Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Basic Laboratory Equipment

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines
is pleased to invite you to attend the 1-day
Continuing Professional Education Training-Workshop on:

Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Basic Laboratory Equipment

08 April 2013 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Science Complex Lecture Room (SC110)
Silliman University, Dumaguete City

Our laboratories depend on the reliable operation of a number of basic equipment, such as balances, ovens, pH meters, and GC and HPLC equipment. A well-implemented maintenance and troubleshooting program helps ensure the proper operation of our laboratories, as well as keep costs under control. The ICP is pleased to invite you to attend this one-day seminar which will cover the maintenance and troubleshooting protocols for basic laboratory equipment. It will be given by experts with extensive experience in the laboratory and instrumentation technicians from our major instrument suppliers. The program shall include the following topics and speakers: UV-visible spectrometer & AAS (Arturo Torres, Shimadzu), Gas Chromatography (Edna Mijares, Jefcor Laboratories), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (Carmen Vella, formerly Waters). 

Workshop Fee (covers handouts, lunch and snacks):


Early Registration (before April 2, 2013)

Regular Registration (after April 2 or onsite)

ICP Members

PHP 800.00

PHP 1,000.00

Non-ICP Members

PHP 1,000.00

PHP 1,200.00

Registration may be made on-line through email:
Or through our website:

Please remit payment through the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Loyola Katipunan Branch.
Name of Account: Integrated Chemists of the Philippines
Current Account Number: 3081-0830-95
Please email copy of payment slip to ICP office to guarantee reservation.

On the Top of the Heap

As a young boy, Rob Jeremiah Gotengco Nuguid’s fascination with chemistry began by dabbling the rigors of an apprentice’s Alchemy, in his parent’s basement, mixing all sorts of things he could get hold of – water, palm oil, baby powder, petroleum jelly – well, you get the picture. So long before he even knew what chemistry is, he had known that he wanted to become a Chemist. Asking him now on what he wants to be, he stated that he would like to become a research scientist. However, he is still undecided as to which field of chemistry he would venture into because he loves every branch of Chemistry equally.

One moment, he’s got his eyes on…

(and 60 seconds later, a full-pledged Analytical Chemist)

Topping the chemist licensure exams, as he put it, is purely an offshoot of studying hard while having a tad fun along the way, and of course, prayers. Rob would take multiple-choice examinations after a hectic review each day. If he reached his target score, he would reward himself by watching a movie, slouching to watch a TV show or finish a chapter in the novel he was reading.

Devoutly attending novenas on Wednesdays to Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Thursdays for St. Jude Thaddeus and Fridays for the Black Nazarene and Sunday masses that would not be missed kept his spiritual core calm.

Rob enrolled at an off-campus commercial review center in tandem with the in-house review offered at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. These review sessions gave a big boost to refresh his memory on basic concepts and helped him pinpoint the specific topics that need extra attention. For those aspiring to reach the top posts in the licensure exam, Rob suggests that you should design your own study regimen and timeline and set certain bounds critical to your review — which subject you should review first, how often you would review, etc. The following might be helpful:
• After graduation, take some time off to relax before facing the rigors of review. In my case, I declared the whole month of April as my rest month. I started reviewing in May.
• Start your review by mastering the basic concepts in General Chemistry to allow you to take on the more advanced topics. The next subject should be your Achilles’s heel (a.k.a., Physical Chemistry, in my case) so that you would have ample of time to learn its concepts before finally moving on to the advanced topics (e.g., harmonic oscillator, HSAB theory, etc.) as these may also be included in the exam.
• Read at least one textbook per subject and take notes. The rule of thumb is to use any book as long as you’re comfortable with it. Make sure that you understand all the things that you read.
• Try to solve numerical problems by directly inputting the data on your calculator instead of writing them first on a scratch — this is a great way to save time. Know every trick (e.g., the SHIFT-SOLVE method) that your calculator hides and use all of them to your advantage.
• Practice multiple-choice type questions. There is no clearer way to track your progress other than taking exams. There are many examinations available online. These are usually arranged by topic so you can immediately take an exam corresponding to the chapter that you’ve just studied. Additionally, you may also purchase practice exam books such as AP Chemistry, GRE Chemistry, GCSE Chemistry, etc. are available from Booksale at a discounted price. The board exam is in multiple-choice format so it’s best to practice with questions having the same format. I have compiled for your use some of the multiple-choice exams that I’ve answered online (Note: These links are case-sensitive):

General Chemistry:
Inorganic Chemistry: (advanced)
Organic Chemistry:
Analytical Chemistry:
Physical Chemistry:

• Relax and have fun. Sounds cliché but reviewing for the board exam really is stressful. You may even find yourself cramming during the final weeks before the actual exam (been there, done that). Celebrate every small victory (e.g., getting a perfect score on a chapter quiz) by rewarding yourself to do anything that you want — a movie or a trip to the mall perhaps — because these steps, however small, are not negligible and serve to indicate that you’re moving towards your goal.

And pray. After all, what can be impossible with Him?

“Taking the licensure exam is the pinnacle of undergraduate academic endeavors. Ergo, study hard and give everything that you can give because when you’ve done your best, you will feel fulfilled regardless of the results.”

Strategizing the Board Exam

Graduating college with honors doesn’t just mean one gets a special rope for your graduation robe. Completing a chemistry degree from the University of the Philippines (Diliman) in 2012, with no “laude” attached to it, did not somehow deter John Ephraim Esperas Torres to push his way to top 3 spot in the chemist licensure exam September 2012. A bit of an irony because John’s original plans did not have Chemistry in it.

BS Accountancy and BS Chemical Engineering are the two courses John wrote in his UPCAT Application Form. Both courses are in-demand that time, causing him to not qualify though his UPCAT result is DPWS (degree program with available slot). He chose BS Chemistry instead and decided to stay put and finish the course and not shift course, along the way.

His original career path spells a keen interest in business. He quipped “I want to combine Chemistry and Business. My ultimate dream is to establish my own chemical manufacturing company. It may sound crazy but I’m serious. But of course, I have to work first and learn everything about the chemical industry, how manufacturing businesses work and operate, and then I will pursue my ultimate dream.

In December 2011, John prepared all his review materials including chemistry notebooks, books and college handouts. The original plan was to start reading chemistry books by January 2012 but failed because of the time he allotted to do his research thesis. In addition, he cannot study well in his dormitory because all they would do is talk, laugh and jam. For these reasons, after graduating last April 2012, he decided to rent a solo room and isolated himself to these distractions until board exam month.

His routines would include waking up early in the morning and study all day until dawn. Review class starts at 4:30 in the afternoon and he will continue to study even after the review classes has ceased. The only break time he would have is when he’d eat lunch, dinner or snacks or when stressheadaches start thumping its way to his head. This was his daily routine.

Certainly sounds exhausting, but John is bent to get used to it, after a while.

John would head back home on Saturdays and spend almost the whole day in his church on Sundays. Weekends and Mondays (Mondate, as he calls it) are his rest days. Enrolling in a review class helped him a lot in knowing his weaknesses, stimulating the actual exam pressures and answering techniques. Most importantly, he knew his rank in every mock board exam which had the over-all percentiles and per subject. That is apparently what he was after in a review center. However, one needs to work hard on your own and not just depend on the review center. He advised that if you want to top the boards, a review center is a big factor. These are John’s tips for the next batch of board takers:

Have a strategy: You need to manage your time. You cannot study everything in five months and you must be strong in all subjects, and so scheduling is vital. I used my phone’s calendar to make a monthly plan. The chapters I will study and the exercises I will answer for the day are noted in my calendar. In general, my plan is one subject for one month, so a total of 4 months which coincides with the schedule of subjects in the review program. The fifth (last) month is devoted for sample exams and exercises.

Three words- Practice, practice and practice: answer as many questions as possible (exercises and sample board exam questions); don’t focus on reading your book, too much reading will just waste your time. Analogous to body building, but reading stuffs about building muscles and not actually doing the physical exercises, is futile.

And, pray until something happens…

Gusto ko tagalog naman dito sa last part. Medyo korni ‘to. Minsan lang sa buhay ‘tong boards, sineryoso ko na talaga, binigay ko na lahat ng kaya ko para walag regrets pagkatapos. Mahirap yung magsisisi ka, “sana pala ginalingan ko o sana pala pinilit ko mag-top kaya ko pala.” Basta ibigay n’yo na lahat. Wag n’yong isipin na cool yung hindi masyadong nag-aaral tapos papasa pa rin sa boards. Careerin nyo nalang ‘tong boards kahit tawanan kayo ng iba nyong kaklase. Sa mga gustong mag-top, lahat gustong mag-top syempre sino bang may ayaw. Pero hindi lahat willing na mageffort ng todo. Hindi naman kailangan sobrang galing ka, hindi kailangan nerd. Hindi naman magpapasolve ng Schrodinger Equation dun. Ako nga as in hindi talaga marunong nun seryoso. Basic lang questions sa boards, yung kaya lang sagutan within 3 minutes. Mas kailangan ng common sense, diskarte at dedication syempre. To God be the Glory!

Chemistry PhD students Publish in Journal of Chromatography A

Heide R. Rabanes, a PhD student of the Department of Chemistry,  Ateneo de Manila University published another research work entitled Synergistic effect of field enhanced sample injection on micelle to solvent stacking in capillary electrophoresis in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of Chromatography A (JCA).  The work was co-authored with Agnes T. Aranas, also an Ateneo PhD student who graduated last March 2012. The JCA is known for its stringent requirements and evaluation of original research and critical reviews on all aspects of fundamental and applied separation science. The techniques in her research work falls under electromigration techniques which includes electrophoresis. Electrophoresis is the process where a certain voltage is applied and this causes the movement of ions across a conductive medium where they migrate towards the electrode with an opposite charge.

Rabanes presented a two-step preconcentration or stacking strategy which addressed the sensitivity issue of capillary electrophoretic techniques employing ultraviolet detection. The research work was motivated by the fact that while capillary electrophoresis is a powerful analytical separation technique for small and large molecules, its sensitivity suffers when applied to real samples containing very minute concentrations. This work provided a new approach to overcome this shortcoming and reported a thousand-fold enhancement in sensitivity enhancement. The technique was successfully evaluated with antipsychotic drugs and applied to spiked urine sample after a simple extraction procedure.

Rabanes is a faculty member of Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan. She is currently on study leave to pursue her PhD studies. She is a recipient of a scholarship grant from the Commission on Higher Education and is presently being funded for a one-year Sandwich Program for a thesis research project in an overseas laboratory at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), Australia. She is under the supervision of Dr. Joselito P. Quirino, an Associate Professor of the School of Chemistry’s Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science and under Dr. Armando M. Guidote Jr. in the Ateneo de Manila University.

Glycerol-Crosslinked PMMA for Controlled-Release Application

A Polymer is a long thread-like chain formed by attachment of similar molecules. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) is one of the most widely produced polymer in the world today. It is formed by polymerizing or ‘attaching’ methylmethacrylate (MMA) and is used in household items, in paints and as a substitute for glass. PMMA is compatible with the human body so it has several biomedical applications also which includes dental bases, bone filler and intraocular lens.

Glycerol is a highly hydrophilic or ‘water-loving’ species, a byproduct obtained from the soap making process and from the biofuel industry. It is also generated by hydrolysis of coconut oil. It mainly finds its application as a sweetening agent, stabilizer in food industries and humectants in cosmetic formulations.

As part of our project we cross-linked or ‘tied up’ PMMA chains while synthesizing it using glycerol to form a 3D polymer network to encapsulate N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET), a mosquito repellant. The networks were reduced to nano size capsules prior to DEET encapsulation.  When the polymer swelled in a solvent, DEET entered the porous network of the polymer and got captured. They were released slowly when the network got squeezed by changing the solvent. Instead of using chemicals to crosslink glycerol and PMMA, the group used commercially available benign enzymes as ‘biocatalyst’ to speed up the reaction and to eliminate the chance of inducing toxicity from a chemical catalyst.  The concept of encapsulation and release of DEET from PMMA network is schematically represented as following:

Encapsulation and Release of DEET from the polymeric network of PMMA formed by crosslinking PMMA with glycerol

Encapsulation and Release of DEET from the polymeric network of PMMA formed by crosslinking PMMA with glycerol

DEET is one of the most effective mosquito repellent available in the market and is available in the form of lotions, creams, gels and aerosol spray. However, these formulations utilize DEET inefficiently. Most of the DEET is lost within a few hours of application due to perspiration, rub off and other activities.  To go beyond six hours the concentration of DEET needs to be increased or the repellent needs to be reapplied.With the use of our formulation where DEET remains encapsulated inside the polymeric network, slow and controlled release of DEET was observed beyond 10h. The study establishes that DEET encapsulated inside the polymeric network of PMMA gets released at a controlled rate for prolonged period and can be further studied for the development of a long lasting mosquito repellant formulation.

A copy of the article is available online at 10.1016/j.msec.2012.06.001.

SOSE-CH-035Dr. Soma Chakraborty is currently an Associate Professor at the Chemistry Department of Ateneo de Manila University. She finished her PhD in Polymer Chemistry at the Polytechnic University of New York. Her research interests include biocatalytic synthesis, modification of organic and macromolecules, and polymeric vehicles as controlled release system.

International Conference on Natural Products 2013

4-6 March 2013
Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

For the year 2013, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) has been given the honour to host the International Conference on Natural Products 2013 (ICNP 2013), which will be held on 4-6 March 2013 in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. On behalf of Faculty of Applied Sciences, and Atta-ur-Rahman Research Institute for Natural Product Discovery, Universiti Teknologi
MARA together with Malaysian Natural Products Society (MNPS), it gives us great pleasure to invite you and your colleagues to participate in ICNP2013 which is an annual event of MNPS.

The theme of the ICNP2013 is Science and Nature with the following relevant research topics:

  • Ethnobotany and ethnopharmacology of medicinal plants
  • Advances in spectroscopy for structure identification of natural product
  • Chromatography and separation science
  • Discovery of lead compounds for drug development
  • Synthesis of bio-active molecules
  • Computational and structure-function studies
  • Biological activities, pharmacology and toxicology of natural products
  • Pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry
  • Analysis and development of herbal products
  • New technology platforms in natural product research
  • Microbial metabolites as a new source of pharmaceuticals

This conference will be attended by most natural product scientists fromall over Malaysia as well as many other countries. Please visit the conference website for more information:

ICP-SOMIN Gives Excellence in Chemistry Awards to Top Students

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines Southern Mindanao Chapter (ICP-SOMIN) gave Excellence in Chemistry Year 2013 Awards to outstanding high school students last 16 February 2013 at the Ateneo de Davao University.  The following are the awardees:

  1. Lilibeth Diane Yu* – Davao Christian High School Academy
    Carlo Antonio Nazareno* – Colegio de San Ignacio
  2. Keanu Polo Bonocan – Philippine Science High School
  3. Earl Christian Te – Ateneo de Davao University
  4. Paul Dave Panzo – Sta. Ana National High School
  5. Dewy Rose Escueta – Davao Central High School
  6. Kent Raven Olario – University of Immaculate Conception
  7. Edward Jan Bacalso – Davao City Special National High School
  8. Victor Patrick Agdasiw – Baguio National High School
  9. Zuhair Ali – Brokenshire Science High School
  10. Lara Francess Rañises – Philippine Women’s College of Davao

Continue reading

Speech of Dr. Montano at the 2012 PRC Chemistry Oath Taking

Dr. Nemesio “Coke” Montaño, professor and researcher at the UP Marine Science Institute, is the Outstanding Chemist for 2012. He was a guest speaker during the Oath-taking and Induction of New Chemists held at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel in October 2012.

Hon. Ramon Magsayday Jr., former senator; Commissioner Alfredo Po of PRC; Dr. Adoracion P. Resureccion (Chairman, Board of Chemistry); Dr. Soledad S. Castañeda (Member, Board of Chemistry); Academician Dr. Fabian Dayrit and other officers of the ICP,  KKP and PACT; our honored guests; fellow chemists and mentors; ladies and gentlemen.

Continue reading

ICP-SOMIN Gives Excellence in Chemistry Awards to Top Students

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines Southern Mindanao Chapter (ICP-SOMIN) gave Excellence in Chemistry Year 2013 Awards to outstanding high school students last 16 February 2013 at the Ateneo de Davao University.  The following are the awardees:

  1. Lilibeth Diane Yu* – Davao Christian High School Academy
  2. Carlo Antonio Nazareno* – Colegio de San Ignacio
  3. Keanu Polo Bonocan – Philippine Science High School
  4. Earl Christian Te – Ateneo de Davao University
  5. Paul Dave Panzo – Sta. Ana National High School
  6. Dewy Rose Escueta – Davao Central High School
  7. Kent Raven Olario – University of Immaculate Conception
  8. Edward Jan Bacalso – Davao City Special National High School
  9. Victor Patrick Agdasiw – Baguio National High School
  10. Zuhair Ali – Brokenshire Science High School
  11. Lara Francess Rañises – Philippine Women’s College of Davao

High schools from the region submitted one nominee each for the award.  The criteria consisted of the average grade in Chemistry (60%), participation in Chemistry-related contests, quiz bees, science quests and other related contests (30%), and narrative report of the character and excellence as exemplified by the student to be attested by a Chemistry Teacher (10%).

The event was held back-to-back with the National Children’s  On-the-Spot Poster Making Contest.  Support for the events were given by Chemrez Technologies, Dow Chemical Company, Boysen, Shell, Perkin-Elmer and C&E Publishing.

Awardee (center,Carlo Antonio Nazareno of Colegio de Ignacio) with the ICP SoMin Board of Directors  and ADDU Chemistry Department chair

Awardee (center,Carlo Antonio Nazareno of Colegio de Ignacio) with the ICP SoMin Board of Directors
and ADDU Chemistry Department chair


Awardee (center, Keanu Polo Bonocan of Philippine Science High School) with the ICP SoMin Board of Directors
and ADDU Chemistry Department chair


The 11 Excellence in Chemistry Awardees for 2013 with the ICP SoMin Board of Directors and ADDU Chemistry Department chair

Speech of Dr. Coke Montaño in 2012 PRC Licensure Exams Oath-Taking

Hon.. Ramon Magsaysay Jr., former senator; Commissioner Alfredo Po of PRC;; Dr. Adoracion P. Resureccion (Chairman, Board of Chemistry); Dr. Soledad S. Castañeda (Member, Board of Chemistry); Academician Dr. Fabian Dayrit and other officers of the ICP,  KKP and PACT; our honored guests; fellow chemists and mentors; ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, let me congratulate you for your achievement of passing the Chemistry Board Examinations. This feat is indeed a life’s milestone. Let me also greet your individual families for the moral, spiritual, and material support, and also your mentors who molded you to become achievers.  Passing the board exams is a major step in the pursuit towards our individual goals.

I am happy and honored for being given a chance to talk to you and for having this rare opportunity of establishing an intimate relation with each one of you in the audience. The chemists should understand what I am referring to. For the non-chemists: the molecules that I inhale and exhale goes to the air in the room, which in turn gets inhaled by each one of you. Isn’t that intimacy?

My talk is short, as the late Carlos P. Romulo likened a short speech to a bikini – scanty but enough to cover the vital parts.

I am here to talk to those of you who are planning to go into the academic track. In the academe, teaching and research are equally important. Preferably, one must get a graduate degree: MS, Ph.D., and preferably, a Post Doc. Of course , there are growing pains.

When you get into the academic track, you become a part of the solution in terms of science and technology. Data taken in 2008 from the World Bank reveals that Singapore has 5,900 researchers per one million members of the population; Japan has 5,400, Thailand has 600, and the Philippines has 78. Kawawa ang Pilipinas.!

After graduate training ,you may also take the other tracks of the Chemistry profession such chemists in industry , business and in government.

On your way towards obtaining a Ph.D., there will be several distractions. They may be likened to flowers along the way – you may tend to pick them up, but be sure that you don’t get lost while pursuing the path towards your goals. Many students take consultancies and other jobs on the side while in graduate school. However, a number of these students did not finish their degrees.

Staying in this country or returning after training to eventually work in this country: we consider these as acts of heroism. Yes, it is true that the OFWs are keeping our economics up. However, we must also remember that Philippine education prepares us for life either locally or globally. With Filipinos in the sciences, in chemistry, and in other professions, we will be able to uplift our country’s economy, literacy, and well being.

Being a teacher in this country is like taking a vow of poverty. Academics may not be financially rewarding compared being in the industry and other business, but the rewards are nevertheless far-reaching and immeasurable.

Meanwhile, in conducting research, one must be careful with the experiment design so as not to commit errors. It is a good practice to examine results as a whole. More importantly, you must publish your results. Your research results give credibility to your teaching and work. In my experience, I have come to know that it is best to work on science and technology-related problems of our country. When you publish in journals with high impact factors, you can be immortalized in chemical abstracts and international databases. Also, sometimes, you can get mileage if you work with members of a different specialization or if you use chemistry in answering research questions under the other fields of science.

 To cite examples, many of the renowned Filipino chemists owe their claim to fame to their work on Philippine problems: NS Lourdes J. Cruz on conus, NS Banzon on coconut, Prof Dayrit on coconut oil and lagundi, NS  Ben Juliano on  rice, NS Clara Lim Sylianco on mutagenicity studies, Dr. Mae Mendoza on the biochemistry of Philippine fruits… the list goes on. My instant fame with the Seaweed Industry locally and international was because, I wrote about the properties of the PNG carrageenan a commodity which, during that time, is being produced only by the Philippines.

On a different note, in order to prevent occurrence of dishonesty in science, it is best that you practice the guide outlined in the Ethical Principles and Guidelines for Filipino Scientists by the National Academy of Science and Technology. You might also want to read the article “On Being a Scientist” by the National Academy of Science of US.

To end, I’d like to leave everyone of you with these pieces of advice:

Vladimir Prelog (23 July 1906 – 7January 1998) was the 1975 Nobel chemistry Prize winner for his work on making the absolute rule on handedness of the molecule. Together with Cahn and Ingold they devised the CIP sequence rules. He said:

“The world is chiral and clinical, enjoy the symmetry wherever you find it.”

Also, perhaps the most important advice he gave during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the Rectus and Sinister

“If you want to be happy for an hour, buy a bottle of wine,
If you want to be happy for a week, roast (slaughter) a pig,
If you want to be happy for a year, get married.
If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, love or enjoy your work.”

Finally, before I leave the stage, here is a story I usually tell my Natural Science I (Chemistry Portion) class:

One sunny day, Helium and Hydrogen atoms went strolling in the park. Hydrogen atom said “I lost an electron”.
Helium inquired, “Are you sure?”
Hydrogen replied “Yes, I am positive.”

Enjoy your celebrations and the tsug tsug music tonight.


Thank you.