Transcending New Boundaries: UP GeoSoc conducts 8th NGC

By Dominique Anne Operania

The University of the Philippines Geological Society (UP GeoSoc) has kickstarted its flagship event, the 8th National Geology Congress (NGC), with the theme “New Frontiers and a New Normal” last March 22–26, 2021. In order to adapt to the online setup, the organizing committee decided to conduct webinars in lieu of the workshops and added two new events to reach out to more people as part of its goal to promote appreciation of the geosciences to the masses.

The series of webinars, namely, Earth Science Teachers’ Webinar (ESTS), High School Students’ Webinar (HSW), and Geology Students’ Forum (GSF) had a combined total of 1,612 registered participants and over 10,000 FB Livestream viewers.

The ESTW had a powerful roster of speakers that boosted the pedagogy of earth science teachers through a one-day webinar entitled “Traversing a New Geologic Time: Teaching Earth Science Under the New Normal” last March 22. Among the speakers were Dr. Jeffrey Camacho Bunquin, founder of FilSciHub, for Teaching Science Online; Mr. Brian Dela Cruz, Assistant Director on Mapping and Geodesy of the National Mapping and Resource Authority (NAMRIA), for Basic Mapping; and Mr. Raul Benjamin Mendoza, Instructor and MS student at the National Institute of Geological Sciences (NIGS), for Uses of Google Earth.

Next in line was the HSW–ESTW’s counterpart for high school students–which greatly helped pique the interest of the students thanks to the notable speakers during the webinar “Dig Na ‘Yan: Uncovering National Treasures through Filipino Geologists” last March 24. Notable geologists from their respective fields presented the current discoveries in line with geosciences in the Philippine context: Dr. Allan Gil Fernando, Deputy Director for Academic Affairs (DDAA) at NIGS and Co-Head of the Nannoworks Laboratory at the same institution, for Beneath the Surface (Paleontology); Ms. Ma. Antonia Bornas, Chief of the Volcano Monitoring and Eruption Prediction Division (VMEPD) of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), for Behind the Flames (Volcanology); and Dr. Betchaida Payot, Instructor at NIGS, for Beyond the Transformation (Metamorphism).

Lastly, the GSF gathered all interested geology students around the country in “Dismantling the Truth: Is Geosciences in a COVID-Hiatus?” last March 26. Experts from different fields assembled in order to answer the students’ concerns regarding the state of geosciences in the Philippines, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. The professionals included Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Director of the University of the Philippines Nationwide Assessment of Hazards (UP NOAH), for Geology in Data Science; Ms. Ann Adeline Dumaliang, Project Officer at Masungi Georeserve, for Geology and the Environment (Sustainability and Conservation); Dr. Mylene Villegas, Chief SRS of PHIVOLCS Geologic Disaster Awareness & Preparedness Division (GDAPD), for Geology and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Ms. Vanessa Amor Israel, Instructor I at the University of the Southeastern Philippines (USeP), for Geology in the Academe; and Dr. Graciano P. Yumul, Jr., Senior Vice President at Cordillera Exploration Company, Inc., for Geology and the Mining Industry.

As of the writing of this article, the judging for the Dignayan sa Infographic, pagyamanin sa Wikang Atin (DIWA) is still ongoing. DIWA replaces GeoQuiz in the 8th NGC and it aims to promote dissemination of geoscience information through the use of Philippine Languages. The submission of entries ended last March 31 and these were posted in the organization’s official Facebook page for added traction and publicity. Tentatively, the announcement of winners will be on April 17 (Saturday).

The organizing committee of the 8th NGC are as follows: Angela Nicole Masongsong and Danella Trina Callosa, Overall Co-Heads; Justine Ashley Mendoza, Secretariat; Aris Paolo Castro, Logistics and Technical Head; Dominique Anne Operania, HSW Head; Hanz Louel Florendo, ESTW Head; Chelsea Espinosa, GSF Head; Angelo Luis Lintag, DIWA Head; Paula Mae Jatulan, Marketing Head; and John Patrick Caytiles, Creatives Head.

The event will also not be possible if not for the following sponsors: Association of Filipinos for the Advancement of Geoscience, TVI Resource Development Phils. Inc., Association of Geology Students — USeP, Adamson University Mining Engineering and Geology Students Association, College of Engineering and Geosciences, Geology Students’ Society, JRU Young Educators’ Society, PARSU-Geology Students Association, Mapúa University SCEGE Student Council, USeP Mining Engineering Society, Filipino Science Hub, When In Manila, InqPOP, Rise for Education — UP Diliman, UP Association of Biology Majors, UP Euro-Filipino Understanding & Relations Organization, UP Cell Biological Society, UP Society of Geodetic Engineering Majors — UP GEOP, Lasallian Scholars Society, American Concrete Institute Philippines — Federation of Student Leaders, and to all of our minor and publicity partners.

The organization also extends its sincerest gratitude to all of the alumni who gave their support to the event.

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