Showing posts with label Civil Engineering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil Engineering. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Farewell to another mentor and friend - Prof. Leonardo Q. Liongson

I was a bit in disbelief when I first got a message from a close friend that another mentor, later colleague and friend, passed away. There seemed to be too many deaths the past weeks with a beloved aunt and an uncle passing away only last month. I had to check for myself about the news despite my impeccable source. 

Prof. Leonardo Q. Liongson passed away last April 5. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago and chose to live his remaining years with his capacity for wonder and discovery as if he was a much younger person. A renowned Academician, he was our teacher in hydrology. That was CE 110 to us, which was the first major course in a series of Water Resources Engineering subjects. He was a good teacher and a very serious one. We didn't get to see his lighter side until after I joined the faculty and I discovered how kind he was as well as his intelligent sense of humor. Before he retired, our institute had already submitted documents for him to recognized as Professor Emeritus. He was very much qualified for this recognition but unfortunately some people at the university did not agree. This, for us, was unusual considering the university had recognized others before whose accomplishments were definitely less.

Here are a few photos of Prof. Leony from a few years ago. Many of us like to remember him as the photographer/documenter of our activities at the institute (and previously department). He was always with his trusty cameras, which were the good model point-and-shoots.

Prof. Leony (in red) with Transportation Engineering faculty of the Institute of Civil Engineering during the ICE 2015 Christmas Party
Prof. Leony (left) with junior faculty of the ICE and Alumni Engineers at the ICE 2014 Christmas Party

I recall I've had a lot of interesting conversations with Prof. Leony. He can talk about anything under the sun. We shared an interest in trains and bridges and he was very happy to share a lot of stories and photos he collected about trains and bridges here and abroad. His wisdom from his many years teaching and researching will be missed. Paalam Prof. Leony. You made the world and the country better with your work on water resources, and we will all miss your company! You will always be a Professor Emeritus for us at ICE and the College of Engineering.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Farewell to a mentor and friend - Prof. Alfredo B. Juinio, Jr.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Prof. Alfredo B. Juinio, Jr., Freddie or Freddie Boy as his friends called him. I could never get used to calling him Freddie. By default, he was always a 'sir' to me. He was my teacher in three courses when I was a Civil Engineering student at the University of the Philippines Diliman. These were CE 151, CE 152 and CE 198. He was well-respected by us and we usually waited for him to arrive on his Toyota Corolla, looking on a the Melchor Hall driveway from the third floor. Our fond memories of him when we were students was a caricature of a professor with a cigarette on his hand and a bottle of Coca Cola on the other. The faculty room refrigerator always had a stock of Coke back in the day. And his desk was nearest the window where he had his own exhaust for his cigarette smoke.

Freddie's was the last class to give me a passing grade in my final semester at UP. I still recall approaching him to ask for a last chance to pass CE 152 as I was a borderline case after the final exam. He gave me that chance and I did my part to graduate in April 1993. After we graduated, he got married and later when I joined the faculty in 1995, he was one of the faculty members who warmly welcomed my addition to the then Department of Civil Engineering. I remember getting many tips from him and his batchmates in CE on how to go about in teaching and managing classes.

Freddie was very much part of the National Center for Transportation Studies to which I am affiliated. He was appointed as Officer-in-charge at a time when the NCTS was at a cross-roads. I became the center's Director after a period when he brought administrative stability to the NCTS. He was very instrumental in advising me and other faculty members affiliated with the Center on how to manage the affairs of the center including pointers on fiscal management.

Freddie Juinio (seated, 2nd from right) with CE colleagues at a workshop in 2011
Freddie (first from left) last attended a CE affair in December 2014 during the Christmas Party
We have not seen Freddie since he took a leave in early 2015. He was diagnosed with cancer in January 2015. I thought that he would like to be remembered as we last saw him - healthy, smiling, full of life. Farewell Freddie! Rest in peace with our Creator. You will be missed and you will be remembered as a mentor and as a friend. Thank you for sharing yourself as a teacher and as a friend.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another farewell to a teacher

He was supposed to be a terror teacher. At least that was what a lot of people were saying prior to our enlisting under him for our first taste of Structural Engineering back when we were university students in the early 1990s. We really had no choice at the time as there was only one section for CE 150, which focused on the design of steel structures. Dr. Ernesto Tabujara had just returned from a sabbatical after serving as Chancellor of UP Diliman and, according to those who appeared to be in the know at the time, devoting time to a leading consulting firm that he had established with his friends and colleagues. 

I have fond memories of Dr. Tabujara or "Tabu" as he is referred to by students during my time at the university. He had a lot of stories to tell and did so as he discussed design principles to our class. I remember that we were both awed and afraid of him whenever we were in the classroom. Awed because we have heard a lot about him and his accomplishments. Afraid because of his reputation as a terror professor that preceded even our enlistment in his class. He was very sharp and didn't need notes or textbooks to guide him in his lectures though he usually brought with him our text book that he usually opened only to give problems for our homework. He never returned any of the problem sets we submitted to him that semester nor did he give any long exams. He did give us a take home final exam that included instructions to state that we did the exam by ourselves and without help from other people. We did so but come enlistment for the second semester, he still had not given us our grades so we couldn't enlist in the next subject (CE 151) because we needed to hurdle its CE 150 prerequisite.

Desperate to complete our enlistment for the semester, we hatched an idea to find him and ask him about our grades. We knew that he played tennis every morning at the courts near Melchor Hall and so we bravely went there and short of pleaded for our grades. He didn't get angry with us and told us to see him at his home at the campus later. We did go to his house afterwards and again waited for him. After making some small talk (I remember he seemed amused at us and our persistence for our grades.) he told us to go back to the Department office and to wait for him there. Back at the office, he arrived some minutes after and proceeded to joke with another professor, the late Dean Marino Mena, that it seems that they were now becoming kinder professors and not the terrors they "used to be." We got our grades then and these were high marks that we were very happy about given Tabu's reputation.

Later, during my graduating semester at UP, I would always take time to arrive early for my Physical Education classes at the UP tennis court (Yes, I reserved the last semester for this so I could get the much in-demand tennis as a PE. Graduating students were priority in registration and this included enlistment in PE.) just to watch him play. I was happy that he remembered me from his class. Modesty aside but I did well under him so I had nothing to be shy about as he was surprisingly approachable for a terror teacher. He would always greet us after his doubles matches and asked us if we were improving our game. No academic talk here, only light talk about tennis. I think I was always conscious when we played as I was aware that he might be watching us to see if we hit the ball correctly.

I would eventually return to UP as a faculty member at what is now the Institute of Civil Engineering. He once expressed his appreciation to us that we decided to join the faculty. He did say that the Department needed young blood and told us in his usual tone that we should do our best to continue the tradition of excellence of UP civil engineering. The last time I saw him was last year when he was speaker at the Distinguished Alumni Lecture Series (DALS) of the College of Engineering. He was obviously older and weaker (they had to assist him to the stage), likely due to health issues he had battled a while back. These same health issues have stopped him from playing his beloved sport of tennis and prevented him from taking the long walks around the campus that had substituted for tennis.

Last Friday, June 20, we learned of his passing due to heart failure at the Philippine Heart Center. He was 85 and lived a full life. He will be remembered as a good teacher (terror or not) and a good colleague at the old Department. Thank you Dr. Tabujara for the knowledge you shared with us and the stories that also enriched our understanding of civil engineering - and life in general.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Centennial article

I found the article below as I casually googled my name to see what type of links would appear after I did. The article was written sometime during the centennial celebrations of the College of Engineering (established in June 13, 1910) of UP Diliman and appeared on the mobile version of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was quoted in the article, assuring my name's inclusion among those honored by the College and the University during the Engineering Centennial even if it was only a quotation for the College's commitment to honor, excellence and service.

Who says engineering is boring?

June 27, 2010

WITH 7,000 students, the University of the Philippines College of Engineering (UPCOE) has the biggest population among the state university’s units.

But while dean Rowena Cristina Guevarra is proud that the college has reached a new milestone, its centennial, she also wants to call attention to the work done by its research and extension arm, the National Engineering Center (NEC) founded in 1978.

NEC has been offering services in engineering education, research and development, technical consultancy, and publications and engineering information for the past 32 years.

It has specialized research centers that develop technologies for scaling up or bringing to the next level prototypes by government, industry and other partners. These are the Training Center for Applied Geodesy and Photogrammetry, the Building Research Service, the National Hydraulic Research Center and the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS).

Guevarra strongly believes that knowledge has to be shared.

She cites the Efficient Lighting Management Curricula for Asean. NEC academic sharing came in when the college and NEC worked with Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, Hanoi University of Technology in Vietnam, Helsinki University of Technology in Finland, and University Karishruhe in Germany – schools in the Asia Link Program of the European Commission – to help selected Southeast Asian countries promote efficient lighting.

The move was in response to the slow adoption by household of the more energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL).

“Architects and engineers light up houses and buildings. So we made [the lighting management] curricula which can be integrated into undergraduate curricula or offered as a specialization in graduate programs, or as continuing education courses,” Guevarra explains.

NEC has a UP Enterprise and Incubation program to develop technologies and incubate “technopreneurs.”

But Guevarra says engineering students also need “soft skills” in communication, project management and leadership and in marketing to help move innovations.

As a result of their more rounded training, engineers can really make a difference, she says, pointing out, “Engineers now make up most of Cabinet-level movers of Korea and China.”

Guevarra says the training students get at UP enables them to develop useful technologies even before they leave the school. She cites the software for on-line enrollment that the university has been using for 10 years. Software, she says, can take as few as six months to develop and, by the very nature of the Internet, can spread fast.

Developing equipment, like drilling instruments, takes longer, at least two years for “roll-out, improvements and tweaks here and there,” she says. Patenting and finding a partner for commercialization take at least 10 years.

At a recent forum, which was part of UPCOE’s centennial celebration, Diliman chancellor Sergio Cao said public service was now legally required of all units since UP had become the National University.

NCTS Director Jose Regin Regidor said, “The College of Engineering’s first 100 years is ... also the prelude to another 100 years of excellence and a pledge to continue serving the Filipino people.”

Doctor Allan Nerves, officer-in-charge of the Professional Engineering Training Division, said NEC hoped to continue working “to make engineering a tool for public service.”

Nerves said even concerns about energy and sustainable development had engineering solutions. The college, he said, welcomed collaboration in the solution of these problems as “our mandate of public service.”

As part of the centennial rites, the UP College of Engineering honored 100 outstanding graduates “who have defined the first 100 years of the College and will serve as the role models in the next 100 years.”

They were chosen by the college and the UP Alumni Engineers headed by Roger Victor Buendia. Guevarra (Electrical Engineering, 1985), the first woman dean of the college, was among the honorees.

Four other women were honored: Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro (Chemical Engineering, 1961); first UP Open University chancellor Ma. Cristina Padolina (ChE, 1966); Rizalina Mantaring (EE, 1982) and Aura Matias, Ph.D. (Industrial Engineering, 1982), project manager and specialist of NEC’s Public Assessment of Water Services (PAWS) program.

Among the other awardees were Juan Tiongson (Mechanical Engineering, 1921) and Joel Joseph Marciano Jr. (EE, 1994), the youngest.

Pre-war poet-novelist and notable bridge player Dominador Ilio (CE and Geological Engineering 1939) taught at the college and was permanent secretary of the UP Alumni Engineers for many years.

Another awardee, Dr. Leonardo Liongson (ChE, 1969), mentioned that among the college’s distinguished graduates was “Nicanor Jimenez, civil engineer, military officer, president of the Philippine National Railways, ambassador to Korea and dad of (Inquirer) editor Letty (Jimenez-Magsanoc).”

Other graduates who went into public service included Alejandro Melchor Sr. (CE, 1924), after whom the engineering building is named); Senators Gaudencio Antonino (CE, 1933) and Vicente Paterno (ME, 1948), UP President Emanuel Soriano (ME, 1959), and Prime Minister Cesar Virata (ME, 1962).

Other graduates became business magnates like Felipe F. Cruz (CE, 1941), David M. Consunji (CE, 1946), and Cesar Buenaventura (CE, 1959).

Gaston Ortigas (ME, 1962) has a peace institute at Ateneo de Manila University named after him, one of the original members of the Coalition for Peace (1987), a grassroots movement.

Given this wide diversity of paths taken by UPCOE graduates, Guevarra seems right in stressing that, “Engineering is NOT boring.”

©2010 all rights reserved

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Prof. Jose Ma. De Castro was my teacher in only one subject, CE 121 (Construction Materials), and yet he has had a tremendous impact in my life, in my career. It was during his lectures in CE 121 that I came to appreciate how the minor subjects like CE 21 (Engineering Statistics) and CE 22 (Engineering Economy) were useful in many civil engineering applications. It was his ability to explain with such clarity that allowed us to understand both the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject matter. Later, he would joke that he was not a good CE 121 professor.

Jodec, as we fondly called him, was the Department Chair of Civil Engineering by the time I was a senior. He was always among the earliest to arrive at the C.E. Department offices during registration period. He advised us to take electives under two visiting professors at that time, explaining that these electives would provide us with a different perspective. Little did I know then that one of these electives will steer me towards a career in Transportation Engineering, especially drawing me towards teaching and research.

At a critical point in my life, it was Jodec who influenced my direction towards transportation engineering. I would like to believe that it was on the strength of his recommendation that I was later admitted to graduate school, which eventually opened many doors for me.

I will forever be grateful to what Prof. De Castro imparted – knowledge, wisdom, and a dedication to the University – but I am especially thankful to him for giving me a chance to become what I am now. I am sure that many of us are grateful for his invaluable contributions to Civil Engineering. On top of his obvious achievements, we will remember that he taught our generation, and taught us well. It is his faith in students like me that makes his contributions personal to us. And for those of us who followed in his footsteps within the academe, a legacy to aspire for.