ICP Conducts Seminar-Workshop on Sampling and Sampling Techniques

Text by Dr. Vicky Migo and Dr. Lilibeth Coo

As part of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP)’s Continuing Professional Education Program, a special workshop on “Sampling for Chemical Analysis” was held last April 26, 2013 at the Police Training Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City.  The seminar was conducted by Dr. Edgar F. Paski of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

Ed PaskiDr. Edgar Paski

Dr. Paski or Ed, as he is fondly called by his colleagues from ICP, has worked in industry and government in the areas of mining and mineral exploration, environmental chemistry, pulp and paper technology and agrology.  He teaches courses in analytical atomic spectrometry, quality assurance and the assayer certification program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).  He is one strict assessor with an eagle-eye precision to correct techniques for testing laboratories to the ISO 17025 Standard for the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA).  It is in this area of his expertise that he got acquainted with IRRI chemists and later with ICP. Dr. Paski’s professional interests include: plasma spectrochemistry, sampling for chemical analysis, chemometrics, automated chemical analysis, trace elements in geological and environmental materials, quality assurance, laser applications in analytical chemistry, multidimensional luminescence spectrometry, computer applications in analytical chemistry, assaying precious metals.

The workshop aims to give participants an understanding of the critical influence of sampling on the quality of analytical results, especially for geological, environmental, and agricultural materials. The topics covered include variability in test results, accepted terminology for the various types of sample materials, heterogeneity of solid objects, tools and techniques for sampling solids, liquids and gases, fundamental causes of sampling errors and how to estimate laboratory and field sampling uncertainties.  Most of the 60 participants came from commercial private laboratories and some are from the government (DOST, EDC and PC Crime Lab) and from the academe (Adamson University, Bicol University).

Gen Sabong giving welcome address

General Liza Sabong of the PNP, a member of the ICP Board of Directors (representing the government) gave the warm welcome remarks.  Her speech described the importance of maintaining the integrity of samples (specimens) in the forensic science.  She noted the critical role of analytical chemists in generating accurate results in the field of forensic chemistry.  She proudly informed the audience of the DNA laboratory of the PNP that houses the complete array of analytical instruments for DNA testing.

ICP board with Ed PaskiDr. Paski (right),  with (from left to right) Dr. Lilibeth Coo, Dr. Vicky Migo, Dr. Toby Dayrit, General Liza Sabong, and Ms. Edna Mijares

The seminar cum workshop was a one-man show handled by the very energetic and indefatigable Dr. Paski whose lectures are very informative and enlightening.  The participants appreciated his lectures and were very thankful for a lot of materials and references on sampling techniques which Dr. Paski freely shared. The highlight of the activity is a workshop wherein participants were made to employ the different methods of sampling which they learned from the lectures, and applied them in a mixture of grains: rice, green and red mungbeans, etc. Acknowledgement is due to Shimadzu Philippines Corporation for providing two units of top loading balance that were used during the workshop.  All participants recognized the value of the training and the useful information that they got from this seminar.

Chemistry Graduate is Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2013

Text by Marie Astrid Amboy and Vicky Migo
Photographs courtesy of Dr. EJ del Rosario and Fayme Magallanes

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Ariella Arida (center) with fellow winners of the Binibining Pilipinas 2013 

Our 2013 Bb. Pilipinas Universe, MS. ARIELLA H. ARIDA hails from Alaminos Laguna.  Ara, as she is fondly called by her friends, finished her high school at Laguna College (LC), San Pablo City.  She started her tertiary education in 2005 at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, initially with a degree in Veterinary Medicine, but shifted into BS Chemistry on her second year in the university, which she finished in 2010.  Her undergraduate thesis is entitled “Virtual Binding of Synthetic Nucleoside Analogues and Phyto-brassino steroids to NS5 Dengue Virus mRNA 2’-o-Methyltransferase Domain Using Dock Software”, which she presented in the 2010 Philippine Chemistry Congress held at Subic Bay, Zambales.

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Her academic adviser is no other than the accomplished Professor Ernesto J. del Rosario who is known to his students as “Sir EJ”. Ara described Sir EJ as the “coolest and smartest teacher she has known”.  In the acknowledgement part of her thesis manuscript, Ara wrote “Sir, salamat sa lahat ng wisdom, mapa- Science, Philo, Psy, religion, lovelife, in short, anything under the sun, ang dami nyo pong natuturo sa akin”.  Ara’s favorite hang-outs in “elbi” are ICs and Boston Café which she acknowledged to have played a big role why she graduated because of its 24 hour-internet and cafe service.  She enjoyed eating and hanging-out with her barkadas at LB Square, Los Kababos, and Rally Point for the “comfort food” plus Baan Thai for her favourite pad thai.  Other things that she enjoyed doing in her college years during her spare time are going to the beach and bargain shopping. Being an Iglesia ni Cristo, she has also been a devoted church goer, making sure to go to church in spite of her busy schedule.

“From a different kind of life I used to have—I used to go to school wearing rubber shoes and a laboratory gown—and now here I am with the crown, wearing makeup.” It was the only thing that mattered after she was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2013  at the 50th culmination night of Binibining Pilipinas last April 14, 2013 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. Overwhelmed by her victory, she says she is prepared to handle the pressure that comes with her new crown.
Ara, who also won the Best in Swimsuit Award earlier that night has also competed at Miss Philippines Earth 2012 and was a former Mutya ng Laguna titleholder.  She is a ramp model and enjoys sports including volleyball, swimming, and running.

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During the most anticipated question and answer portion, she was asked by PNP Chief Allan Purisima what lesson in life women can teach men. Her answer was, “One lesson in life that we, women, can teach men is being sensitive. Because we all know that men are more logical when it comes to decision. They usually are more rational, straight forward. Unlike we, women, we use our heart and we tend to get emotional in some of our decisions. For me, sensitivity is something that we can teach men.”

She describes herself as an average person. But during this pageant she worked hard physically, mentally and emotionally which is evident in her physique and performance that Sunday night. She surely has big shoes to fill but no one can stop her from fulfilling her dreams.

Profession-wise, past beauty queens have covered a lot ranging from an Architect (Shamcey Supsup), a Pharmacist (Janine Tugonon), a Physical Therapist (Miriam Quiambao) and a Lawyer (Ana Theresa Licaros) to name a few. Will a Chemist bring home the most coveted crown this time?

ICP Conducts Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Basic Laboratory Equipment Seminar

By Dr. Linda Torres

The Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP)  conducted a one-day seminar on “Maintenance and Troubleshooting of Basic Laboratory Equipment” in  Silliman University, Dumaguete City on April 8, 2013  prior to the 28th Philippine Chemistry Congress.  This  is in coordination with  the Department of  Chemistry  of  Silliman University chaired by Dr. Paulina Aspilla.

Tony Vella, lecture on HPLC

Archie Torres, lecture on UVvis & AASEdna Mijares, lecture on GC

Top to bottom: Mr. Carmel Tony Vella (HPLCworks), Mr. Arturo Torres (Shimadzu), Ms. Edna Mijares (Jefcor)

Invited Speakers include Mr. Carmel  Tony Vella of HPLCworks Philippines based in California, USA;   Mr. Arturo Torres of Shimadzu Philippines Corporation and Ms. Edna Mijares, CEO, Jefcor Laboratories  and   ICP 1st Vice-President. Ms. Mijares discussed the preventive maintenance and troubleshooting of gas chromatography,  followed by   Mr. Vella’s talk on  HPLC.  Meanwhile, Mr. Torres conducted a comprehensive presentation on preventive maintenance and troubleshooting of UV-Vis spectrophometry and atomic absorption chromatography in the afternoon.

Toby Dayrit, Paulina Aspilla, Edna Mijares, Tony Vella

 ICP President Dr. Toby Dayrit (left) with speakersLinda Torres, Archie Torres, Edna Mijares, Toby Dayrit

Chemistry Department Chair of Silliman University Dr. Paulina Aspilla (left), Dr. Toby Dayrit (right) and speakersICP seminar on instrumentation, Silliman Univ, April 8 2013Speakers and Participants of the seminar

Dr. Fabian Dayrit, ICP President welcomed the participants  and stressed ICP’s commitment for continuing professional education to our chemists. The seminar was participated by 67 ICP members and non-members chemists all over the country including chemistry students of the said university. ICP would like to acknowledge Mr. Bernardo Mitra Sr.  for sponsoring the foods served during  the seminar. It was a succesful activity again by the ICP despite of a short preparation and notices to our members. Let’s congratulate Ms. Mijares for spearheading this activity. Job well done.

Habemus Chimista! Pope Francis is a Chemist


Written by Peter Tenido (Licensed Chemist, ICP Member; DLSU Part-time Faculty)

The white smoke used to signal the end of papal conclave is produced from a mixture of potassium chlorate, lactose, and rosin, a natural amber resin obtained from conifers.  The white “fumata” that emerged from the Sistine Chapel chimney on March 13 hailed the election of Jorge Bergoglio, Argentien cardinal, and Bishop of Buenos Aires, as new pope and leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.  He is the first pope to choose the name Francis (drawing connections to Francis of Assisi and Francis Xavier), the first non-European pontiff in nearly 1300 years, the first Latin American pope, and the first Jesuit pope.  He prefers keeping a low profile and is known for his simplicity and humility, choosing to use public transport and live in a small apartment.

Interestingly, the new pope Francis was initially a chemist by training.  He graduated from a technical secondary school as a chemical technician and then, at the age of 21, decided to become a priest.  He has a master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, and was ordained a priest in 1969.  The coming days will, no doubt, reveal more about the new pope’s views on important social issues, and his views on scientific progress in the 21st century (given his early scientific training) will surely prove interesting to follow.