Friday, August 31, 2007

Rodelo Manaog: My Batchmate Is A Hero

[Photo Captions: (1) Marker at 'Bantayog' which includes Delo's name (2) Monument of Mother Philippines (Inang Bayan). Photos by Raffy Saldana, 9/1/07]

A few days ago my Pisay batchmate Iye (Mirriam Coronel-Ferrer, a professor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and a columnist at abs-cbn online news ) shared with fellow batchmates in our e-group a beautiful piece she wrote about our former classmate, Rodelo 'Delo' Manaog. (See Iye's article, "Two Young Men From Mauban", .)

Delo and I belonged to section Jupiter in our freshman year (1973-74) at the Philippine Science High School in Diliman, Quezon City. Although Delo was also a dormer (at that time the school has one dormitory for boys and another one for girls), we did not interact much. I remember that he was from Mauban, Quezon but I had no idea how Mauban looked like. All I knew was that people from Mauban have a peculiar Tagalog accent (distinct from the Tagalog accent from Bulacan or the Tagalog accent from Batangas. I am also a Tagalog, coming from the province of Bataan). I also remember that Delo was very good in the subject 'Filipino' and that he played soccer (football) well like many of my batchmates.

Our batch entered Pisay (or PSHS) nine months after Martial Law was declared by former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. The years before the declaration of martial rule, there were lots of political tumoil in Metro Manila: rallies abound everyday. But during our highschool years (1973-77) there were practically very few rallies (or none at all). It was the era when dissidents were incarcerated and thousands of political activists went 'underground'.

From Iye's article I learned that Delo was already a political activist during our highschool years. From high school, Delo continued his involvement in the movement against the Marcos dictatorship. Then in 1984, Delo was declared missing. He was last seen in an establishment near the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna.

Together with other victims of martial law in the Philippines, Delo's memory is enshrined in a park called 'Bantayog ng mga Bayani' (Heroes' Shrine) located at the corner of EDSA and Quezon Avenue (very close to the PSHS campus in Diliman, Quezon City).

Below is an excerpt from Delo's 'case file' found at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani:



Born: 11 July 1960
Missing: since June 1984
Occupation: Student leader/Labor organizer
Address: 60 San Buenaventura St. Mauban, Quezon
Parents: Mr. Arsenio Manaog and Mrs. Numeriana Manaog
Brothers: 3
Sisters: 5
Birth order: 8th
Spouse: n/a
Children: n/a


Elementary: Mauban South Elementary School
High School: Philippine Science High School (1st-3rd year)
Manuel Luis Quezon High School (4th year)
College: Luzonian State University, Lucena City (1st year)
UP Los Banos (Communication Arts)

Academic/Professional Achievement/Activities:

Delo was consistently at the top of his class, receiving various merit awards in his elementary years. He graduated class valedictorian in 1972. He passed the Philippine Science High School scholarship examinations, the first ever from Mauban, Quezon. Encountering some academic and cultural pressures at PSHS, he transferred to MLQU High School on his 3rd year and finished his 4th-yr high school in 1976. For a year, he enrolled at Luzonian State University (renamed Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation) in Lucena City. As a College of Arts And Sciences student, he was involved in various school activities. He was member of the staff of the school paper The Luzonian and was an active member of the University Student Council.
The following school year, 1977-1978, he transferred to UP Los Banos as a Communication Arts student. A natural-born leader, he became an active member of the UPLB Writers’ Club and managing editor of the UPLB Perspective. Later, Delo opted to work as a full-time labor organizer of the Institute for Worker’s Leadership and Development of Laguna. He was also known as a labor organizer of NAFLU in Balayan Sugar Central and Nasugbu, both in Batangas.

History of Social/Political Involvement:

Delo was exposed to military/progressive ideas through an older sister, Wencita, who used to bring him along with her to teach-ins she regularly attended as a member of the Kabataang Makabayan in 1969-1970. Delo was then in Grade Six. He became a militant nationalist when he formally joined KM as a student at PSHS from 1972-1975. Delo’s advocacy of the national democratic struggle was further enhanced when he studied at Luzonian State University where he was active as a campus journalist and member of the student council. His eventual transfer to UPLB in 1977 as a communication arts student exposed him to a wider view of the struggle for freedom and democracy. His stay at the UPLB campus is described as the “dark period” – the height of campus terrorism waged by elements of the much-dreaded 2nd MIG based at Camp Eldridge. At that time, there was a growing list of salvage victims and missing persons, a large number of them former UPLB activists. Yet, this alarming situation did not deter Delo from finally deciding to leave his studies and instead willingly and courageously devoted the rest of his youthful years as a labor organizer for Southern Tagalog.

Manner/Circumstance of Disappearance:

Delo has been missing since 1984 and presumed dead by now. He was last seen in a “mini-mart” near the UPLB gate. A sister went to Camp Nakar, accompanied by Mauban mayor Llamas to inquire about Delo’s disappearance but the military refused to acknowledge any involvement. Several days after, the sister and some family members went to UPLB to consult Delo’s friends who also organized a group to look for him.

With the help of Task Force Detainees (TFD) Lucena, his family joined a picket at Camp Nakar. However, military authorities there rebuffed them.

Nevertheless, Delo’s family and friends alleged that the military was responsible for his disappearance because Delo mentioned to them he was already under surveillance.


Bantayog Profile
Transcribed speech of Mrs. Wency Flores, sister of Rodelo, UPLB Parangal, 28November 1986
TFD Southern Tagalog file
UPLB Parangal, St. Therese Chapel, 28 November 1986
Pagpupugay at Parangal sa mga Bayani at Martir ng Uring Manggagawa at Sambayanan, 1 May 1988, Crossing, Calamba, Laguna
Signed Testimony of kin and friends
Sworn Statement of Mrs. Wencita M. Flores


Today, September 1, 2007, some of my batchmates and I will pay tribute to Delo. We will visit his 'marker' at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani before we proceed to the Philippine Science High School for the 2007 PSHS Alumni Homecoming and for the turn-over ceremony of PSHS Class of 1977 thirtieth anniversary batch projects which include donations of audio-visual and computer equipment for the PSHS Science Audio-Visual Room and books (authored/edited by members of PSHS '77) for the school library.

To Delo, you are truly a scholar of the people (iskolar ng bayan). We salute you, and we are proud of you..

"Para sa bayan... Ang mamatay ng dahil sa iyo." -- Rodelo "Delo" Manaog

The Pisay '77 Blogger

Thursday, August 30, 2007

PSHS: 'A High-Yield Public Investment'

Last night (8/30/07) , while watching the PSHS Alumni Concert (featuring musical talents from batches '69 to '75) at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City (See ) I received a copy of an article written by my colleague Dr. Cielito "Ciel" Habito (a member of PSHS Class of 1970, former NEDA director-general, chairperson of the Economics Department of Ateneo de Manila University, and president of the PSHS Alumni Association). The article was published in his regular column ("No Free Lunch") in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

The title of the article is "A high-yield public investment".

Below is the link to Ciel's article about Pisay (or PSHS):

The Pisay '77 Blogger

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PSHS77@25: Photo Caption

Five years ago (year 2002) our highschool batch (Philippine Science High School Class of 1977) was the PSHS alumni silver jubilarian. Now, it is the turn of Batch '82 to be at the helm of the PSHS (or Pisay) Alumni Homecoming on September 1, 2007.

In our batch e-group the featured photo is a group picture taken during the PSHS alumni homecoming in 2002. However, for five years this group picture was not given a caption.

I remember that at one point I challenged my batchmates to identify the people in the group picture. I think only one (aside from me) was able to identify it correctly. Her name is Jess (Dr. Jessamyn Yazon) and she is currently the OIC Director of the PSHS Diliman (or Main) Campus.

So here is the proper caption for our batch's 25th anniversary group picture (Note: Not all members are present in the photo):
From Left to Right: (1st row) Marissa Fernandez, David 'Butch' Reyes, Melchor 'Mel' Jose, Ramon 'Mon' Duremdes Jr., Rene Abad, Alvin Matos, Jaime 'Jim' Trinidad, Emmanuel 'Em' Fajardo. (2nd row) Eva 'Ebb' Ratilla, Chona Ramos, Amelia Luz 'Amy' Pulvera, Kathryn 'Kate' Cuadra, Fe Santos, Lourdes 'Lulu' Yutangco, Olivia 'Olive' Zuluaga, Ma. Emma Concepcion 'Emy' Liwag, Ma. Elna Corazon 'Cora' Juguilon, Marie Santos, Vivian 'Vien' Amandy, Norieta 'Norie' Calma, Marion Gaspar. (3rd row) Juan Climaco 'Kim' Elago, Rafael 'Raf' Saldana, Rolando 'Rolly' Banez, Carlo 'Caloy' Arcilla, Augusto 'Toti' Versoza, Ramon 'Mon' Jocson, Ramon 'Mon' Jocson, Ricardo 'Ricky' Lim, Augusto 'Auggie' Soriano, Bernard 'Bern' Lapuz, Fernando 'Andy' Santos, Fidel Borja, Jesse Clamor, Alexis 'Al' Santos, Joseph 'Jojo' Ibanez, Francis 'Keku' Domingo, Ma. Regina 'Rina' Jose.

CIMPA Lecturer 2: Dr. Michael Hintermueller

(Photo Source:

CIMPA-IMAMIS-Philippines School on Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
27 August - 7 September 2007
Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines
Hosted by: Mathematics Department, Ateneo de Manila University

Lecturer: Michael Hintermueller, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Department of Mathematics and Scientific Computing, University of Graz, Austria

Topic: Mathematical programs with complementarity constraints (MPCCs) in function space


1. Introduction

2. The finite dimensional case:
a. Problem statement (mPECs, MPCCs)
b. Lack of constraint regularity and potential dangers
c. Applications
d. A view on first order necessary conditions
- weak staionarity
- M-stationarity
- B-stationarity
- strong stationarity

3. MPCCs in function space
a. Problem statement
b. Some differences to the finite dimesional case
c. Special case: Bilebel problems
- First order necessary conditions
i. penalization
ii. regularization
iii. passage to the limit
d. A more general case
- First order necessary conditions
i. A relazation and regularization technique
ii. Relaxed first order conditions
iii. Passage to thelimit

4. Solution algorithms
a. Review of finite dimensional approaches
- Implicit programming
- Piecewise sequential quadratic programming
- Interior techniques
b. Methods in function space
- Bi-level case
- General case
c. Some results

The Pisay '77 Blogger

CIMPA Lecturer 1: Dr. Doina Cioranescu

CIMPA-IMAMIS-Philippines School on Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
27 August - 7 September 2007
Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines
Hosted by: Mathematics Department, Ateneo de Manila University

Lecturer: Doina Cioranescu, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Laboratoire Jacques-Louis Lions, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, Paris, France

Topic: Advanced Partial Differential Equations


1. Distributions and equations with constant coefficients·
  • General notions about distributions
  • Elliptic operators
  • Local solvability of constant coefficients PDE

2. Sobolev spaces· Introduction· Imbedding and trace theorems· Generalized solutions

3. Elliptic equations and boundary-value problems

  • Laplace and Poisson equations· Maximum principles
  • Variational formulation, Lax-Milgram theorem
  • Dirichlet, Neumann and Robin problems

4. The heat equation

  • Variational formulation
  • Existence and uniqueness theorems

5. The wave equation

  • Variational formulation
  • Existence and uniqueness theorems

6. Navier-Stokes equation

  • Variational formulation
  • Existence and uniqueness theorems


August 27, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon, Rm. SOM 111
August 28, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., Rm. SOM 111
September 4, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., Rm. SOM 111

The Pisay '77 Blogger

Monday, August 27, 2007

CIMPA-IMAMIS Philippines School

I am a participant in the CIMPA-IMAMIS Philippines School on 'Numerical Methods For Partial Differential Equations'. The school (which consists of a series of lectures by experts from France and Austria) is held on August 27 - September 7, 2007. It is being hosted by the Mathematics Department of Ateneo de Manila University.

The School's homepage URL is .

CIMPA (International Centre for Pure and Applied Mathematics) is a non-profit international organization established in Nice (France) in 1978. Its aim is to promote international cooperation in higher education and research in mathematics and related subjects, particularly computer science, for the benefit of developing countries.

IMAMIS is the acronym for International Master in Applied Mathematics and Information Sciences.

Below is an excerpt from the website:

"The School will focus on two areas:

  • Advance numerical techniques for Partial Differential Equations.
  • Applications to some classes of PDE, namely to fluid mechanics and mathematical finance.

This school is intended for graduate students, young researchers, teachers and practitioners who are working on applied mathematics, numerical methods and mathematical finance. A basic background in Partial Differential Equations is a pre-requisite for this School.

This CIMPA School can be considered as part of efforts in South-East Asia to bring together the researchers, educators and practitioners in this area. We hope that the School will strengthen collaboration between Southeast Asian and European mathematicians.This school belongs to the series of schools organized/supported by CIMPA in developing countries. This CIMPA School is also part of the Asia Link program IMAMIS (International Master in Applied Mathematics and Information Sciences) that has been suggested by CIMPA in 2002. This project, that has been worked out mostly by the Université de Nice Sophia-Antipolis (UNSA) and the University of the Philippines (UP), is a training programme for higher education scholars, and devoted to the creation of 15 new courses in Applied Mathematics and Information Science. The main sponsors of this school are IMAMIS, CIMPA, IMU, and ICTP. "

The list of participants can be found at while the schedule of lectures can be accessed at .


'Pisay' and 'Bear Claw'

Another amusing incident happened to me last Saturday (8/25/07) -- the day when I watched the fim "Pisay (Philippine Science High School)" (See
Earlier that day I visited a friend in a hospital in Quezon City. At the lobby of the hospital, I was surprised to see a Merced Bakeshop outlet. To me and my highschool batchmates (PSHS Class of 1997) Merced Bakehop is equated with the pastry 'bear claw' -- a piece of bread shaped like the claw of a bear and with a brown filling (which seemed to be a mixture of chocolate and mongo). Merced Bakeshop is located near the corner of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) and Quezon Avenue. Before the existence of flyovers and MRT, Merced bakeshop was just walking distance from Pisay. When we were students in Pisay (some 30 years ago!) we regularly go to Merced Bakeshop to buy 'bear claw.

So, when I saw the Merced Bakeshop outlet at the hospital in Quezon City that I visited last Saturday, I immediately asked the saleslady if the shop sells 'bear claw.' I thought the last time I ate 'bear claw' was when I was still a student of Pisay way back in 1977. I was told that there were three pieces left. I immediately bought all the three pieces of 'bear claw'.

When evening came, I went to The Block in SM North Edsa to see the film Pisay together with some of my batchmates.

Since I did not have merienda in the afternoon of that day and I haven't had dinner, I started eating one of the 'bear claw' pastries that I bought from the Merced outlet while watching the film.

Then came another surprise of the day: During the second act of the movie Pisay [there were four acts: each act representing a shoolyear level experience of the eight main characters (students) in film] 'Matt' (the dormer) and 'Minggoy' (the kid with cancer) climbed the fence near the dormitory to go to a nearby portion of 'Parks and Wildlife'. At the park 'Matt' brought out a 'bear claw' and started eating it while he was having a serious talk with 'Minggoy'. Many people from the audience gave out a hearty laugh [including me who was also eating 'bear claw' like 'Matt' :) ] because they knew that 'bear claw' was associated with Pisay students during that period (1970s to 1980s).

I'm sure that those who did not recognize the connection between 'Pisay' students and 'bear claw' were wondering why some people were laughing when the scene being portrayed in the movie was a serious one :)

Long live 'Pisay' and 'bear claw'!



Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pisay Movie Review By Butch Francisco

(Photo Caption: Child actor Elijah Castillo as 'Minggoy'. Source:

Filipino film critic and Philippine Star entertainment writer Butch Francisco recently wrote a review of Pisay The Movie. It can be found online at .

The review is being quoted here:


STARBYTES (The Philippine Star)


Months before I graduated from elementary, our class adviser informed us that she had with her application forms to the Philippine Science High School. In my mind, I thought that was so sweet of her to have offered — until she dropped the addendum: “But don’t bother if you’re not the Number One in class.”

I was certainly not Number One — wasn’t even close to it. In fact, in second grade I even experienced being in the bottom one grading period — but that was the time I successively had the measles, chicken pox, had the mumps month after month and missed two periodical exams, including the finals. In the entire ten school months, I only managed to show up for eight.

Somehow I managed to pass, but was relegated to a lower section the following school year and did better in third grade. Eventually, I was brought back to the higher section, but was never Number One in class. And so goodbye, Philippine Science High School — or Pisay.The only time I set foot in that campus — on Agham Street in Quezon City — was when I was invited by one of the teachers there, Ms. Anna Santiago-Oblepias, to give a lecture on film criticism. I knew that this was no ordinary high school. The lecture I prepared, in fact, was something even beyond college level. I made the right decision. The students were brilliant and they would have been bored stiff had I talked to them on the level of a regular high school.One afternoon with them, however, wasn’t enough for me to get an insight into what goes on in the minds and in the lives of these young people considered to be the crème dela crème.

Thankfully there is Pisay, the movie, which is shot entirely within the Philippine Science High School compound. In this film, we see what life is like for the students there — and how it could also be unenviable at times. Oh, just think of the pressure they go through every day of school life.Pisay is made up of different stories divided into freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior years, but all intertwined. And so we see a tale of young love (and how it can get in the way of academic performance), being unable to cope with the high standards set by the school (with or without the distraction of a love life, it’s one tough world studying there), getting politicized and finally being in a crossroad of choosing a career path (aside from sciences, they are also taught to dabble in the arts to make them more well-rounded).Pisay is set within the first half of the ’80s — when there was so much political upheaval in the Philippines. These events — the Ninoy Aquino assassination and all the way to the first EDSA — serve as backdrop to the stories of the Philippine Science High School students and no period in our history could have been more appropriate than that time frame to tell us the victories, failures and awakening of the young people at Pisay.

On the lighter side, we also see the Pisay students having fun and sporting the Bagets look, which was big during that era. And so they also party and unwind — although now they’ve gone big time because last year I sat as judge at the Philippine Science High School Prom King and Queen search and it was held at the posh and every expensive Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Pisay actually shows that the people there are more or less like you and I, except that they’re more exceptional. They also hurt and get disappointed like the rest of us. But they’re more brilliant.Oh, brilliance! Like the students whose lives are depicted in the film, Pisay is a showcase of brilliance in direction, script and performances. Eugene Domingo as the physics teacher is her usual brilliant self. She has a Visayan accent here, but it is not intended to elicit humor the way other local films do. She is depicted as a native of one of the Visayan islands and still speaks on an accent — and doesn’t apologize for it.

Another brilliant performer is Claudine Najero, a stage actress who also is an alumna of Philippine Science High School I understand. She is very pretty, has perfect diction and delivers a good acting job as the geometry teacher sympathetic to the plight of her students.

Actually, everyone turns in more than above average performances, particularly those playing students — led by Gammy Lopez, the twin of Nathan Lopez, who plays the title role in Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros. That Pisay is brilliant (it was graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board) shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore. It is, after all, a film by Auraeus Solito, whose first full-length film, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros won Urian Best Picture the other year. Solito, it turns out, is a Philippine Science High School alumnus. He may not have pursued a career in science, but his alma mater should still be proud of him — especially with this film. With Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and this movie, he is brilliantly Pisay.


Related Links:


The Pisay '77 Blogger

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Pisay: The Movie" Website

(Photo Caption: Poster of "Pisay The Movie". Source:

Finally, I was able to watch Pisay The Movie last night (8/25/07) at Cinema 4 of The Block, SM North Edsa -- thanks to the generosity of my highschool batchmate, Mon Castillo (PSHS Class of 1977)

The movie is classified as an independent film (film in digital format). It was directed and produced by Aureus Solito, a member of the Philippine Science High School Class of 1986.

I originally intended to watch this film during its premiere showing at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last July 2007 but I was in Japan at that time.

Last night's showing was sponsored by the Philippine Science High School Foundation (PSHSFI, Inc.). (Note: I was a former vice-president of the PSHSFI.)

There were many Pisay (the popular term for PSHS of Philippine Science High School) students, faculty, alumni, and parents at last night's film showing. It was almost like an alumni homecoming already (the PSHS Alumni Homecoming will be held on September 1, 2007 at the PSHS Multipurpose Gym.).

The movie evoked a lot of memories in me: as a former student and a former director (or principal) of the school. -- This will be my subject in future blogposts.

Recently, I found out that the movie has an official website:
This website contains the following information:

"Pisay The Movie" garnered the following awards during the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival held last July 2007: Best Director, Audience's Choice, and Best Production Design. It was also Graded A (the highest rating) by the Philippine Cinema Evaluation Board.

Congratulations to Film Director Aureus Solito, the PSHS Class of 1986, and the PSHS Foundation!


"The Pisay '77 Blogger"


My Batchmate Andy Santos

Fernando "Andy" Santos is my batchmate in high school (Philippine Science High School Class of 1997). He is a geologist.
Andy and I were classmates during our freshman year (1972-73) in section Jupiter.
We also stayed in the PSHS Boys' Dormitory during high school (1972-1977). We were both from the provinces (Andy is from Ilocos in Northern Philippines and I am from Bataan, a province west of Manila). Students coming from the provincese were given priority to stay in the campus dormitories. We were called 'dormers'. Those not staying in the campus dormitories were called 'externs'.
Andy seemed to me to be a very quiet person. But when he speaks, what he says are very sensible.
Andy is a geologist and a father of two daughters, Krizia and Lala. His wife, Lani passed away in May 2007 after a long bout of illness.

Last Thursday (8/23/07) I received an e-mail from one of Andy's daughters -- with attached pictures of Andy, his wife, and two daughters. She requested me to include the photos in the PSHS '77 blog that I did for the batch(See I acknowledged her e-mail and thanked her for the photo contribution.

I would like to share to the public a beautiful piece that he wrote about his wife Lani...

Quote From Andy:
Thank You

Dear Batch-Mates,
The mortal body of my wife, Lani, was finally put to rest into the earth where it rightfully belongs on May13, 4 pm at Manila Memorial Park, Paranaque. However,I’m sure that her soul/spirit is now in heaven withour Creator, where there are no more tears, sickness and pain. She’s now in another life, a better life than here, after passing all the trials and tests that this world could give.
She had a lung disease since1997 (COPD-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) but she was very sick and bed-ridden for the last four and a half years: also sick with COPD but with “trache”("tubo sa leeg na nakakabit sa respiratory tract"), supplied with constant medical oxygen andasthma/emphysema/heart/kidney medications.
With the help of God we were able to prolong her life for another 10 years. During her sickness, her faith in and relationship with God/Lord Jesus Christ/HolySpirit continuously strengthened and grew; she was able to raise her two beautiful daughters well; and she was a good wife to me. She was also thespiritual/moral leader of our family and her extended family.
On my part, I learned how to care for the sick, love spiritually and unconditionally, to be patient,humble, kind, meek, gentle, and to have faith in God, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In the process, I learned that the most important things in life areto have strong, good loving and friendly relationships with God, family, friends and other fellow human beings. Career and wealth should only be used as vehicles for living, service to others, to win more souls for Jesus Christ/God and to build-up His Church.
Also, for the past 10 years, I silently and patiently bore the expenses, trials and pain, until I asked for your help…
Thank you for your prayers, condolences and visits during my grief; and for your support during my times of need. Honestly, I was humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers, sympathy and support during my hard/low times, which I have never experienced before. I also give thanks to God, to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, Who have never left men or forsaken me; and to the saints (which includes theVirgin Mary) who have prayed for me."
-- Andy Santos

Friday, August 24, 2007

Meeting With Doctors: Research and Consultation

Last Thursday (8/23/07) I had a meeting with medical doctors at Medical City Hospital in Ortigas, Pasig City. I (together with some faculty members and students of the School of Science and Engineering of Ateneo de Manila University) have on-going research collaborations with some medical doctors of Medical City. (The Medical City is affiliated with the Ateneo.)

During our meeting I was in pain. My left shoulder and neck were aching. However, I could not bring it up (my pain) during the meeting because our group was absorbed with research discussions. Normally, if one goes to a hospital it is about getting some kind of treatment for an ailment. In my case, that day, it was primarily about research collaboration.

After our meeting (which ended around 7:00 p.m.) I went to the information counter of the hospital to ask where I could get treatment for my shoulder and neck pain. I was referred to the Emergency Room (ER). At the ER, some nurses and clinicians checked my shoulder and neck pain. I asked them the possibility of whether my pain was due to my car accident that happened last August 5, 2007 (See ). They also checked my blood pressure. The reading was unusually high: 160/110. They gave me a pain reliever and observed me for an hour. My blood pressure later went down to a level close to normal. (Note: I have hypertension and I am under maintenance medicine.)

That day, I went to the hospital (Medical City) for a one reason (research collaboration meeting) but I ended up in the Emergency Room for another reason (to get treatment for neck and shoulder pain)!

[I find this incident quite unusual so I wrote it in my Blog :) ]

8/25/07 in Quezon City

Metro Manila Traffic: It's Like Hell On Earth!

(Photo Caption: Rain or Shine, traffic situation in Katipunan Avenue near Ateneo. Source: Ateneo de Manila University Physical Plant Office.)

This morning (8/24/07) I had an unwelcome surprise. On my way to Ateneo I had to pass by the intersection of Xavierville Avenue and Abada Street. To my surprise, I encountered a DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) contractor digging portions of the narrow intersection. Since this intersection is a busy intersection (especially before 8:00 a.m. and around 3:00 p.m.) you can imagine the traffic jam that this unexpected work at the intersection has caused.

No warnings, no prior notices, and all of a sudden you will encounter road diggings not only in the Katipunan area but also practically everywhere in Metro Manila.

[Recently, it took me one hour just to get from Ateneo to the University of the Philippines in Diliman, which is a short distance away (without traffic, it will take only about 10 minutes!)
And this happened to me not only once but several times ): ]

To top it all, these DPWH contractors conduct road diggings and "repair work" (a misnomer) at the height of the rainy season!

It is no wonder why Metro Manila is filled with traffic-related incidents like car accidents, body injuries, fights, killings and even deaths.

When will our government get its acts together? (Wishful thinking!!!)

When will this madness end?

Metro Manila Traffic? It's like hell on earth!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Helping The People Through Wireless Technology

(Photo Caption: Mr. Mahabir Pun, Source:

Today (8/22/07), I received a forwarded e-mail from our Dean, Dr. Fabian "Toby" Dayrit about an article on Mr. Mahabir Pun, the 2007 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Community Leadership. The article is from SciDev.Net:

Nepali teacher wins 'Asian Nobel Prize': Mahabir Pun

(by Imelda Abano, 13 August 2007, Source: SciDev.Net)

"A Nepali teacher has been honoured with a prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, regarded as the Asian Nobel Prize, in recognition of his innovative application of wireless computer technology in Nepal.

Mahabir Pun, 52, from the remote village of Nangi in Nepal, will receive the 2007 Award for Community Leadership and a US$50,000 prize along with six other awardees in Manila, Philippines this month (31 August).

Pun started the project "The Nepal Wireless Networking Project" to meet the communication needs of his village, seven hours climb to the nearestroad and without a telephone connection.

"I believe that better communication systems are important for the overall development of a community and a nation," Pun told SciDev.Net. Under the project, villagers and a team of international volunteers initially powered several computers with small hydro-generators in an earby stream. They then linked them wirelessly to the Internet with a series of television dish antennas and mountaintop relay stations, usingthe nearest telephone connection in the town of Pokhara, a two-day trip away.

Pun said the project has so far provided 14 rural villages with access to services like telemedicine, distance learning, e-marketing of local products and telephone services.

"I strongly believe that all the people in the world have right to use and benefit from this technology. This has been a basic need in developed countries. Therefore one of my goals is to work hard to close the digital divide as much as I can," said Pun.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation writes that his innovation has brought progress "by connecting his village to the global village". Sandy Dela Cruz, the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation communications programme officer told SciDev.Net that Pun's dedication, innovative leadership and motivation in connecting the mountain villages of Nepal to each other and the outside world is magnificent." He is an inspiration to young people in Asia because of his courageous and ambitious goal for Nepal," Dela Cruz said.

The Ramon Magsaysay Award celebrates outstanding individuals and organisations working in Asia for the people of Asia."


1. Mr. Mahabir Pun is scheduled to give a public lecture at the Ateneo de Manila University on August 29, 2007.

2. Below are some links that I found (using Google, about Mr. Mahabir Pun:

3. While writing this article about Mr. Mahabir Pun in my BLOG I remember one of my batchmates in Philippine Science High School (PSHS Class of 1977), Engr. Ramon "Mon" Castillo, president of INNOVATRONIX Inc. and a Gawad Lagablab Awardee. Mon is conducting a community project in a remote village in Tanay, Rizal (close to Metro Manila) which involves rural people's computer education and Internet access. I intend to write a blog entry about Mon and his community projects in the near future.

8/22/07 in Quezon City

Mathematics, Reality, And Dr. Fidel Nemenzo

(Photo Caption: Dr. Fidel Nemenzo (sitting) together with his students at U.P. Diliman. Source:

Yesterday (8/21/07) I received an invitation from the University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP NISMED) about a public lecture to be given by a Filipino mathematician colleague, Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo.

The title of the lecture is "Does Mathematics Reflect Reality?".

The lecture will be held on August 31, 2007, 9:00 a.m., at the STTC Auditorium, UP NISMED), Diliman, Quezon City.


"The great abstract ideas of mathematics are created by mathematicians out of sheer delight, independent of human experience. These ideas now help us predict weather and the ups and downs of stock market, understand the behaviour of birds in flight, design bridges and skyscrapers, and protect financial transactions done over the internet. Is it not puzzling that the abstract ideas of mathematics are precisely what are needed to understand and model social phenomena and the physical world?"

About the Speaker:

Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo is an Associate Professor at the Department of Mathematics of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

Dr. Nemenzo obtained the following academic degrees:

D.Sc. Mathematics. Sophia University, Japan. 1998
M.S. Mathematics. Sophia University, Japan. 1992
B.S. Mathematics. University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. 1985

At present Dr. Fidel Nemenzo is the president of the Mathematical Society of the Philippines (MSP).

My Notes on Fidel:

Fidel is the son of Dr. Franciso "Dodong" Nemenzo, former president of the University of the Philippines. In the past, I have invited Fidel to be one of our resource speakers in MODEL '99 (Workshop and Conference on Modeling, Simulation, and Scientific Computing), an event that I organized at the Ateneo de Manila University in November 1999. He gave a talk on data security using elliptic curves.

It would be very interesting to hear what Fidel has to say on the topic, "Does Mathematics Reflect Reality?"

8/22/07 in Quezon City

Monday, August 20, 2007

Welcome Back, Dr. Ricardo Lim

  1. (Photo Captions: Left - Ricky's high school picture (1977), Top Right - Ricky with his wife and kids, Bottom Right - Ricky's contemporary photo)

  1. Yesterday (8/20/07) I had an e-mail communication with Dr. Ricardo "Ricky" A. Lim. Ricky and I belong to the same high school batch, Philippine Science High School Class of 1977. For a long time, Ricky has been "silent" in our batch e-group. So, perhaps he was not aware of our 30th batch anniversary project for PSHS (of which I am one of the coordinators).

According to him, he made a wrong press of the button (one of the keys in the computer keyboard) while surfing the Net the other night. The result: he had to apologize to most of the more than 1000 people in his address book for SPAM :) I guess, this kind of accident happens to many Net users, not only to Ricky.

However, because of that accidental pressing of the button one of the coordinators of our batch projects, Dr. Francis "Keku" Domingo (who is the medical director of Novartis Healthcare Philippines, Inc.), got in touch with Ricky. Keku forwarded to me the e-mail message from Ricky (Keku actually said it was "providential"). After that I e-mailed Ricky and requested him to reconnect to our batch e-group.

Ricky used to be one of the coordinators of our batch. He was active in the PSHS alumni affairs and even became the president of the Philippine Science High School Alumni Association.

During our high school days (1972-1977) Ricky stayed briefly at the PSHS boys' dormitory (I was also a dormer) during our freshmen year. We were classmates for two school years: during our sophomore year, our section was Champaca; and during our senior year, our section was Atom.

The son of the former Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare Dr. Estefania Aldaba Lim and the brother of media personality Che-Che Lazaro, Ricky is now a professor and an associate dean at the Asian Institute of Management. Below is a feature article about Ricky from the AIM website (Source: ):

"Professor Ricardo A. Lim, PhD, is the Don Benigno Toda, Jr. Professor of Business Management. He is currently the Associate Dean of the W. SyCip Graduate School of Business (WSGSB) where he is a core faculty of the MBA Program. He was the former Associate Dean of the International Relations Group, and Editor-in-Chief of The Asian Manager. He specializes in information technology and management communication, and has published articles for MIS Quarterly and the Academy of Management.

Before joining the Institute, Prof. Lim managed ATM and branch automation projects for the Philippine National Bank; developed a telemarketing system for the Sears Roebuck Chicago Merchandising Group; and built an international securities monitoring and control system for the State Street Bank in Boston. He installed a nationwide claims litigation system for the American International Group in New York. He participated in manufacturing and financial systems development projects at Allied-Bendix Rhode Island, Hartz Mountain of New Jersey, Wang Laboratories and American Fund Raising Services in Boston, Massachusetts. He also worked for Nixdorf Computer Philippines, the CSC Consulting Group in Boston and the Bankers Trust Company in New York. He currently consults for local firms.

Prof. Lim has also taught management information systems in the MBA program of the Graduate School of Business of the University of the Philippines. He wrote The PHINMA Story (1996).

He received a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Marshall School at the University of Southern California (2002), an MBA from the Darden School, University of Virginia (1989), and a B.Com. in Management Information Systems (Magna Cum Laude) from McGill University, Montreal (1982)."

To Ricky: this is what happens to you when you press a wrong button... You not only got to be found by us, you also got featured in my BLOG :)


8/21/07 in Quezon City

Adding A Free Counter

Today (8/21/07) I found a website for adding a free counter to my blog. The source is . So, today I was successful in installing this counter in my blog. For the record, the start of the counter is zero on August 21, 2007. The number of "hits" or "visits" before August 21, 2007 are not included in the counter.


8/21/07 in Quezon City

Innovation With Dr. Greg Tangonan

Today (8/21/07) I attended a meeting on industry-academe collaboration. One of the topics in the meeting is Innovation, with Dr. Gregory "Greg" Tangonan as the speaker. Dr. Tangonan is a co-faculty member at the School of Science and Engineering of Ateneo de Manila University.

Below are some information on Dr. Tangonan found in the UP-Ayala Technology-Business Incubator website ( ).

Gregory Tangonan, PhD
President, Asia Pacific Technical Strategies
Retired Director of R&D, Hughes Research Laboratories (Los Angeles, CA)
Holder of 38 U.S. patents
Author/co-author of more than 100 published papers
Distinguished Inventor Awardee, Hughes Research Laboratories
in 2000, 2001, and 2002

"Dr. Tangonan joined Hughes in 1971 after receiving the Howard Hughes Doctoral Fellowship for studies at the California Institute of Technology. During his doctoral studies, he performed research in superconductivity and amorphous metals at Cal Tech and participated in optical device research at Hughes Research Laboratory. Dr. Tangonan has pioneered integrated waveguide detectors, Bragg modulators in LiTaO3 and LiNbO3, and glass-based couplers for wavelength multiplexing and coupling. He has been instrumental in developing applications of optoelectronics in radar, optical networking, and analog systems.

Dr. Tangonan was promoted to Director of Research in Communications and Photonics reporting directly to the President of HRL Laboratories. Dr. Tangonan Laboratory focused on the exploitation of wireless technologies for broadband access to interactive services, laser communications, optoelectronic devices and subsystems for RF systems, and novel inter-networking systems.

Dr. Tangonan was responsible for setting the Strategic Technical Investments of the Owners of HRL - Boeing, General Motors and Raytheon.

After 31 years with HRL Laboratories, Dr. Tangonan retired from HRL Laboratories to pursue new interests. During the last few years at HRL Dr. Tangonan became very interested in the business side of technology and is the President of his Asia Pacific Technical Strategies. The company pursues strategic research and development projects that can be translated into Intellectual Property assets or start-up companies.

Dr. Tangonan joined the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines as Adjunct Professor in the Loyola School of Science and Engineering. He is responsible for research in the areas of biomedical engineering, wireless and optical communications and material science. He is very active in the development of Intellectual Property, and has, with several of the Ateneo faculty, filed U.S. Patents on their research.

In the last two years he has taught a class called Innovation and Technology to graduating engineering and science students. This class delves into the global competitive environment, the role that innovation plays in determining success or failure in almost every industry today, and how Filipino innovators can become successful through strategic planning of technology development.

Dr. Tangonan is co-author of >100 published papers and presentations in the fields of fiber optics, integrated optics, laser spectroscopy and amorphous materials. Dr. Tangonan has 48 U.S. patents. He has presented numerous papers at international forums in optoelectronics. Dr. Tangonan is a member of the Optical Society of America, IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society and Sigma Xi.

Dr. Tangonan has received several major awards for his work. Among them are two R&D 100 Awards for New Products and Technologies. The first R&D 100 Award in 1994 was for Secure Fiber Optics Technology and the second R&D 100 Award was for Optical Networking Node Technology for All-Optical Switched Networks. Dr. Tangonan received several Published Paper- of-the-Year awards from HRL Laboratories. Dr. Tangonan received the Distinguished Inventor Award from HRL in 2000, 2001, and 2002. "

The Ateneo community and all Filipinos can truly be proud of Dr. Greg Tangonan, his achievements, and his contributions to science and techonology.

8/21/07 in Quezon City

Saturday, August 18, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours... And It Floods!

"When it rains, it pours..."

This is a common saying that you hear whenever one has a good fortune of having a series of good luck OR a misfortune of having a series of bad luck (like what happened to me last August 5, see

But this saying may also be interpreted literally.

Early this month, the Philippines was faced with a problem of drought. It is already the rainy season but rains are hard to come by. Cloud seeding has to be done to prevent water shortage. In some areas of Central and Northern Luzon (Philippines), the rice fields have already been adversely affected.

To solve the problem of drought, the Catholic Church in the Philippines launched a campaign for Oratio Imperata Ad Petendam Pluviam (Obligatory Prayer To Request For Rain). So, millions of devoted Catholics in the country regulary prayed for rain.

And then the rains came.

But, as the saying goes, "When it rains, it pours..."

The rains were brought by one typhoon after another. Recently, we even had a supertypoon
(local name: Egay).

And with the rains, came the floods. The whole of Metro Manila and surrounding provinces were confronted with the problem of flashfloods brought about by continuous rain. Classes in schools and work in government offices were suspended.

Is this a case of "Divine Comedy"? People prayed for rain and the rain was given to the people. But then, it was excessive rain, which brought flooding in many parts of the country.

Perhaps, next time, when people pray for rain they have to state exactly how much rain they would like to have :)[Then, perhaps, people would need to consult scientists, and they would appreciate what scientists are doing :) :) ]

When it rains, it pours... and it floods!

8/19/07 in Quezon City

Two Weeks After My Car Accident: Thoughts on Fatalism

It has been two weeks since I had a car accident at the C-5 flyover in Pasig City (See ) but still the damage to my car has not yet been repaired.

I'm wondering: does fate has to do with my car accident? It seemed to me that several events colluded so that I would be at the C-5 flyover in Pasig City at 8:45 a.m. on August 5, 2007, so that my car would be hit by another car. I could have avoided being there, but the fact is that I was there.


This brings me to the subject of 'Fatalism'.

According to our friendly Wikipedia,

"[start of quote]

Fatalism is commonly referred to as "the doctrine that all events are subject to fate or inevitable predetermination."

More precisely, it can refer to at least one of three interrelated ideas:-

1. That there is no free will, and everything including human actions, could only have happened as it did. This version of fatalism is very similar to determinism.

2. That although human actions are free, they are nonetheless ineffectual in determining events, because "whatever will be will be".This version of fatalism is very similar to predestination.

3. That an attitude of inaction and passive acceptance, rather than striving, is appropriate. This version of fatalism is very similar to defeatism.

[end of quote]"

To me this is a frightening thought. That events would happen NO MATTER WHAT you do, they WOULD happen because they are predetermined.

Qe sera, sera. What will be, will be.

I tend to believe that we have free will, and that as human beings, we are responsible for our actions.

In every action, we have a choice. The decision we take is our responsibility.

But is this really the case? Can it be that even our manner of choosing and the choices we make are predetermined?

8/19/07 in Quezon City

Friday, August 17, 2007

What Is the Meaning of Life?

Question: What is the meaning of life?

Answer: See cartoon -->



(Cartoon Source:

Do You Want To Be Happy?

In an earlier entry (See I mentioned that the Hungarian mathematician Alfred Renyi is probably the source of a famous quote ("Mathematicians are machines that turn coffee into theorems.") which is popularly accredited to another famous Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos.

A Wikipedia article mentions that Renyi is also the source of another quote: "If I feel happy, I do mathematics to become happy. If I am happy, I do mathematics to keep happy."

(Photo caption: Alfred Renyi. Source: )
So, do you want to be happy?



What Mathematicians Do On Rainy Days

Question: What do mathematicians do on rainy days?

Answer: Some drink coffee, some turn coffee into theorems :)

A famous mathematician, Paul Erdos is credited for having said that “mathematicians are machines that turn coffee into theorems". (However, a Wikipedia article states that this quote is most probably to have originated from a mathematician colleague of Erdos named Alfred Renyi.)

I wish that I can turn coffee into theorems during these rainy days :)


8/18/07 in Quezon City

"Happy","Cute", "Sociable", "Weird" And Other Special Numbers

In a previous post (See I talked about a special number called a palindromic number. In this article, I will discuss other special numbers...

“Abundant”, “amicable”, “cute”, “deficient”, “happy”, “narcissistic”, “perfect”, “semiperfect”, “sociable”, “square”, “weird”.

These adjectives normally pertain to people or, somehow, they are related to people.

But did you know that these adjectives also pertain to numbers?

In mathematics, there is such a field called number theory. Number theorists are mathematicians that study, among others, the characteristics of special numbers.

Here are some excerpts from a website “Math Forum@Drexel” ( on some kind of special numbers:

Abundant Numbers

A number is abundant if the sum of its proper divisors is greater than the number itself. For example, the proper divisors of 24 are {1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12} and 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 6 + 8 + 12 = 36, so 24 is abundant."

"Amicable Pairs

You might think of an amicable pair as two numbers that are best friends. The sum of the proper divisors of the first number is the second number, and if you add up the proper divisors of the second number, you get the first number.

Here's an example. One amicable pair is 2620 and 2924. The proper divisors of 2620 are {1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 131, 262, 524, 655, 1310}. Their sum is 1 + 2 + 4 + 5 + 10 + 20 + 131 + 262 + 524 + 655 + 1310 = 2924. Next we check whether 2924's proper divisors add up to 2620. 2924's proper divisors are {1, 2, 4, 17, 34, 43, 68, 86, 172, 731, 1462}. 1 + 2 + 4 + 17 + 34 + 43 + 68 + 86 + 172 + 731 + 1462 = 2620, so the pair of numbers really is amicable."

"Cute Numbers

If a square can be cut into n squares of at the most two different sizes, then n is called a cute number. For example, 4 and 10 are cute numbers."

"Deficient Numbers

If the sum of a number's proper divisors is less than the original number, it is called a deficient number. For instance, 16 is deficient. The proper divisors of 16 are {1, 2, 4, 8}, but 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 = 15."

"Happy Numbers

A happy number is a number for which the sum of the squares of the digits eventually equals 1.

For instance, 203 is happy:

2^2 + 0^2 + 3^2 = 13
1^2 + 3^2 = 10
1^2 + 0^2 = 1.

Numbers that are not happy, such as 16, are called unhappy numbers."

"Narcissistic Numbers

A narcissistic person is only interested in himself; a narcissistic number might seem a little self-centered, too. A narcissistic number is an integer equal to an expression that uses the same digits. For example, 36 = 3! * 6. Sometimes a narcissistic number is defined as a number equal to the sum of its digits raised to a certain power, or, more specifically, as an n-digit number equal to the sum of its digits raised to the nth power. For instance, 371 is narcissistic because 3^3 + 7^3 + 1^3 = 371, and 9474 is narcissistic because 9^4 + 4^4 + 7^4 + 4^4 = 9474."

"Perfect Numbers

The numbers that divide evenly into an integer are called its divisors. For example, the divisors of 6 are {1, 2, 3, 6}. Proper divisors are the divisors less than the integer you started with: the proper divisors of 6 are {1, 2, 3}. A number is perfect if it is equal to the sum of its proper divisors. 6 is perfect, because 1 + 2 + 3 = 6."

"Semiperfect Numbers

A semiperfect number is the sum of some of its proper divisors. For instance, 18 is semiperfect because its proper divisors are {1, 2, 3, 6, 9} and 3 + 6 + 9 = 18. If a semiperfect number is the sum of all of its proper divisors, it is called a perfect number."

"Sociable Numbers

Sociable numbers are like amicable numbers, but they come in larger groups. The proper divisors of the first number in the group add up to the second number, the proper divisors of the second number add up to the third number, and so on. The sum of the proper divisors of the last number in the group is equal to the first number. Sociable numbers tend to be quite large, so they are hard to find without using a computer. One example of a sociable group is 12496, 14288, 15472, 14536, and 14264."

"Square Numbers

Square numbers are the result of multiplying a number by itself once. These are the same as the "perfect squares": 1^2 = 1, 2^2 = 4, 3^2 = 9, and so on. (The small ^2 means 'squared' and in e-mail we write it ^2, so that 2^2 is 'two squared'.)

The square of 5 is 25, and working backward, we say the square root of 25 is 5. "

"Weird Numbers

A number is weird if it is abundant without being semiperfect; 70 is the first weird number."


8/17/07 in Quezon City

How To Turn Numbers Into Palindromic Numbers

Still on the subject of palindromic numbers (See

A palindrome is a word that's the same read either forward or backward, such as "rotor" or "tenet". Palindromic numbers, like 22 and 12321, have the same digits forward and backward.

Do you know that most numbers can be converted into palindromic numbers? How? Here is an answer (source: )

"1. Pick a number.
2. Reverse its digits.
3. Add them together.
4. Repeat the process until you get a palindromic number.


1) 19
2) 91
3) 110
4) 011
5) 121

Nobody knows whether or not this works for every number. People have used computers to try the flip-and-add process on 196 nearly ten million times, without finding a palindrome-- but it might still be possible. We do know that it won't work for every number written in every base: Try 10110 in base 2."

Try this, it's fun :) { Challenge: Can you turn this into a theorem? }


8/17/07 in Quezon City

When Is A Palindromic Number Prime?

(Figure Caption: The number of palindromic numbers less than a given number n. Source:
While seriously thinking about palindromic numbers (See I thought that writing a program to determine whether a given palindromic number is prime would be a good programming exercise.

Then, by searching the Web using Google ( I found a website discussing palindromic primes (

From the website, I found some interesting facts:

1. The first few (base-10) palindromic primes are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 101, 131, 151, 181, 191, 313, 353, 373, 383, 727, 757, 787, ...

2. The number of palindromic primes less than a given number are illustrated in the plot above.

3. The number of palindromic numbers having n=1, 2, 3, ... digits are 4, 1, 15, 0, 93, 0, 668, 0, 5172, 0, ...

4. The total number of palindromic primes less than 10, 10^2, 10^3 , ... are 4, 5, 20, 20, 113, 113, 781, ...

5. Gupta (2006) has computed the number of palindromic primes up to 10^19.

6. Banks et al. (2004) proved that almost all palindromes (in any base) are composite.

7. As of Jan. 2006, the largest proven palindromic prime is found by P. Jobling (2005), which has 150007 decimal digits.

Very interesting!



8/17/07 in Quezon City

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Palindromes and Palindromic Numbers

This morning (while thinking about what to do in case Supertyphoon Egay hits Metro Manila) I received a text message from a mathematician colleague who asked for my landline phone number. When I mentioned my phone number to him, he remarked that it is interesting because my phone number is a palindromic number. It was only then that I realized that indeed I have a palindromic phone number!

So what are palindromes and palindromic numbers?

A quick visit to Wikipedia ( ) gave the following answers:

1. "A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of units that has the property of reading the same in either direction (the adjustment of punctuation and spaces between words is generally permitted). The word "palindrome" was coined from Greek roots Greek πάλιν (palin) "back" and δρóμος (dromos) "way, direction" by English writer Ben Jonson in the 1600s. Composing literature in palindromes is an example of constrained writing."


Examples of palindromes are the words: "rotor" and "tenet".

2. "A palindromic number is a 'symmetrical' number like 16461, that remains the same when its digits are reversed. The term palindromic is derived from palindrome, which refers to a word like rotor that remains unchanged under reversal of its letters.

Palindromic numbers receive most attention in the realm of recreational mathematics. A typical problem asks for numbers that possess a certain property and are palindromic. For instance,
palindromic primes are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 101, 131, 151, … (sequence A002385 in OEIS)
the palindromic
perfect squares are 0, 1, 4, 9, 121, 484, 676, 10201, 12321, …

Buckminster Fuller referred to palindromic numbers as Scheherazade numbers in his book Synergetics, because Scheherazade was the name of the story-telling wife in the 1001 Nights.

It is fairly straightforward to appreciate that in any base there are infinitely many palindromic numbers, since in any base the infinite sequence of numbers written (in that base) as 101, 1001, 10001, etc. (in which the nth number is a 1, followed by n zeros, followed by a 1) consists of palindromic numbers only."

(Source: )

Now, I have a problem: Is my phone number a palindromic prime number or is it a palindromic perfect number (or both)?

Oh well, I guess having a palindromic phone number makes me special, especially on a rainy day like this :)


Raffy Saldana
8/17/07 in Quezon City

Notes on Dr. Sarmenta's Lecture: Mobile Phones and Health Applications

My colleague, Dr. Luis Sarmenta is now in the Philippines for a short visit. He is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA) as a research scientist but he still maintains a faculty position at the Department of Information Systems and Communications (DISCS) of Ateneo de Manila University. Luis and I are co-investigators in an international research collaboration on content-based medical image retrieval using Grid computing (see

Luis is a very talented Atenean. He graduated magna cum laude from Ateneo (B.S. Physics with Computer Engineering) and earned his masteral and doctoral degrees in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Science and Technology. He is a recipient of several major awards which include the following:
  • ASEAN Young Scientists and Technologists Award. Awarded by the ASEAN only once every three years. August 2005.
  • Outstanding Young Scientist Award. Awarded by the Philippine National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), July 2005.
    NAST-DuPont Talent Search for Young Scientists Award. Awarded by the Philippines National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and DuPont Far East, Inc., July 2003.
  • Microsoft ".NET Best" Awards, Worldwide 1st place Winner, Academic Category (US $125,000 total prize value for the school), for "Bayanihan Computing .NET: Grid Computing with XML Web Services." Awarded by Microsoft Corporation, USA, Aug. 2002.
  • ACM/IEEE CCGrid'01 Best Paper Finalist Award. "Sabotage-Tolerance Mechanisms for Volunteer Computing Systems," in the ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Cluster Computing and the Grid (CCGrid 2001), Brisbane, Australia, May 2001.

For more information about Dr. Luis Sarmenta, visit his website at

Yesterday (8/16/07) Luis gave a lecture on “Mobile Phone Applications for Health” at the Ateneo de Manila University. For an abstract of Dr. Sarmenta's lecture, see

For more information about this topic, e-mail me at or send a message directly to Dr. Luis Sarmenta at

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Invitation: Talk on Health Applications of Mobile Phones

The School of Science and Engineering of Ateneo de Manila University cordially invites everyone to a lecture on:

"Mobile Phone Technologies for Health in the Third World: Applications and Opportunities"


Luis F. G. Sarmenta, Ph.D.
MIT Computer Science and A.I. Laboratory
and Ateneo de Manila University

16 August 2007, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Dean's Conference Rooom, School of Science and Engineering


As mobile phone technologies become increasingly available and affordable, a new opportunity arises for us to use these technologies not just for communication or entertainment, but for improving both personal and public health around the world.

This talk presents the many ways in which people are already using mobile phone technologies in health care applications today, and identifies further opportunities to do even more. Mobile phone technologies have already changed lives around the world. Now, they can actually save lives as well.

This talk hopes to inspire and encourage us Filipinos to explore this areaand make original contributions to world-wide efforts using thistechnology. And by doing so, we can save lives not only within the Philippines, but around the world as well.


DR. LUIS F. G. SARMENTA is a Research Scientist from the Computer Scienceand Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. He is also a faculty member of the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science of the Ateneo.

For inquiries, please call:

Office of the Dean
School of Science and Engineering
Ateneo de Manila University
Tel. 4266001 locals 5600 and 5602

PSHS Alumni Concert: "I Am What I Jam"

(Photo Caption: Group picture of the PSHS National Alumni Association Board Members. Ciel Habito and I are shown at the center.)

Dr. Cielito "Ciel" Habito is a former Cabinet Secretary (Director-General of the National Economic Development Authority or NEDA, during the administration of President Fidel V. Ramos) and now the chairperson of the Ateneo de Manila University Economics Department. He is also the concurrent president of the Philippine Science High School Alumni Association and the Philippine Science High School National Alumni Association (Note: I am the corporate secretary of the PSHS NAA). He also writes a regular column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer ("No Free Lunch").

Below is an invitation from Ciel regarding the "PSHS Alumni Concert: Pisay @ 43com.2gether (I Am What I Jam)."

8/16/07 in Quezon City


Dear Fellow PSHS Alumni,

Please come join your fellow PSHS alumni from 4 decades for the PSHSAA Alumni Concert this coming August 30, 2007 at 7pm at the AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. Dubbed "Pisay@43com.2gether (I Am What I Jam)", it will be a grand musical reunion for all of us, led by the early Pisay talents from pioneer batch '69 up to the musical batch '75. Each of the first 8 batches of the PSHS will present a musical tribute of their own featuring music of their era.

The concert will also feature special performances from well-known PSHS alumni, led by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. '70, Navy Chief Vice-Admiral Rogelio Calunsag '70, Mapua Institute of Technology President Dr. Reynaldo Vea '69 (the very first PSHS Valedictorian), UP College of Engineering Dean Rowena Guevarra '80, popular Opus Dei priest Fr. Jaime Achacoso '70, former NEDA Director-General Dr. Cielito Habito '70, and more! Himig Agham, the PSHS student choir, will also perform.

The concert promises to be an evening of fun and Pisay camaraderie, while helping raise funds for your alumni association's various projects, including the forthcoming 6th Gawad Lagablab Outstanding Alumnus Awards, the Alumni Forums, the planned Grand Pisay Alumni Congress, facilities support for our alma mater, and other projects to enable PSHS Alumni to pay back to the school, and pay forward to the Filipino people, the avowed Mission of the PSHSAA.

Tickets are available at P500 (Patron), P350 (Sponsor), P200 (Regular) and P100 (Young Alumni and students -- i.e. only for batches 2000 and up).

You may address inquiries and place orders for tickets with me at (or text 0917-500-5224) or Vince Ragay (Concert Director) at (0916-771-4615). Or just come to the concert venue on the evening of August 30, 2007 and get your tickets at the entrance (please drop us a line if you intend to come, so we can make sure we reserve tickets for you!).

Come bring your batchmates, family and friends for this unique opportunity to witness the hidden talents of PSHS science scholars through the decades!

See you all on Thursday, August 30!


Ciel Habito '70