University of the Philippines Los Baños
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The UPLB Horizon is a newspaper/magazine that features articles on instruction, research and public service initiatives and programs, as well as information of general interest to UPLB and its publics. Some articles that are featured in it appear on the UPLB website. For contributions, email


Chancellor FCSJr photoMMkiling

The UP Board of Regents, the highest decision-making body of the UP System, has reappointed Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. as chancellor of UPLB at its 1331st meeting on Oct. 18 at Quezon Hall, UP Diliman.

Chancellor Sanchez’s second term is effective Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2020.

In his vision paper entitled “Continuing the legacy of working together for excellence,” Chancellor Sanchez articulated his plans to continue making UPLB a globally competitive graduate and research university contributing to national development. He expressed his aim to continuously sustain UPLB’s academic leadership and excellence; promote the use of UPLB knowledge and technologies towards inclusive growth; and create an enabling environment for creativity and innovation.

“UPLB is blessed with a collegial spirit – a thread of community and family that continues to bind our alumni, students, and staff – amidst diversity and the challenges of a fast changing world,” Chancellor Sanchez said. “My mission is to continue to bring together everyone in the University to actively participate and collaborate with us so that we can achieve our vision for UPLB.”

Chancellor Sanchez is a professor of landscape horticulture at the College of Agriculture and Food Science, a licensed agriculturist, and a certified arborist. He finished his BS Agriculture and MS Environmental Science from UPLB in 1987 and 1994, respectively. He earned his PhD Landscape Architecture from the Tokyo University of Agriculture in 1998.

He has held various administrative positions in UPLB since 2005. He was assistant to the vice chancellor for planning and development (2005-2011) and vice chancellor for planning and development (2011-2014) prior to becoming UPLB’s chief executive in Nov. 2014. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)


“The road to change is treacherous to say the least. But to guide us in every step of the way, compassion is what shall set our bearings.”

This is how President Danilo L. Concepcion contextualized his call for compassion during his investiture address as the 21st President of UP System on Sept. 20 at the University Theater, UP Diliman.

President Concepcion emphasized the need to have compassion, along with honor and excellence, in achieving UP’s solidarity and lasting camaraderie. “When we genuinely feel compassion, we are truly careful with our words and deeds; we are very careful of our every move so as not to hurt or harm the things we value and care for,” he explained.

Pres. Concepcion said that his administration will be guided by the overarching vision of UP: to be a leading regional and global university in an environment that sustains 21st century learning, knowledge creation, and public service for society and humanity.

In his speech, he spoke about his administration’s future plans and initiatives such as the protection of students’ right to freedom of expression, the option for return service for UP graduates, improving working conditions of faculty and staff, and rehabilitation of University facilities.

Present during the ceremony was Dr. Patricia B. Licuanan, chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education and of the UP Board of Regents (BOR), who presided over the investiture.

Also present were Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who is also a UP alumna, other government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, National Artists, National Scientists, heads of state universities and colleges and private higher education institutions, former UP Presidents, and current officials of the UP System.


President Concepcion was accompanied by his wife Atty. Ma. Gabriela Roldan-Concepcion, mother Natalia, mother-in-law Teresita, and his four children, namely: Juan Arsenio Gabriel, Carlos Rafael, Alfonso Miguel, and Isabella.

The BOR elected President Concepcion as chief executive of UP on Nov 15, 2016 during a special BOR meeting. On Feb. 10, former President Alfredo E. Pascual formally turned the position over to him during a program at UP Diliman’s Quezon Hall. On March 10, UPLB welcomed President Concepcion at a program held in his honor. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)


“We must make fear and the future our friend,” said Senator Richard J. Gordon, as he encouraged the UPLB Class of 2017 to set aside fear as they pursue a new chapter of their lives as UP graduates.

Sen. Gordon was the guest of honor and speaker at the 45th UPLB Commencement Exercises on June 24 at the DL Umali Freedom Park. A total of 2,454 students received their certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees at the ceremonies.

Sen. Gordon emphasized the power of using one’s mind in conquering personal and social challenges, saying that the mind has no boundaries in facing these things. He cited national hero Jose Rizal as a quintessential fearless man who stood up against the odds of colonial times. He also shared how the people of Singapore and Japan had allowed the limitless possibilities of their minds in bringing abundance to their countries.

He talked about his own experience in conquering fear when he was appointed to the helm of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) and led it to succeed amid the closure of the then US Naval Base and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the early 1990’s. Sen. Gordon was the founding chairman of SBFZ from 1992-1998. “Don’t let anybody say, ‘you can’t do it’,” he said. He also reminded the graduates that while failure is inevitable, standing up after failing is what really matters.

Sen. Gordon also urged the graduates to use their education to lead people out of the darkness. “The vulnerable needs champions like you, who will go to the forefront and speak and act for them.”

This year’s class valedictorian, Arnel B. Villancio, Jr., BS Agriculture, summa cum laude, also enjoined the graduates to take brave steps for the country. “Panahon na upang pakilusin ang karunungang ilang taon ding pinagyabong ng ating mga karanasan sa loob at labas man ng UP (It’s about time to translate into action the knowledge that our experiences have nurtured inside and outside the UP),” he said.

Simulan na nating tiyakin ang landas na tatahakin ng bawat isa sa atin upang marating natin ang iisang mithiin: isang maunlad at mapayapang Pilipinas (Let us start ensuring the path that each of us would take so that we could reach one aspiration: a progressive and peaceful Philippines),” Villancio further said.

Present during the ceremony were Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., who presented the graduates, and Dr. Ma. Cynthia Rose B. Bautista, UP vice president for academic affairs, who conferred the degrees to the graduates on behalf of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion. Alumni Regent Ramon M. Maronilla and For. Leo R. Ballesfin, presidents of the UP and UPLB Alumni Associations, respectively, inducted the graduates to the said alumni organizations.

Also present were Faculty Regent Patricia Arinto, Staff Regent Alexis Mejia, and Regent Francis Laurel; Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, UP executive vice president; Dr. Ruben L. Villareal, past UPLB chancellor; UPLB officials; and professor emeriti of UPLB. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)


Dr. Arsenio M. Balisacan, chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission and a renowned economist and expert on poverty, recognized the role of graduate degree holders in national development during his keynote address at the Graduate School (GS) Hooding Ceremony and Recognition Program on June 23 at the DL Umali Freedom Park.

Dr. Balisacan, former secretary of socio-economic planning and director-general of the National Economic Development Authority, was the program’s guest of honor and speaker. During the occasion that was held one day before they were conferred their degrees, the 323 students who finished their graduate studies were recognized. Sixty-one of them were Doctor of Philosophy students on whom their respective faculty-thesis advisers placed the doctoral hood, symbolizing their success in completing their doctoral program.

“Our higher education gives us greater capacity and more competence to contribute significantly to the perpetual task of nation building,” Dr. Balisacan said. “Your acquired higher degrees have already set you apart from your colleagues and counterparts. You are at the premium position to affect change and direct the sail of your organizations, communities, and the country.”

Dr. Balisacan also reminded them of the contribution of the Filipino people towards subsidizing the students’ UP education, and urged them to give back to their countrymen. “Let us use our advanced knowledge and skills not only for advancing our position in the social ladder, but also for improving the welfare of those who toiled day and night to pay for our education,” he said.

“We owe our degrees to the Filipino people, even to the poorest of the society, because the money and valuable resources spent for you is money that could have been spent for their basic education, services, and housing, and even for much needed infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas,” he added. Dr. Balisacan is also a UPLB alumnus, having earned his MS Agricultural Economics from the University in 1982 before pursuing PhD Economics at the University of Hawaii.

Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., in his opening remarks, also encouraged the graduating students to use their knowledge for greater social purposes. “We encourage you to use your knowledge not only in pursuing further academic and intellectual endeavors, but also in addressing social concerns,” he said.

Chancellor Sanchez led in the awarding of certificates and the placing of hoods on the graduating students, together with Dr. Ma. Cynthia Rose B. Bautista, UP vice president for academic affairs. Assisting them were Dr. Myrna G. Carandang, university registrar, Dr. Jose V. Camacho, Jr. and Dr. Mark Dondi M. Arboleda, dean and college secretary of GS, respectively, and the deans and advisers of the students.

The top graduating students were also recognized during the program. Michael Vincent O. Laurio, MS Chemical Engineering, and Rowena R. Sazon, PhD Environmental Science, were named as academic excellence awardees for garnering the highest General Weighted Average at the master’s and doctorate levels, respectively.

In their speeches, Laurio described their caps and gowns as a symbol of their commitment to serve the country, while Sazon articulated that UP’s motto of “honor and excellence” is an emblem that they will bring along in their professions.

Present during the program were UP regents, namely: Faculty Regent Patricia Arinto; Staff Regent Alexis Mejia; and Regent Francis Laurel. UPLB officials also graced the ceremony. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)

UPLB officials led by Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. recently held two separate consultation meetings with heads of state universities and colleges (SUC) and with private companies, government agencies, and industry associations that are based in Davao and neighboring provinces.

Held on April 21 in Lanang, Davao City, the meetings aimed to ensure that the University of the Philippines Professional School for Agriculture and the Environment (UP PSAE) will be offering courses that are responsive to the needs of the different sectors in the area.

UP PSAE is an extension campus of UPLB that is administered by the Graduate School under Dean Jose V. Camacho, Jr. and through UP PSAE director, Anna Floresca Firmalino. Both Dean Camacho and Dir. Firmalino are faculty members at the College of Economics and Management in UPLB.


Attending the meeting with the SUC heads were (from left to right): Dean Enrico Supangco of the College of Agriculture, UPLB; Irvin Generalao, president of the Southern Philippine Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology; Ben-Hur Rafosala, chancellor of the University of Southeastern Philippines-Tagum/Mabini Campus; Girley Gumanao, dean of the Institute of Aquatic and Applied Sciences, Davao del Norte State College ; Shirley Villanueva, vice president for academic affairs, University of Southeastern Philippines; Chancellor Sanchez; Chancellor Sylvia Concepcion of UP Mindanao; Helen Perpetua, dean of the College of Agriculture, Mindanao State University-General Santos Campus; Dean Camacho; Nilo Oponda, vice chancellor for academic affairs of UP Mindanao; Larry Digal, dean of the School of Management of UP Mindanao; and Dir. Firmalino.

Ricardo Luis Mateo Lagdameo, vice president of Damosa Land Inc., UPLB’s partner in planning and building the UP PSAE, was also at the two meetings.  Damosa Land is a subsidiary of ANFLOCOR that donated 31,000 sqm of land in Agriya in Panabo City, Davao del Norte where the UP PSAE will be constructed.

The newly created UP PSAE campus will be launched in May.  Classes will be held in the meantime at the Damosa Corporate Center while facilities are still being constructed for the UP PSAE.

UP PSAE will be offering postgraduate programs and short courses/trainings in off-campus mode for the next six years before transitioning to a combination of residential and off-campus programs starting on its seventh year.