Science and Arts Join Hands in DOST’s Bamboo Musical Instruments Concert

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Viewers from all over the country were recently treated to a morning of ethnic music and cultural appreciation thru DOST-Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s (DOST-FPRDI) “Musika ng Kawayan, Yaman ng Bayan” virtual concert.
One of the featured activities in this year’s NSTW, the concert showcased Filipino talents from across the country, putting the spotlight on locally-made bamboo musical instruments (BMIs). It was organized by DOST-FPRDI’s BMI Innovation R&D Program.
The performers from Luzon were Mr. Joey Ayala; Prof. Armando V. Salarza who played the Las Pinas Bamboo Organ; Kalinga’s Dr. Beniccio Sokkong who used his own version of the nose flute (tonggali) and kolitong; Philippine Normal University’s Himig Kawayan; Pangkat Kawayan; and DOST-FPRDI’s Himig Agham Kawayan.
From the Visayas, the musicians were Huni Ukulele and Mr. Joseph Gara, 40th Cebu Pop Festival Grand Winner, and Leyte’s Dulag Karatong Festival Performers who gave a rousing number showing their symbolic recovery from Typhoon Yolanda’s devastation in 2013.
The Dulag performers used karatong (bamboo slit drum), karatuktok (bamboo lyre), hagubhob (open tube drum), pagakpak (bamboo clapper) and marimba.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga del Norte’s pride— the Dipolog Community Rondalla— with BMI maker Mr. Jay Sarita, represented Mindanao.
“The concert was a celebration of science, the creative arts, and Philippine culture,” said DOST-FPRDI Director Romulo T. Aggangan. “Thru the event, we were able to show the versatility of bamboo as a superior raw material for musical instruments.”
“The DOST-FPRDI’s BMI Innovation R&D Program aims to apply science in developing and improving BMIs. With locally developed technologies, we hope to improve the processing and hasten the production of these instruments,” explained Program Leader For. Aralyn L. Quintos.
Aside from developing technologies, the initiative also “seeks to awaken our people’s appreciation for BMIs and how these are closely interwoven with the lives of indigenous groups, and therefore, our own.”
“With the hard work of the BMI Team and the help of all our partners, we have good reason to look forward to an invigorated BMI sector in the future,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.
“We will continue to help our local artisans by finding ways to extend the service life of these bamboo instruments while improving their aesthetics and playability at the same time. In the meantime, I hope all of us will count ourselves avid supporters to the cause of promoting and preserving this priceless legacy of Filipino music.”
The BMI R&D Program is a collaboration of DOST-FPRDI, UP Center for Ethnomusicology, UP Electronics and Electrical Engineering Institute and Philippine Normal University. It is also under DOST’s recently launched Science and Creative Arts Program.

Composed of 20 FPRDI staff, the DOST-FPRDI Himig Agham Kawayan was formed to showcase the BMI prototypes crafted by the Institute

Gamely performing to the delight of the audience were DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peña and DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara. Sec. dela Peña used “kawagong” (bamboo tube), while Usec. Guevara used marimba.

Mr. Joey Ayala, together with the Dipolog Community Rondalla, premiered his new song “Pamilyang Magsasaka” as a tribute to the life and sacrifices of farmers.
The virtual concert was conducted last 27 November 2020 and was simultaneously streamed live at the Facebook pages of DOST and NSTW 2020. ### (Apple Jean C. Martin- de Leon)


Rice suffering from heat stress at risk of being sterile

The commonly grown rice varieties in the Philippines have high yields, good grain quality, and resistance to pests and diseases. However, they lack high temperature tolerance. Due to climate change, breeding for heat-tolerant varieties should be one of the government’s priorities.

Rice normally thrives in temperatures between 20-35oC, but it becomes increasingly sensitive when the temperature reaches over 35oC, especially during reproductive stage. Based on study, many rice varieties in the farmers’ field recorded to have high sterility of up to 80%, and very few can tolerate heat stress.

Historical data from Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), since 1998-2019, and from DOST-PAGASA, since 1971-2000, shows that the temperature in the local fields has already reached a critical level at 35oC or more, by which rice can be affected. If this will continue without mitigation or other measures to at least reduce it, then in the year 2065, as projected by DOST-PAGASA and other agrometeorological government agencies, there will be a 2.5-3.0oC increase in temperature, or even higher than it is today.

“High temperature stress is one of the most important constraints in rice production in the Philippines,” Norvie L. Manigbas, Chief Science Research Specialist, Philippine Rice Research Institute, said during a webinar presentation of his study on “Rice Improvement for High Temperature Adaptation in the Philippines”. The event was organized by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP).

“If high temperature persists, which is predicted to increase by 1.1-2.4oC in the coming decades, future rice varieties should have the tolerance trait. Reports say that heat stress can cause yield decline of up to 14% in susceptible varieties,” Manigbas added.

The adoption of high temperature-tolerant cultivars is one of the most effective countermeasures to maintain high productivity and stability of rice under the anticipated climate in temperate regions. Without rice improvement, old and current rice varieties with no tolerance to heat stress will suffer yield decline.

High temperature can induce high spikelet sterility among rice which are at flowering stage, and this can result to having more unfilled grains due to heat stress, and in the process, lower rice yields. For instance, if there are 30 unfilled grains in 100 grain sample, then spikelet sterility is 30%. The higher the percentage of spikelet sterility, the lower yield is expected.

The high temperature during reproductive stage of the rice crop can also cause chalkiness in the grains. When grains are chalky, there will be more grains that are broken during milling and this leads to low milling recovery, low quality of the grains, and lower price.

“I think the government should prioritize strengthening the R&D programs not only for high temperature, but also for multi-trait abiotic stress rice improvement like drought, salinity, and submergence,” Manigbas explained.

There are 312 released rice varieties from 1990-2019 in the Philippines, and there will be 15 more new varieties to be released this 2020.

The new heat-tolerant rice varieties are still being evaluated by the Department of Agriculture. Once approved, there is a plan to deploy the said variety initially to high temperature areas in the farmers’ field in Tuguegarao, Cagayan and Pili, Camarines Sur for the 2021 dry season cropping.

The webinar on Rice Improvement is organized by DOST-NRCP, a council of DOST, which has been initiating public awareness and discussion on important S&T issues, so the public will be more aware of the social science behind the S&T issues. The DOST-NRCP’s future webinar announcements and other events can be found in their Facebook page Research Pod. (Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin, S&T Media Service)


Researchers needed as more solons and provincial leaders
utilize evidence for policy and governance

 “Decision-making should be based on evidence,” Presbitero J. Velasco, Governor of Marinduque, said during the Basic Research Caravan 2020, wherein he presented “Evidenced-based policy making in the province of Marinduque,” a webinar attended by over 120 participants and jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) and DOST Region IV-B (DOST IV-B).

Velasco discussed their proposed project in Marinduque to entice tourists during the Moriones celebration, supposedly this year. However, it will instead be implemented in 2021, when people’s movement is no longer constrained by the pandemic. Based on previous tourism data on the influx of visitors during Moriones celebration, Velasco’s team estimated a hundred thousand visitors and a revenue of 250M for one week’s celebration. As a former part of the judiciary, review of evidence has always been a part of Velasco’s job.

Marieta B. Sumagaysay, Director of DOST-NRCP said that more researchers are needed, especially now that the law makers are requesting for research studies as basis for their policy development.

Some of the ongoing basic research requested by the law makers have to do with the following: Biodiversity inventory, assessment, and conservation for ecotourism development; Study on the Utilization of Marang fruit, and assessment of fruit production in Mindanao; Looming water crisis in the Philippines; and Socioeconomic and political study to support public policy towards transforming the municipality of Ubay, Bohol into a science city.

The DOST-NRCP has 4,840 research members scattered nationwide. However, only a very small portion, 31 research members or zero-point six percent of these researchers are from MIMAROPA. Region IV-A, however, has 15.6% research members registered with DOST-NRCP. Region XII and BARMM, like Region IV-B also have low number of research membership that is why the Council strongly encourage researchers from these areas to become members.

Velasco is aware of the environmental situation in the Marcopper area in Marinduque and while there is a great tourism potential for areas surrounding it, he emphasized that the safety of the people in the area is their top priority. The government of Marinduque is currently looking for solutions to their electrical and water situation, since those are the basic things needed for their tourism industry to flourish.

Velasco requested DOST-NRCP to guide them in the development not only of the Marcopper area but other areas as well. Sumagaysay and Ma.Josefina P. Abilay, Director of DOST-MIMAROPA, assured the governor that they can count on their support when it comes to R&D of the province.

“NRCP’s Research membership is free. We don’t collect fees and all they have to do is visit our website, check out the requirements and submit for evaluation,” Sumagaysay said.

The DOST-NRCP’s Basic Research caravan is a part of the DOST’s 2020 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration. The public is invited to the NSTW which will run on a virtual platform on 23-27 November 2020.

DOST-NRCP members will present the following topics during the NSTW: Cybersecurity: Are We Serious About It? with John D. Ultra, Assistant Professor of UP Visayas Tacloban College, 23 November at 4-5pm; Government-Technology Intersection: Can you help me stop this pandemic? with Dr. Enrico L. Basilio, Professor NCPAG, UP Diliman, 25 November at 10-11am; Ang bigat ng Salita: Ilang Pagninilay sa Gitna ng Pandemya with Dr. Louie Jon A. Sanchez, Ateneo de Manila University, 26 November at 10-11am; Health/Wellness: Health boosters vs Infections with Dr. Erna  C. Arollado, UP, Manila, 27 November at 1-3pm; and Science of Dreams: Why do I get nightmares? with Dr. Agnes T. Remulla, ENT, Asian Hospital and Medical Center, 27 November at 1-3pm.

For more information and updates regarding the 2020 NSTW, please visit the and its Facebook page or send your message at and media service, Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin)