system being studied, design experiments, collect data, formulate claims that can be substantiated by the evidence, develop multimodal models to represent this understanding, and subsequently share these with others by engaging in open discussion, debate, and scientific argumentation, students become immersed in the scientific endeavor. In the process, students learn to reflect on this discourse and come to challenge their preexisting beliefs and refine their original claims as new evidence becomes available. Examples of these strategies are shared in this paper.

Key Words: Claims and evidence; Chemical education


As chemistry educators who have been touched by Professor Fortunato Sevilla III, we share his drive to inspire, motivate, and share our mutual enthusiasm for chemistry with our students, colleagues, and the general public. We aspire to capture the attention of others by providing positive energy, exuberance, and even certain “magnetic” qualities that are embodied in the charisma of chemistry.

My dear young friends, If I were to present myself before you with an offer to teach you some new game—if I were to tell you an improved plan of throwing a ball, of flying a kite, or of playing leapfrog, oh, with what attention you would listen to me!

Well, I am going to teach you many new games. I intend to instruct you in a science full of interest, wonder and beauty; a science that will afford you amusement in your youth, and riches in your more mature years. In short, I am going to teach you the science of chemistry.

– Professor John Scoffern, 1849, Chemistry no Mystery

A wide variety of actively engaging experiences empowers students to gradually formulate their own understandings about abstract, complex chemical systems. As teachers, we need to make sure we are not dissociating fun, hands-on play from minds-on challenges. We need to broaden our teaching repository by interweaving diverse instructional methods to target different learning styles and engage different parts of the brain. We also need to support our students’ learning by helping them identify misconceptions, by asking higher-level questions, and by providing a safe environment that encourages students to think critically and take risks.

Developing Understanding with Claims and Evidence

One of the most important aspects of teaching any science is to convey the methodology of scientific investigation in such a way that students develop the skills that are fundamental to scientific inquiry and the scientific way of processing information.

While process skills such as observing, sorting, and classifying are important life skills that transcend the discipline of science, science is more than this set of skills; it is a way of looking at, learning about, and interacting with the world. Scientists ask questions, investigate systems, develop methods, and collect data. Next, scientists use information gathered through these actions to formulate claims that can be substantiated by their findings and subsequently shared with the larger community, allowing for open discussion, debate, and scientific argumentation. Scientists must be willing to reflect on this discourse and refine their original claims as new evidence becomes available. The open nature of scientific discourse provides an important safeguard in scientific endeavors.

Students need numerous opportunities to build these skills and experience this process in total. Through experience, the scientific method becomes more than a list they memorize from a textbook, but rather a working system that is an integral part of their lives. Teachers can maximize student learning by selecting meaningful experiences that grab student’s attention, challenge their preexisting beliefs, and encourage the development of testable questions. Careful observation plays a key role in the process as a catalyst for raising questions and as a means to gather evidence. Students will need to think about what they are observing, discuss their observations with peers, ask questions about what they are seeing, and reflect upon their observations.

Let’s consider three different commonly available toys: light sticks (available in a wide array of sizes, colors, and styles available from toy, novelty, and fishing/hunting suppliers), light-sensitive paper (sold commercially under the brands Nature Print® and Sunprint®), and UV-sensitive beads (often described as color-changing beads, are sold by many science and craft suppliers) and see how can students can be engaged in the claim and evidence learning approach to the scientific method as they discover the basic chemistry of these common toys. We would typically recommend that you have the whole class focus on just one of these systems at a time, working in small groups. In this way, students discover a great deal about each system through their own work and by hearing other groups’ observations, questions, and results. Later, by repeating the entire process for the other systems, students gain critical practice applying the methodology of scientific investigation to a series of different questions.

To begin students are asked to explore the assigned system and record their observations. In some cases the materials include instructions for use. If so, students should begin by following those instructions. (This step is especially important for the light-sensitive paper, because without initial instructions, discovering the properties of the paper would be quite difficult.) After the students have explored the system, allow time for discussion. Compiling a list of observations as well as comments and questions is often helpful.

Once students have explored a material, have them work in small groups to decide what else they would like to know about their system. Suggest they think about questions that start with “What would happen if…” Once each group of students has identified and listed some possible questions, have them choose one specific question to explore and design an experiment that could answer this question. Depending on your students’ experience, you may want to structure their work by asking them to answer questions such as the following:

  • What is your testable question?
  • Is there something you observed about your system that led you to ask this question?
  • What materials will you need for your experiment?
  • What data will you need to gather in order to provide evidence to answer your question?
  • What tools and methods will you use to collect this data?

While we strongly recommend that students develop and investigate their own testable questions, teacher may need to seed the discussion with possible questions particularly when students are new to the methodology. Some examples of testable question might include the following:

  • light sticks—How does temperature affect the activated light sticks? Does wrapping a light stick in insulating materials before activating it affect its glow? Do different sizes, colors, or shapes of light sticks last for the same amount of time or emit the same amount of light?
  • light-sensitive paper—What effect does a translucent object’s color have when exposing light-sensitive paper? What about objects with different opacities?
  • What is the effect of exposing the paper using different types of light sources such as UV, fluorescent light, or light-emitting diodes (LEDs)? What about different colors of light? When exposing the paper to direct sunlight, does the time of day matter? What about the duration of exposure?
  • UV-sensitive beads—What happens if UV-sensitive beads are covered with sunscreen of various sun protection factor (SPF) values? What if the beads are covered with fabrics of different opacities? How about sunglasses with various UV ratings? Does clear plastic or glass give a different result than a sunglass lens? What is the effect of exposing the beads using different types of light sources such as UV, fluorescent light, or LEDs? What about different colors of light? How do different colors of LEDs affect different colors of beads?
  • Does changing the temperature of the beads affect how long it takes them to change back to white?

Teachers are encouraged to review and approve the proposed experiments before students proceed or set limits in advance based on availability of materials, time constraints, or other classroom management issues. Emphasize that the goal is to collect data that will provide evidence that allows the testable question to be answered. Note that data, along with the interpretation of that data, provide the evidence. As students are working, you may hear comments such as “This isn’t working,” or “My results are wrong.” Evidence is what it is, and the results may be unexpected. Sometimes, no noticeable change occurs in an experiment, and this is valuable information. Depending on the questions being explored, digital photos or movie clips may be a useful form of data for students to collect.

When the experiments are complete, ask students to share their claims and the evidence for their claims and defend them with the rest of the class. Much like the practice in the scientific community, the class is encouraged to openly discuss, debate, and engage in argumentation about the presented evidence. Students must then reflect on this discourse and refine their original claims.

Allowing students to ask and strive to answer their own questions gives them a much bigger stake in the outcomes of their investigations, which in turn leads to improved conceptual understanding.

Because this experience is so important to students’ growth as scientists, we hope you can work such sharing into your schedule. As an alternative to verbal presentations, students can be asked to write a position statement presenting their claim and their evidence for it. These papers could be peer-evaluated for clarity, strength of argument, and other evidence the peer-evaluator might be aware of. Other options include students participating in poster sessions; writing informative letters to their families, younger students, or the school board; or developing PowerPoints or YouTube-style videos. By providing these experiences you will help your students become stronger communicators, an important skill in all careers.

The Chemistry of Our Examples

Light sticks consist of a sealed plastic tube that contains two solutions. One solution is in a thin glass vial within the plastic tube. The light stick is activated by bending the plastic tube, breaking the glass vial so the two solutions can mix. When mixed, the two solutions react, producing light.

The glass vial contains hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and the solution in the plastic tube contains a fluorescent dye and a phenyl oxalate ester. The ester and H2O2 react first, producing an intermediate compound that transfers energy to the dye molecules. This energy transfer results in ground-state electrons being “kicked up” to a higher energy state called the excited state. The visible glow results as an excited-state dye molecule loses energy as visible light and returning back to the ground state.
In general, the speed of a chemical reaction increases as the temperature increases. (The speed of a reaction is also proportional to reactant concentration.) Typically, two reactants must collide with sufficient energy to overcome the activation energy barrier.
At a higher temperature, a larger fraction of the reacting molecules have sufficient energy to exceed the activation energy and thus react upon collision. Therefore, at a higher temperature, the glow is brighter because the number of molecules reacting is greater. Likewise, at a lower temperature, the lower intensity of the glow indicates the reaction speed is slower. Since each light stick contains a fixed amount of material, the lower the temperature, the longer the light stick will glow but with less intensity. If an activated light stick is stored in a freezer, the rate of reaction becomes so slow that there is very little, if any, perceptible glow. However, when removed from the freezer and warmed, the light stick will give off light, even after being stored for several months.

Light-sensitive paper forms images due to a photographic process called blueprint or cyanotype. Cyanotypes are made by mixing aqueous solutions of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate (green type). This mixture is then coated onto paper, textiles, or any other natural material and dried in the dark. Exposure to UV light (natural sunlight is the traditional light source, but UV lamps can also be used) causes the iron(III) (ferric) ions to reduce to iron(II) (ferrous) ions with citrate ion as the electron donor. The iron(II) ions then react with the ferricyanide ions to form insoluble Prussian blue, which is essentially ferric ferrocyanide [also called iron(III) hexacyanoferrate(II)]. After the above reaction sequence is completed, the print is washed in water to remove the soluble unexposed salts. Upon drying, the final image darkens as a result of slow oxidation in air.
The cyanotype process has remained virtually unchanged since its invention by Sir John Herschel (1792–1871) in 1842. Herschel was an astronomer, and he used cyanotype as a way of copying his intricate notes. He placed his notes over a sheet of blueprint paper and placed the paper in sunlight. Given a long enough exposure time, sunlight exposed the blueprint paper through the white areas of the page, thus creating a “photocopy.” Anna Atkins (1799–1871), a botanist, became the first person to photographically illustrate a book using cyanotypes. Atkins’ book, British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions, uses 424 cyanotypes. The blueprints used in engineering and architecture were originally cyanotypes.

UV-sensitive beads contain pigments that change color when exposed to UV light from the sun or other sources. When removed from UV exposure, they will turn back to their original white or colorless form. The lower-energy pigment molecules consist of two flat planes at right angles to each other. UV light energy causes the two planes to twist into one plane, which is the colored and higher energy form of the pigment. The higher-energy form loses energy in the form of heat, rather than light, to convert back into the lower-energy form.

Exposing UV beads that have been coated with different sun-protection products affects how quickly and deeply the beads change shade. Beads covered with no sun protection product or a low SPF product quickly change to a deep shade. Those covered with a high SPF product remain white or nearly white.

Placing different types of fabric over the UV beads shows that fabrics offer various degrees of UV protection. The density of the weave plays a more important role than the color or type of fabric. Several lines of UV-blocking clothing are commercially available, and UV-blocking laundry additives such as SunGuard™ can be used to treat clothing.
Most plastic sunglass lenses are treated with a coating or contain an additive to block UV light. Sunglasses with a higher UV rating block more UV than those with a lower rating or no specific rating, typically causing differences in how quickly and deeply beads change color. Glass absorbs all high-energy UV light and much low-energy UV light.

The shade created by a building or tree is less protective than clothing and sunglasses. Even in the shade, UV light reflected from the surroundings can reach the beads. If an object is illuminated by sunlight, either directly or indirectly, it is also receiving at least some UV radiation. Going deeper into natural shade will reduce but not eliminate UV exposure. People on beaches and boats often get a suntan or burn even if they are in the shade because of UV reflection off the sand and water.

The temperature of the UV beads also contributes to the intensity of the observed colors. On a hot summer day with high UV levels, the high UV level causes the beads to become colored. The hot day, however, causes the colored beads to thermally convert to white at a faster rate. On a cold winter day with high UV levels, the UV light causes the beads to become colored as expected; however, less thermal energy is available to the colored beads so they are slower to convert to the colorless form. The result is more intensely colored beads on a cold sunny day than on a hot sunny day. The UV conversion to colored and the thermal conversion to colorless are examples of a forward and reverse reaction in equilibrium.


Sarquis, M.; Hogue, L.; Hershberger, S.; Sarquis, J.; Williams, J. Chemistry with Charisma (volume 1); Terrific Science Press: Middletown, OH 2009

Sarquis, M.; Hogue, L.; Hershberger, S.; Sarquis, J.; Williams, J. Volume 2 Chemistry with Charisma; Terrific Science Press: Middletown, OH 2010

PACS Junior Chemistry Congress 2014

PACS Junior Chemistry Congress 2014

22 November 2014
William Shaw Theatre, De La Salle University – Manila

Are you ready for the biggest junior student congress for this year? The Philippine Association of Chemistry presents the Junior Chemistry Congress 2014!

Junior Chemistry Congress is an annual student congress that aims to stir interest in the sciences for grade school students and to promote chemistry as an interesting undergraduate course to high school students. There will be a symposium and several competitions lined – up so check out what’s in store for you! JOIN NOW and be part of this phenomenal experience! 

For more details, contact RJ Diego at 0927 472 3852 or at

Former Science Dean Gets Festchrift, Academic Tribute

By Michael Carlo C. Rodolfo

To honor his contributions in the field of chemistry, the UST Graduate School presented a festschrift to Fortunato Sevilla III last Feb. 26 at the Faculty of Civil Law Auditorium.

A festschrift is a volume of writings by various authors presented as a tribute to a scholar.

“[It] is for distinguished member of the faculty [whose] scholarly achievements are beyond question and his contributions to the field are monumental,” Graduate School (GS) Dean Marilu Madrunio said in her speech during the presentation of the festschrift. “It is the highest recognition given to a master mentor.”

Read the full article at the Varsitarian.
Download the Festchrift Articles.

Starting Chemistry at a Young Age

By Rafael Espiritu

Each year, millions Filipino youth commit to higher education with a prime goal of ultimately being part of the professional work force and slowly carve a brighter future for them and their families. In a third world country with an emerging economy like the Philippines, it is both understandable and unfortunate that only a small fraction of these college students pursue college degrees in natural sciences. For instance in 2011-2012, barely 1.3% or roughly 40,000 from 3 million incoming college freshmen enrolled in natural sciences courses, including mathematics. To circumvent this undesirable statistics of disinterests in the sciences the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) holds annual on-the-spot poster making contest for elementary school students to instill interest in Chemistry and the natural sciences in general, at an early age.

The PFCS is the umbrella organization of five professional Chemistry societies in the country: Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (KKP), Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), Organic Chemistry Teachers Association (OCTA), Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT), and the Philippine Association of Chemistry Students (PACS). PFCS aims to upturn the students’ awareness in chemistry and advocate national and social issues to improve the country’s competence in Chemistry. To achieve these goals, PFCS reaches out to the different sectors of society, specifically targeting the youth and their inquisitive mind for science.

The Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest was first staged on December 8, 2011 in the University of Santo Tomas spearheaded by Dr. Fortunato Sevilla, III. This activity was co-sponsored by UNESCO and conducted celebrate the 2011 International Year of Chemistry. A brief primer explaining the contest’s theme proceeded the poster-making session proper. With the successful outcome and positive feedback coming from the participants, other tertiary institutions expressed their desire to participate in this event in promoting Chemistry and the natural sciences. In the following year, the contest, was held on February 13, 2012, and saw the inclusion of De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines, with the University Santo Tomas, as simultaneous venues for the contest and encouraged more schools to participate. Each of the four universities were asked to invite school-participants from designated regions in and around NCR. By the third year, the host schools expanded to nine institutions including two each from the Visayas (Silliman University and University of San Carlos) and Mindanao (Ateneo de Davao University and Xavier University), making the event truly a national one. Another institute from Mindanao, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, participated in the recently-concluded 4th edition of the contest, bringing to ten the number of institutions to host this event simultaneously. To allow for more students to show their creativity and artistic skills, the organizers are hoping to partner with more host universities for the forthcoming staging of the event during the first quarter of 2015.

Contestants and organizers during the 2nd Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest at De La Salle University.

Contestants and organizers during the 2nd Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest at the De La Salle University.

3rd Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest. From Left-to-Right: A participant in action at the event hosted by UP-Diliman; students with their work from Silliman University; and organizers, teachers and students from the Ateneo de Davao event.

3rd Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest. From Left-to-Right: A participant in action at the event hosted by UP-Diliman; students with their work from Silliman University; and organizers, teachers and students from the Ateneo de Davao event.

4th Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest National Winners. From Left-to-Right: Daniel Lucban (Bambang Elementary School) – 1st Place, Carlos Lacson (Ambray Elementary School) – 2nd Place and Ainer Padrigo (Philippine Tiong Se Academy) – 3rd Place.

4th Children on-the-spot Poster Making Contest National Winners. From Left-to-Right: Daniel Lucban (Bambang Elementary School) – 1st Place, Carlos Lacson (Ambray Elementary School) – 2nd Place and Ainer Padrigo (Philippine Tiong Se Academy) – 3rd Place.

The Poster Making Contest is open to Grades IV to VII students from both private and public schools all over the country. With a maximum of two contestants per school, each participant is given two and a half hours to prepare their poster based on their own interpretation of the event’s theme using art materials provided by the organizers. Three posters are chosen from the submitted entries coming from each of the host universities which will then qualify for the three national awards. The national winners are selected by a pool of respected artists and representatives from the PFCS. The awarding ceremony is held during the Philippine Chemistry Congress. This event is made possible thru the generous support of various sponsors throughout the years specifically CHEMREZ Technologies, Boysen, Shell, C&E Publishing, and Dow.

Science Writing Workshop for Journals

Science Writing Workshop for Journals

20-24 October 2014
Venue: Ateneo de Manila University


The culture of publication is still very young in the Philippines. This can be seen in the number of indexed work from the Philippines. This very much pales in comparison even to our ASEAN neighbors like Singapore and Malaysia. This shows that research in the Philippines is not of the same level as our neighbors. There are many reasons for this including lack of highly trained (PhD) manpower, lack of funding and equipment, etc. One of the reasons is simply a lack of exposure by our countrymen in terms of actually writing down research results that meet accepted qualities of scientific dissemination. These qualities raise the bar of research and leads to better research designs for better research results.

The workshop will try to address the last issue by helping Filipinos write their research results and submit their manuscripts to high quality local journals.  We do have local journals that follow accepted standards in publication.


  1. to train faculty members/science personnel to write for a journal
  2. to give experience to faculty members/science personnel to submit a manuscript to a journal and experience the standard review process in international journals
  3. to encourage people to submit research studies to a journal, especially to high quality local journals
  4. to raise the level of research in the country by being aware of journal publication standards


20 October (Day 1 Workshop)

  1. Introduction of the Workshop
  2. Introduction of participants
  3. Introduction of Experts
  4. Manuscript qualities accepted by high quality journals
  5. General Author guidelines
  6. Assignment of Authors to Experts (as mentors)
  7. Fellowship

21 October (Day 2 Workshop)

  1. Separate Run Through of manuscripts
  2. Critiquing of Manuscripts
  3. Revisions of Manuscripts
  4. Individual Writing and Consultations

22 October (Day 3 Workshop)

  1. Individual Writing and Consultations
  2. Group (by Field) Critiquing of Manuscripts
  3. Revisions of Manuscripts

23 October (Day 4 Workshop)

  1. Plenary presentation of papers
  2. Critiquing of Manuscripts
  3. Revisions of Manuscripts
  4. Fellowship

24 October (Day 5 Workshop)

  1. Presentation of Revised Manuscripts
  2. Submission of Manuscripts
  3. Closing
  4. Expert and Writing Fellows’ Evaluation of Workshop


Faculty members and researchers teaching and/or conducting research in the following fields: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Material Science are invited to apply. Fifteen (15) participants, through financial support from the Commission on Higher Education, will be given free registration including meals. Deadline of submission of extended abstracts is on or before September 30, 2014.

For submission and other inquiries, please email Ms. Grace L. Insik at or call +632 4265663.

PFCS Awards 2015: Guidelines and Criteria


The Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies recognizes outstanding contributions to Chemistry through the PFCS Awards.  The awards aim to:

  1. Inspire the youth to take up chemistry
  2. Recognize outstanding contribution of chemists to development of discipline
  3. Recognize outstanding and exemplary contributions to society through chemistry

The PFCS AWARDS will be given under four categories:

  1. Chemistry Education
  2. Chemical Research
  3. Chemical Industry
  4. Service to the Chemistry Profession


I . Chemistry Education

Separate awards will be given for chemistry educators at the secondary and tertiary levels. Thus, nominations are invited from high school and college level chemistry teachers. The criteria for the nominee in each level are:

  1. Nominees must have at least three years of teaching experience at the institution.
  2. Nominees must have made an outstanding contribution to the teaching of chemistry such as the development of innovative approaches/tools to the teaching of chemistry researches in chemistry education and development of teaching materials. Please attach supporting documents.   
  3. Nominations may be made by a school/university official or by a regular member of any of the chemical societies under the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS).
  4. Nominations must be endorsed by the school/principal department chair or by an officer of the regional chapter of one of the chemistry societies under the PFCS.

II. Chemical Research

  1. The nominee must be a chemist who has conducted chemical research in the Philippines or must have contributed to chemical research through linkages with a Philippine researcher.
  2. The nominees must have made significant contributions to his/her field as evidenced by any of the following: 1) papers published in the last five years, 2) research mentorship as measured by the number of theses advisees (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) and trainees supervised in the last five years. Please attach supporting documents including proof of completion of the project supervised.
  3. Nominations must be made by the department chair/head of institution/ or by a regular member of any of the chemical societies under the PFCS. The nomination must make a statement of the significance of the work done.      

III. Chemical Industry

  1. The nominee must be a chemist who has made a contribution to the chemistry related aspects of an industry in the Philippines through leadership, entrepreneurship, R&D management, process development and other means. Please attach supporting documents.
  2. Nominations must be made by the head of institution or by a regular member of one of the chemistry societies under the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies. The nomination must state the significance and impact of the nominee’s contributions to the industry. 

IV. Service to the Chemistry Profession

This is a special award to recognize individuals (not necessarily chemists) who have made outstanding contributions to the upliftment of chemistry in the Philippines through leadership advocacy and exemplary work.


  1. The following are excluded from the nominations: members of the PFCS board, members of the PFCS Awards Committee and the members of the National Organizing Committee and the Steering Committee for the 30th Philippine Chemistry Congress (PCC).
  2. The nomination will be evaluated by the PFCS Awards Committee which may consult experts as needed. 
  3. Submit three (3) copies of all documents including recent passport size picture of the nominee.
    1. Comprehensive Resume
    2. List of Publications
    3. List of Awards, Dates of Awards and Award-Giving body
  4. The deadline for submission is on or before 16 February 2015.              

Kindly submit the requirements  to: 

Dr. Armando M. Guidote, Jr.
c/o Department of Chemistry
Rm. 112, Schmitt Hall
Loyola Schools
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights
Quezon City 1108

2014 National Children’s On-the-Spot Chemistry Poster Making Competition Winners

By Glenn Tan

The Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) recently concluded the 4th National Children’s Chemistry On-the-Spot Poster Making Competition. The awarding ceremony was held during the 29th Philippine Chemistry Congress last April 9-11, 2014 at the Villa Caceres Hotel in Naga City, Camarines Sur. Daniel Aaron Lucban (Bambang Elementary School) won first place; Carlos Miguel Lacson (Ambray Elementary School) won second place; and Ainer Brean Padrigo (Philippine Tiong Se Academy) won third place.

Deniel Aaron Lucban (Bambang Elementary School) FIRST PLACE

Deniel Aaron Lucban
(Bambang Elementary School)

Carlos Miguel Lacson (Ambay Elementary School) SECOND PLACE

Carlos Miguel Lacson
(Ambay Elementary School)

Ainer Brean Padrigo (Tiong Se Academy) THIRD PLACE

Ainer Brean Padrigo
(Tiong Se Academy)

The Poster Making Competition, open to students in Grades 4-7 from private and public schools all over the country, provided an opportunity for its participants to show artistic ability and critical thinking. The elimination round was held on February 15, 2014 at the following host schools.

  1. Ateneo de Davao University
  2. Ateneo de Manila University
  3. De La Salle University (DLSU)
  4. Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology
  5. Silliman University
  6. University of the Philippines – Diliman
  7. University of the Philippines – Los Banos
  8. University of Santo Tomas
  9. University of San Carlos
  10. Xavier University

Contestants were given 2 hours and 30 minutes to create a poster on the theme “Health, Energy, and Chemistry”, and poster submissions were evaluated on creativity, originality, and relevance to the theme. Three local winners were each given PHP 2000 and qualified as finalists for the national award. The Board of Judges, comprised of Armando Guidote, Jr. PhD (PFCS President), Emmanuel Garcia (PACT), and Nick Tan (ICP, St. Scholastica’s College), selected one poster for each of the top three national awards. The first prize winner received PHP 7,000 and free overnight accomodations and round-trip airfare tickets to Naga City, while 2nd and 3rd prize winners received PHP 5,000, and PHP 3,000, respectively.

The Poster Making Competition was coordinated by Glenn V. Alea, PhD. (DLSU) and was sponsored by C&E Publishing, Inc., CHEMREZ Technologies, Shell, and Boysen The No. 1 Paint.

Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad, 2014

by Nestor Valera

The Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad (PNCO) was successfully held at the Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The winners were:

  1. Champion Michael Castro (Philippine Science High School – Main Campus)
  2. 1st Runner-up Justin Adriel Zent G. Togonon (PSHS – Western Visayas Campus)
  3. 2nd Runner-up Bienvenido Luis Castro (UP Rural High School)

There were a total of 26 delegates representing 11 regions in the country:

  1. NCR (Michael Castro and Esteven Evio; coached by Efren Paz)
  2. CAR (Rutherford Calawagan, Robert Aguilar, and Jim Bagano; coached by Melba Patacsil)
  3. Region II (Ralph Ido and Tasha Soliven; coached by Wowee Ariza and Ruchi Lagitnay)
  4. Region III ( Moises Ubungin and Joseph Cruz; coached by Rohit Tilwani, Lexter Natividad and Mark Bailon)
  5. Region IV (Judy An Balquiran, Bienvenido Castro, and Marc Fang; coached by Edison Boongaling and Pauline Pena)
  6. Region V (Catherine Abella, Al Christian Gobres, and Denise Leinsoco; coached by Alpha Pimentel)
  7. Region VI ( Justin Togonon and Juan Retirado; coached by Erika Salvador and Cynthia de Asis)
  8. Region VII ( Leibniz Respecia and Wand Ybanez; coached by Patrick LIm and Mary Joy Moncada)
  9. Region X (John Rizada, Lawrence Magsayo, and Brian Hingpi; coached by Gay Madrazo and Ethel Neoniz)
  10. Region XI (Zam Doctolero, Marian Yu, and Angila Aala; coached by Micheal Casas, Marcel Torilla, and Rochelle Papasin)
  11. CARAGA (Mylet Curilan; coached by Letecia Villanueva)

The PNCO is a pre-requisite of the International Chemistry Olympiad which is a multi-tiered competition that brings together the world’s most talented high school students to test their knowledge and skills in chemistry. Nations around the world conduct examinations to — nominate the most high-performing students for the International Chemistry Olympiad.

The event was sponsored by the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas and by the DOST-SEI.
The full report on the PNCO can be found in:

Quality Assurance Symposium for Analytical and Testing Laboratories

By Fortunato Sevilla III

A symposium on Quality Assurance in Analytical and Testing Laboratories was held on 10 April 2014 during one session of the 29th Philippine Chemistry Congress in Villa Caceres in Naga. It was organized by the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas – Division of Analytical Sciences (KKP-DAS) in cooperation with the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS).

The symposium opened with a keynote lecture presented by Dr. Aida Aguinaldo, a consultant of ASEAN Food Data Systems, on “Philippine Analytical / Testing Laboratories and ASEAN 2015”. Dr. Aguinaldo highlighted the challenge to meet the demand for quality analytical and testing data as basis for important decisions, particularly as the commencement of an ASEAN community approaches in 2015.

A series of talks on best practices and outcomes were delivered by speakers from a number of industry and testing laboratories. The speakers highlighted success stories, problems and adopted solutions in Philippine analytical and testing laboratories. The talks focused on the various important topics involved in quality assurance. Noel Lopena, quality assurance manager of San Miguel Brewery, discussed “Method Validation”, as practiced in their laboratories. Patricia Parales, laboratory manager of F.A.S.T. Laboratories talked on good practices in the “Calibration of Laboratory Equipment”. Benilda Ebarvia of the DOST- Industrial Technology Development Institute shared her experience on the “Development Of A Proficiency Testing / Reference Material For Benzoic Acid In Fruit Juices”.

A talk on “Measurement Uncertainty in Chemical Analysis” was presented by Rubylene Lasmarinas-Osila , Technical Manager, Manila Geochem, SGS Philippines Inc. The importance of “Internal Quality Control” was discussed by Frances Evelyn Palaris-Robles , Technical Director of the Philippine Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry, Inc. and of the Association of Drug Industries of the Philippines Quality Control Cooperative). “Proficiency Testing” was the topic of the talk of Ena Bernal, Group Manager of the Central Laboratory of the Universal Robina Corporation. The experience of their laboratory in “Laboratory Accreditation” was related by Lily Molina, Laboratory and Quality Manager of the International Rice Research Institute. The good practices in “Environmental Sampling and Sample Handling” were described by Juliana C. Oriña, Laboratory Director, CRL Environmental Corporation. The presentations were well appreciated by the audience in the SRO sessions of the symposium. The sessions were chaired by Dr. Florenda Valera of the University of the Philippines and Dr. Christina Binag of the University of Santo Tomas.

CdO Hosts Training-workshop on Chemical Safety and Security

By Admer Rey C. Dablio

Various laboratories in Mindanao participated in the Training-Workshop on Chemical Safety and Security organized by the Northern Mindanao Laboratory Consortium Foundation, Inc., in collaboration with the Chemistry Department of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, Rio Verde Water Consortium Foundation, Inc. and the Regional Standards and the Testing Laboratories of the Department of Science and Technology Region X (DOST-X). The event was held at the Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Limketkai Center, C.M. Recto Avenue, Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City on 12-14 May 2014.

The three-day workshop aimed at increasing safety and security awareness of laboratories handling chemicals. This training was designed for all safety and security officers and laboratory personnel from private, government, and academic laboratories, processing plants, agricultural chemical producers or distributors, chemical transportation industry, inspectors for health, environment, customs, and higher education, and safety and security enforcement agencies. Participated chiefly by chemists and chemical engineers, nonetheless there were biologists, medical tech-nologists, food technologists, laboratory technicians, safety supervisor, disaster risk reduction officer, safety, health and environment officer, sanitation officer, licensing officer, and owner of a chemical distribution company.

Chemists who completed the Chemical Safety and Security Officer (CSSO) Training facilitated by Sandia National Laboratories under the United States of America Department of State, held in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines were the resource speakers of this training-workshop.

Jomarie P. Enerio, M.S. Chem is currently a Chemical Safety Officer at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan. She attended the CSSO Training in 2012 in Davao City. Faustino M. Tarongoy Jr., M.S. Chem is also a Chemical Safety Officer at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and Chairman of the Chemistry Department in 2008 to 2011 and 2012 to 2013. Tarongoy actively participated in the 2009 CSSO Training in Bangkok, Thailand and he shared his knowledge on the subject during the 2012 training in Davao City. Tarongoy represented the Philippines in 2011 in the Associate Program on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Resource Speaker, Faustino Tarongoy

The lead resource speaker of the training-workshop was Patrick John Y. Lim, Ph.D. of the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. He became involved in chemical safety and security through collaborations with experts from Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, U.S.A., culminating with his appointment to a U.S. National Academies Committee on Promoting Safe and Secure Chemical Management in Developing Countries from 2009 to 2010. His engagement in chemical safety and security included travels to conduct training in Pakistan and Yemen, and to attend workshops in Australia, Thailand, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. His latest travel to Spiez, Switzerland was as a discussant for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Workshop 2012, on Impacts of Scientific Development on the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Resource Speaker, Jomarie Enerio

Participants appreciated the productivities borne out of the training-workshop because these learning have practical upshot in the improvement of their laboratories and in the assessment of the hazards involved with handling chemicals and chemical wastes. Julebelle A. Eltanal from the Department of Health Region 10, a medical technologist assigned at the licensing division of the agency checking on the laboratories, facilities, and services for drinking water testing in the region, said that she is very thankful of this training because she is now more aware of what are the things she should check during the conduct of laboratory safety inspection or audit and she can now give inputs and suggestions for the improvement of the audited laboratory.

Participants similarly visited the Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories of the DOST-X where a laboratory inspection and chemical safety and security audit were conducted. They noted some good features and practices of DOST-X laboratories which they may adopt in their own laboratories.

Resource Speaker Dr. Lim with participants

Engr. Joffrey E. Hapitan, President of the Board of Trustees of NorMin LABCON and Senior Vice-President for Operations of Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc., said that more training-workshops will be conducted by NorMin LABCON as the foundation’s desire to improve its capabilities is continually burning.