A Filipino researcher in NIES - Tsukuba
D. B. Magcale-Macandog

A.Brief self introduction

I am Damasa B. Magcale-Macandog, one of the Eco-Frontier Fellows sponsored by the Environment Agency, Japan. I came from the Philippines, an archipelago consisting of 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines is also highly populated, with more than 80 million Filipinos.

Like Japan, the Philippine islands lie along the edge of the Pacific Plate, has plenty of volcanoes and experiences frequent earthquakes, too. Being a tropical country, the Philippines has diverse plant and animal population. There are more than 1,000 species of birds and animals and over 10,000 species of trees, shrubs, and ferns.

It is hot and humid all year round in the Philippines. The average temperature is 25 °C. It has two distinct seasons, the wet (rainy) and dry season. During rainy season, several typhoons may pass and hit the islands.

Filipinos are noted for their warm, gentle and friendly nature. Most of the Filipinos are Catholics. Pilipino and English are widely spoken in the country.

I was born in the northern island of Luzon in a town called Sta. Rosa. Sta. Rosa is about 30 km south of Manila and is part of the Laguna province. I studied elementary and high school in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Then, I attended the University of the Philippines at Los Banos where I studied Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science in Soil Science. I worked as a Researcher and Instructor in the university from 1982 until 1989.

In 1989, I was awarded a scholarship by the Australian government to pursue doctoral studies at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia. While in Australia, I conducted research on the ecology and micro-evolution of a native pasture grass species in Australia. In 1995, I obtained my PhD Botany degree from the University of New England and returned back to the University of the Philippines at Los Banos (UPLB).

Back at UPLB, I was given a post of Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences. I lecture courses in Biology, Natural Science (Physical Geology) and Plant Ecology.

From 1995 until 1999, I am also a part-time Project Leader at the SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA). The project was entitled "Improving smallholder farming systems in Imperata-based grasslands of SEA". The project was funded by the Australian Council for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The main methodology of the research is use of bioeconomic modelling in assessing different alternative land use systems to Imperata grasslands.

I am now blissfully married to Rey Macandog and we are blessed with two beautiful and lovely children, Paolo who is now 12 years old and Yula, 9 years old.

B.Research as an Eco-Frontier Fellow

In 1999, I was awarded an Eco-Frontier Fellowship by the Environment Agency, Japan. My research work is about GHG inventories and the main objective of this project is to improve the national GHG inventories in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last March 9-10, 2000, IGES and NIES hosted a regional workshop on GHG inventories for Asia-Pacific Region. About 40 GHG inventory experts and scientists from several Asian countries including China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan and from international organizations like Asian Development Bank, International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), International Rice Research Institute and the SEA Impacts Centre attended the workshop.

The workshop was successful in achieving the following set objectives:

I am also conducting research on developing methodologies to improve the estimates for GHG emissions from land use, land use change and forestry. I am now trying to develop a GIS-based model to predict above-ground biomass of forests at different sites and agroclimatic zones in the Philippines.

C.My life in Japan

I really enjoy my stay here in Japan. All the people I've met at work and around the place are very friendly, supportive and helpful. They are very easy to get along with. I enjoy Japanese food. It is really a big surprise for me to find out that Japanese food is very diverse.

Damasa B. Magcale-Macandog