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Ask Theory

Ask Theory

By Mikael Francisco
Hosted by Pinoy science journalist Mikael Angelo Francisco, the Ask Theory Podcast shines the spotlight on Pinoy scientific brilliance. Each episode of Ask Theory features a Pinoy scientist from one of the various scientific disciplines. In a very casual Taglish conversation, guests explain what they do in simple terms, as well as share their fascinating stories: how they got into science, the challenges they face, what motivates them to pursue their fields, what future scientists from the Philippines can look forward to, and so much more.

Music: Miles From Home by Glitch
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058: [Science & Society] Paano Naiaangat Ng Siyensiya At Ng Lipunan Ang Isa't Isa? (with Hillary Diane Andales)
This episode features Hillary Diane Andales, a science communicator and astrophysicist-in-training. In 2017, she won the Breakthrough Junior Challenge, an annual global competition for students to inspire creative thinking about science. She is currently an undergraduate researcher at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. We talked about her research in astrophysics and observational astronomy, science communication tips and techniques, the pressure that comes with being a scientist-in-training, the link between science and society, how scientific innovations can improve our lives in unexpected ways, and more. How to contact Hillary: Website: Facebook: @hilldiandales YouTube: HillaryDianeAndales Twitter: @cosmichillarays Instagram: @cosmichillarays
January 22, 2022
057: [Geography] Mga Sakuna Sa Pilipinas: Paano Ba Dapat Paghandaan? (with Timothy James Cipriano)
This episode features Timothy James Cipriano, a geographer whose research is focused on hazards and disasters, urban and environmental studies, and disease geographies. He used to work with the UP Resilience Institute, and recently volunteered as a data validator for the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team. We talked about the significance of geography, why science should always be done with the people, collecting data during the pandemic, what the Philippines can learn from past disasters, ways to improve disaster risk reduction in the Philippines, and more. How to contact TJ: Email:; Twitter: @bigbrotherteej Instagram: @bigbrotherteej
January 15, 2022
056: [Science Conversations] Smart-Shaming: Bakit Ba Ito Nangyayari? (with Dr. Inez Ponce de Leon)
This episode features Dr. Inez Ponce de Leon, a molecular biologist and science communicator. She is an Associate Professor at the Department of Communication at the Ateneo de Manila University, as well as a weekly columnist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer. We talked about styles of science communication in the Philippines, having inclusive conversations about science, the trap of falling in love with platforms, why smart-shaming happens, how facts can be perceived as weapons, and more. How to contact Dr. Inez: Email: Website: Twitter: @inezpdl
January 09, 2022
055: [Nuclear Science] Kailangan Ba Talaga Ng Pilipinas Ang Nuclear Power? (with Dr. Carlo Arcilla)
This episode features Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla, a geologist and the Director of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI). We talked about how nuclear medicine can help in the fight against cancer, the role of nuclear science in the pandemic, how nuclear technology helps with food productivity, nuclear science and climate change, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, and more. How to contact Dr. Carlo: Email:
January 01, 2022
054: [Virus Hunting] Ba't Andaming Virus Sa Katawan Ng Mga Paniki? (with Prof. Phillip Alviola)
This episode features Prof. Phillip Alviola, an Associate Professor at the Institute of Biological Science at the University of the Philippines Los Baños and the UPLB Museum of Natural History’s curator for small mammals and other wildlife. He is a bat biologist who uses his expertise to study bat-borne viruses and develop community-based methodologies for monitoring biological diversity. We talked about how to become a virus hunter, how viruses thrive in bats, zoonotic diseases and their connection to biodiversity conservation, other animals of interest for virus hunters, what every Filipino should understand about zoonotic diseases, and more. How to contact Prof. Phillip: Facebook: Email:
December 25, 2021
053: [Environmental Economics] Masusukat Ba Talaga Ang Halaga Ng Kalikasan? (with Tara Abrina)
This episode features Tara Abrina, an environmental economist and researcher at the University of the Philippines. She is the founder of Kapit Sisid, a network of freediving and marine conservation professionals. We talked about how free-diving serves as a medium for marine conservation, the Kapit Sisid initiative, involving rural communities in environmental conservation, being a STEM worker in the Philippines, environmental economics in the Philippines, and more. How to contact Tara: Instagram: @taraabrina Carrd: ---------------------- Are you a STEM worker in the Philippines? Feel free to answer this short survey about the challenges you're currently facing:
December 19, 2021
052: [Microbiology] Safe Bang Kainin Ang Pagkaing "Wala Pang 5 Seconds" Sa Sahig? (with Dr. Pierangeli Vital)
This episode features Dr. Pierangeli Vital, an environmental microbiologist and one of the 2021 Outstanding Young Scientists recognized by the National Academy of Science and Technology. We talked about pursuing environmental microbiology research, the best and worst parts of working as a microbiologist, popular myths and misconceptions about food safety in the Philippines, what the general public should know about food safety research, the impact of microbiology research on everyday life, and more. How to contact Dr. Pierangeli: Facebook: Website: Email:
December 11, 2021
051: [Educonservation] Bakit Kailangang Iligtas Ang Mga King Cobra? (with Jazz Ong)
Co-hosted by Angela Mae Bagarra of the Northern Exotics and Wildlife Troopers – Nueva Ecija Branch (NEWT-NEB), this episode features Jazz Ong, an educonservationist and the Chief Executive Officer of Wildlife Matters. We talked about how Wildlife Matters started, the King Cobra Initiative, the difference between “venomous” and “poisonous,” bringing attention to endangered species that aren’t regarded as “cute” or attractive, why snakes are an important species to conserve, and more. How to contact Jazz: Facebook: Instagram: @wildlife_matters Instagram: @jazzwildlife How to contact Angela: Facebook: Email: Twitter: @newtneb
December 05, 2021
050: [Science Writing] Bakit Mahalagang I-Communicate Ang Science Sa Publiko? (with Shaira Panela)
This episode features Shaira Panela, an award-winning science writer from the Philippines. Her work has appeared in local and international publications such as Asian Scientist Magazine, GMA News Online, Rappler, and SunStar. We talked about the differences between writing about science and writing about crime, politics, or entertainment, the toughest science stories she has ever worked on, her most memorable experiences as a science writer, why science communication matters in the Philippines, communicating science to the public, and more. How to contact Shaira: Facebook: Instagram: @alingshaira Twitter: @alingshaira Email: /
November 27, 2021
049: [Nuclear Medicine] Ano Ang Nuclear Medicine - At Safe Ba Talaga 'To? (with Dr. Thomas Neil Pascual)
This episode features Dr. Thomas Neil Pascual, a nuclear medicine physician and Science and Technology Fellow III for the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI). He serves as a technical adviser and research coordinator, providing high-level expertise and advice to researchers while developing and implementing projects aimed at applying quality management in nuclear medicine and diagnostic imaging practices. We talked about why people tend to associate nuclear energy with destruction, the responsible use of nuclear energy to benefit the public, the field of nuclear medicine, some exciting applications of nuclear energy in health that Filipinos can look forward to, and more. How to contact Dr. Thomas: Facebook: Facebook (Official Page): For clinical consultations: Dr. Pascual will be the resource speaker for “Nuclear Science and Technology Applications: Frontiers in Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine,” a virtual talk via Zoom and FB Live on November 26, 2021, at 8:00 AM. Register here: This episode of the Ask Theory podcast was made possible by the Department of Science and Technology, in celebration of the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) happening on November 22-28, 2021. For more information on the 2021 NSTW, visit and follow the hashtags #2021NSTW, #DOSTTugonSaHamon, and #ScienceForThePeople on social media.
November 21, 2021
048: [Microplastics] Gaano Kalala Ang Microplastics Problem Sa Pilipinas? (with Dr. Jose Isagani Janairo)
Co-hosted by Daisy Acuña of the Veterinary Circle for 10, this episode features Dr. Jose Isagani "J.I." Janairo. He is a Full Professor at the Biology Department of De La Salle University, where he also serves as the Head of the Biological Control Research Unit under the Center for Natural Sciences and Environmental Research.  We talked about how microplastics end up in the ocean, the adverse effects of microplastics on animals and humans, how the pandemic impacted plastic pollution in the country, what we can do to help solve the microplastics problem in the Philippines, and more. How to contact Dr. J.I.: Email: Twitter: @dr_jij How to contact Daisy: Email: Facebook: Daisy C. Acuña Facebook (Official Page): @veterinarycirclefor10 IG: @veterinarycirclefor10 Twitter: @CLSU_VC10
November 14, 2021
047: [Wildlife Biology & Chiropterology] Ba't Kailangang Pangalagaan Ang Mga Paniki? (with Jay Fidelino)
This episode features Jay Fidelino, a wildlife biologist working with the Biodiversity Research Laboratory of the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Institute of Biology. We talked about life as a wildlife biologist, working in a research laboratory, the many fascinating things about bats, common misconceptions about bats, initiatives for conservation education, and more. [0:00] A quotable quote from Jay Fidelino. [1:42] Introducing Jay. [2:26] How Jay fell in love with science. [9:34] Jay’s mission as a scientist. [10:54] What the life of a wildlife biologist looks like. [18:32] The work that a wildlife biologist does in a research laboratory. [26:10] Why Jay decided to specialize in bats, and what he finds unique and fascinating about them. [33:23] The most common misconceptions about bats. [39:33] Upcoming development projects in the Philippines that pose environmental risks. [43:46] Jay’s initiatives for conservation education. [50:38] Information about Jay’s book on Philippine vertebrate biodiversity. [58:14] The best way to reach out to Jay. [1:00:29] Jay’s advice to aspiring Filipino scientists. How to contact Jay: Facebook: Jay Sebastian Fidelino Twitter: @jsfidelino Instagram: @jsfidelino
November 06, 2021
046: [Biodiversity Conservation] Paano Maililigtas Ng Ordinaryong Tao Ang Mga Endangered Species? (with Lisa Paguntalan)
This episode features Lisa Paguntalan, the Executive Director of the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. We talked about the work of a biodiversity conservationist, the challenges in Philippine biodiversity conservation, inspiring ordinary citizens to become biodiversity conservationists, the amazing rediscovery of a Philippine species once thought extinct, and more. [0:00] A quotable quote from Lisa Paguntalan. [1:00] Introducing Lisa. [1:39] How Lisa fell in love with science. [7:58] Lisa’s mission as a scientist. [12:03] How to become a biodiversity conservationist. [19:09] Does biodiversity conservation work ever stop? [23:12] Giving attention to less popular endangered species. [32:02] The species that got Lisa started in the conservation world. [38:28] How a conservation effort saved species, improved a town’s reputation, and inspired citizens to act. [50:34] Measuring the success of conservation efforts through an inclusive citizen campaign. [1:03:22] The best way to reach out to Lisa - and how PBCFI can collaborate with biologists and scientists-in-training. [1:07:10] Lisa’s advice to aspiring Filipino scientists and biodiversity conservationists. How to contact Lisa: Facebook: Lisa J. Paguntalan Facebook Page: Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. Email:
October 30, 2021
045: [Nanotechnology] Mawawalan Ba Tayo Ng Trabaho Dahil Sa Mga Bagong Teknolohiya? (with Engr. Marlon Llana)
This episode features Engr. Marlon Llana, the Technical and Operations Director at Nanotech Analytical Services and Training Corp (NASAT). We talked about disruptive technologies, nanotechnology and its impact in our everyday lives, how radical technologies may affect the Pinoy job market, and more. [0:22] A quotable quote from Engr. Marlon Llana. [1:33] Introducing Engr. Marlon. [4:42] Engr. Marlon’s mission as a scientist. [7:04] Defining disruptive technology. [8:21] The radical technologies that may advance drastically in the next 5 to 30 years. [10:18] What nanotechnology is, and why it matters. [12:28] Understanding electron microscopy and its role in nanotechnology. [18:00] The current applications of nanotechnology in everyday life. [25:05] Will these disruptive technologies drive Filipinos out of jobs? [34:55] The best way to reach out to Engr. Marlon. [37:38] Engr. Marlon’s advice to aspiring Filipino scientists. How to contact Engr. Marlon: Facebook: Marlon Llana Email: YouTube: Marlon Llana This episode of ASK THEORY was made possible by NASAT Labs, the first independent nanotechnology laboratory in the Philippines. NASAT Labs provides failure analysis and material characterization, water and environmental testing, and technical training sessions to various industries and the academe.
October 23, 2021
044: [Quantitative Marine Biology] Paano Makakuha Ng Post-Grad Scholarship Sa Tropical Biodiversity And Ecosystems Program? (with Kristine Buenafe)
This episode features Kristine Buenafe, a quantitative marine biologist. She is a graduate of the TROPIMUNDO program, an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems. We talked about quantitative marine biology, community-based species conservation and management, marine protected areas, the TROPIMUNDO program, the dynamics of biodiversity conservation, and more. [0:00] A quotable quote from Kristine Buenafe. [1:33] Introducing Kristine. [2:00] More information about Kristine. [3:42] Kristine’s mission as a scientist. [4:55] The work of a quantitative marine biologist. [7:48] Why it’s important to clearly define the boundaries of a marine protected area (MPA). [9:30] Why some fisheries managers don’t like to hear the word “conservation.” [11:15] The complex dynamics of biodiversity conservation. [15:00] Why species conservation must be inclusive, and why the Philippines is considered a pioneer in community-based species conservation and management. [16:50] The biggest challenge Kristine faced as a researcher. [18:50] More information about the Erasmus Mundus TROPIMUNDO Master Degree Program, and why Pinoys would want to apply for it. [23:12] The perks of being in the TROPIMUNDO program. [24:16] The application timeline and process for the 2021 TROPIMUNDO program. [26:49] What Kristine learned after joining the TROPIMUNDO program. [31:40] Applying the lessons from the TROPIMUNDO program in Kristine’s professional career. [33:54] The best way to reach out to Kristine. [35:17] Kristine’s advice to aspiring Filipino scientists. How to contact Kristine: Email: Facebook: Tin Buenafe IG: gelatin_011 TROPIMUNDO Program FAQ:
October 16, 2021
043: [Distance Learning] Paano Magturo Ng Siyensya Sa Panahon Ng Pandemya? (with Genea Nichole Cortez)
This episode features Genea Nichole Cortez, a mangrove botanist and professional teacher. We talked about the challenges of teaching science in a virtual setup, how learners are adjusting to online science education, effective techniques for teaching science to elementary, high school and college students, how to encourage student participation in online learning, areas for improvement in Philippine science education, and more. [0:00] A quotable quote from Genea Nichole Cortez. [1:16] Introducing Genea. [2:27] More information about Genea. [5:30] Genea’s mission as a scientist and educator. [6:05] How being a scientist influenced Genea as an educator, and vice versa. [9:56] The importance of having credible references and resource materials for educators. [11:05] Encouraging students to interact with their teachers. [13:12] Different approaches to teaching elementary, high school, and college students. [18:20] How complex mathematics lessons actually have real-world uses. [21:18] The pros and cons of teaching science in a virtual setup. [26:15] A suggestion for measuring effectiveness of virtual teaching methods. [27:32] How college students respond to Genea’s virtual envi sci lessons. [31:24] The areas in which science education in the Philippines can be improved. [38:09] The best way to reach out to Genea. [39:32] Genea’s advice to Filipino science educators. How to contact Genea: Twitter: @neyteachyou Instagram: @teachtraveltrain_ney
October 09, 2021
042: [Health & Environment Research] "Forever Chemicals" sa Katawan: Paano Ba Maiiwasan? (with Dr. Michael Velarde)
This episode features Dr. Michael C. Velarde, a professor at the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman. He has a strong background in the study of female reproduction, aging, and related diseases. One of his research projects involves studying how environmental chemicals influence disease development and progression. We talked about PFAS and the health risks associated with them, the gaps in Philippine research regarding women’s health, how Filipinos are affected by PFAS, the dangers of immediately drawing conclusions from limited scientific data, involving young Pinoy students and scientists in health and environment research, and more. [0:00] A quotable quote from Dr. Michael Velarde. [1:13] Introducing Dr. Michael. [2:49] More information about Dr. Michael. [6:48] Dr. Michael’s mission as a scientist. [11:19] The state of research on women’s health in the Philippines. [13:58] Understanding PFAS: What they are, and the dangers associated with them. [16:12] Why PFAS stay in the body after consumption. [17:41] How Filipinos are affected by PFAS. [20:49] Why we should be cautious when interpreting new scientific data. [25:07] How to limit PFAS exposure - and if it’s possible to expel PFAS from the body. [32:08] How Dr. Michael involves students and young scientists in research related to the environment and health. [35:50] The best way to reach out to Dr. Michael. [36:28] Dr. Michael’s advice to aspiring Filipino scientists. How to contact Dr. Michael Velarde: Email:
October 02, 2021
041: [Sustainable Energy] Paano Ba Malulutas Ang "Energy Gap" Sa Pilipinas? (with Vince Davidson Pacañot)
This episode features Vince Davidson Pacañot, an Energy Engineering graduate student at the University of the Philippines Diliman and an SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) advocate affiliated with the 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines Inc. We talked about the current state of the Philippine energy sector, coal power plants in the Philippines, the need for sustainable, renewable, and affordable energy, how to improve the Philippines’ energy mix, how climate change threatens the country, and more.
September 25, 2021
040: [Mangrove Conservation] Reclamation Projects: Masama Nga Ba Talaga Para Sa Kalikasan? (with Matthew Vincent Tabilog)
This episode features Matthew Vincent Tabilog, a senior BS Marine Biology student from Silliman University and founder of Mangrove Matters PH. We talked about common misconceptions regarding mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs, the importance of blue carbon, the effects of reclamation projects on the environment, the truth behind the climate crisis, the Mangrove Matters PH initiative, and more.
September 18, 2021
039: [Genetic Counseling] Bakit Kailangan Ng Genetic Counseling Ng Mga Pinoy? (with Peter James Abad)
This episode features Peter James Abad, a genetic counselor and full-time educator at the University of the Philippines Manila’s College of Nursing. He is also affiliated with the Genetic Counseling Training Program under the Department of Pediatrics of the university’s College of Medicine. We talked about what genetic counseling is, the roles and responsibilities of a genetic counselor, the right time to consult a genetic counselor, some diseases that Filipinos may be genetically predisposed to have, the importance of cultural sensitivity in the medical profession, and more.
September 11, 2021
038: [Science in Business Reporting] Ano Ang Koneksyon Ng Science Sa Business Reporting? (with Angelica Yang)
This episode features Angelica Yang, a multi-awarded science journalist covering the energy and environment beats for BusinessWorld, the oldest business newspaper in the Philippines. We talked about energy and climate reporting, finding the right stories to focus on, the main job of a science journalist, writing for an international audience, and more.
September 04, 2021
037: [Marine Biology] Paano Pinoprotektahan Ng Gobyerno Ang Ating Mga Yamang-Dagat? (with Jean Utzurrum)
This episode features Jean Utzurrum, a marine biologist with field research experience in coral reef restoration, coral reef and mesophotic fishes, and fisheries. She has volunteered with Reef Check Philippines and the World Wildlife Fund, and also served as an elasmobranch specialist for the Marine Wildlife Watch of the Philippines. We talked about the search for a blue whale in the Philippines, the Dumaguete land reclamation project, policies for Philippine environment conservation, ways to improve how the government protects our natural resources, the realities of being a scientist in the Philippines, and more.
August 28, 2021
036: [Artificial Intelligence] Mapapalitan Ba Talaga Ng A.I. Ang Mga Tao? (with Albert Yumol)
This episode features Albert Yumol, a full-stack data scientist and machine learning engineer specializing in data architecture, analytics, and ethics.  He is well-versed in supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms for industry and research applications.  On the side, he teaches data science in a bootcamp company called Eskwelabs and spearheads a curriculum on data ethics and human-centered design. We talked about how the Philippines compares to the rest of the world when it comes to A.I., if A.I. can ever replace human beings, the biggest challenges holding the Philippines back when it comes to technological development, the concept of developing technology for social good, the future of technological advancement in the Philippines, and more.
August 21, 2021
035: [Biodiversity] Bakit Mahalagang Hanapin Ang Mga "Lost Species" Ng Pilipinas? (with Kier Mitchel Pitogo)
This episode features Kier Mitchel Pitogo, a wildlife biologist at the Protected Area Management Office of the Allah Valley Watershed Forest Reserve. In 2021, he rediscovered a Philippine frog that had been lost to science for 28 years. He also co-authored the first extensive herpetological survey conducted in southern Mindanao. We talked about the story of rediscovering Guttman’s stream frog, finding a rare species of critically endangered orchid, the process of putting together his pioneering study on Mindanao wildlife, why it’s important to keep studying the Philippines’ biodiversity, the challenges that Pinoy wildlife biologists experience in the field, and more.
August 14, 2021
034: [Science & Art] Anu-Ano Ang Pwedeng Matutunan Ng Mga Scientist Mula Sa Sining? (with Jason Tan Liwag)
This episode features Jason Tan Liwag, a molecular biologist, theater and film actor, and writer. He is the Founder and President of Queer Scientists PH and the President of Cine Crítico Filipino. We talked about falling in love with science through Pokémon, balancing hobbies and passion projects as a scientist, the lessons that science can gain from art and vice versa, the myth of the “boring” scientist, the Queer Scientists PH initiative, and more.
August 06, 2021
033: [Biotechnology] Safe Ba Talagang Kainin Ang Mga GMO? (with Dr. Rey Ordonio)
This episode features Dr. Rey Ordonio, a plant molecular geneticist from the Philippine Rice Research Institute. He is also the head of the Healthier Rice Project at DA-PhilRice. He was named as one of the Philippines’ Outstanding Young Scientists for 2021. We talked about GMOs, the science behind the development of Golden Rice, fears and misconceptions about GMOs, the future of GMOs in the Philippines, and more.
July 30, 2021
032: [Fact-Checking] Misinformation vs. Disinformation vs. Fake News: Ano Ang Pinagkaiba? (with Purple Romero)
This episode features Purple Romero, a fact-checking journalist based in Hong Kong. Her articles on health, environment, and gender issues have been published on international websites such as Vice, SCMP, Foreign Affairs, Mongabay, Channel News Asia, and Agence France-Presse. We talked about the history of fake news, the difference between misinformation and disinformation, why people create and spread false information, the tools and skills of a fact-checking journalist, tips for ordinary citizens to effectively tell fact from fiction, and more.
July 23, 2021
031: [Science Education] Napag-Iiwanan Ba Talaga Ang Pilipinas Sa Science Education? (with Sabrina Ongkiko)
This episode features Sabrina Ongkiko, a public school teacher at Culiat Elementary School. A vocal advocate for science literacy, she received The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Award for her commitment towards educating children, empowering teachers, and helping to transform the Philippine education system. We talked about her most memorable experiences as a science educator in the Philippines, tips and techniques for teaching science effectively, the World Bank’s recent report about the state of education in the Philippines, points for improvement in the country's science education system, ways to empower Pinoy teachers and students, and more.
July 16, 2021
030: [Marine Conservation] Maraming Yamang-Dagat Ang Pilipinas—Pero Ba't Sila Nauubos? (with Maybelle Fortaleza)
This episode features Maybelle Fortaleza, a marine scientist and member of the research team at the Coral Reef Resiliency and Ecology Studies Laboratory in UP Mindanao. We talked about the possible reasons why the Philippines is so biodiverse, the biggest problem in marine conservation, how to change or improve the way we talk about saving marine species, meeting science idols and celebrities, the need for inclusive science communication in local communities, and more.
July 08, 2021
029: [Geodetic Engineering] Paano Pinaghahandaan Ang Mga Sakuna Sa Pilipinas? (with Dr. Enrico Paringit)
This episode features Dr. Enrico Paringit, the Executive Director of Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) under the Department of Science and Technology. A licensed geodetic engineer, he served as the project leader of the Disaster Risk and Exposure Assessment for Mitigation (DREAM) initiative. We talked about how the Philippines is improving the way we prepare for, respond to, and deal with the consequences of natural hazards, how DOST-PCIEERD supports research in the Philippines, the relationship between science and policies, important considerations for drafting S&T policies, and more.
July 02, 2021
028: [Mathematical Modeling] Paano Na-A-Apply Ang Math Sa Totoong Buhay? (with Dr. Jomar Rabajante)
This episode features Dr. Jomar Rabajante, a faculty member of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He is the OIC-Dean of the Graduate School of UPLB, a fellow of the UP Resilience Institute, and a lead researcher of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team. We talked about simulation theory and our concept of reality, the surprising and unexpected things that numbers can reveal about real life, being named one of the Philippines’ Outstanding Young Scientists, using data and numbers to deliver crucial pandemic information to policymakers, how to recover from being overwhelmed by numbers and statistics, and more.
June 25, 2021
027: [Science Communication] Bakit Kailangan Ng Science Communicators Sa Pilipinas? (with Mark Ivan Roblas)
This episode features Mark Ivan Roblas, a science communicator and Supervising Science Research Specialist at DOST-PCIEERD. He also served as the project leader of the Science Explorer, the Philippines' first mobile learning science facility, and is managing the agency’s social media scicomm initiatives. We talked about his most memorable experience as a science communicator, why it’s important to communicate science well, how science communication can be improved in the Philippines, who can become a science communicator, common misconceptions about science and scicomm, and more.
June 18, 2021
026: [Optics & Photonics] Invisibility Cloak At Teleportation: Posible Nga Ba? (with Dr. Nathaniel Hermosa)
This episode features Dr. Nathaniel Hermosa, the Program Coordinator of the Photonics Research Lab at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s National Institute of Physics. He has been recognized as an outstanding young scientist by the National Academy of Science and Technology of the Philippines. We talked about unlocking the secrets of light, how a crazy idea helped his team develop an invisibility cloak, quantum entanglement and teleportation, why it’s important for scientists to have other interests, the most important characteristic of a science practitioner, and more.
June 10, 2021
025: [Evolutionary Biology] Paano Ba Maging Isang National Geographic Explorer? (with Dr. Lillian Rodriguez)
This episode features Dr. Lillian Rodriguez, an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biology in the College of Science. In 2016, she became a National Geographic Explorer, and was given a grant to study the biogeography and evolution of pollinator fig wasps associated with sycomorus figs in the Philippines. We talked about why fig (balete) trees and fig wasps are important in Philippine ecosystems, some unexpected things we can learn from studying plant-insect interactions, her experience as a National Geographic Explorer, how we can do better at conserving our local biodiversity, why evolution doesn’t really work the way many of us imagine it, and more.
June 03, 2021
024: [Science Journalism] Paano Ba Maging Isang Science Journalist Sa Pilipinas? (with Kristine Sabillo)
This episode of Ask Theory features Kristine Sabillo, a science journalist and digital media manager. She has covered stories about science, politics, technology, and current events for ABS-CBN and, with a particular focus on topics related to climate, energy, and health. We talked about telling science stories to the public, the biggest challenges of being a science journalist, the thrills of working with and learning from Pinoy scientists, how science news can go viral with the right angle, the future of science journalism in the Philippines, and more.
May 27, 2021
023: [Trans Fat] Ano Ang Trans Fat, At Bakit Ito Nakamamatay? (with Kristine Jane Atienza)
This episode of Ask Theory features Kristine Jane Atienza, a licensed nutritionist-dietitian who has worked with the United Nations World Food Program and World Vision. A space enthusiast, she is also a founding member of the Philippine Union of Student Organizations for Astronomy (PUSO for Astro) and a core member of the Manila Street Astronomers. We talked about why trans fats are so bad for the body, everyday food items that are actually sources of trans fats, viable alternatives for trans fatty ingredients, how consumers can avoid trans fats, space nutrition (and what astronauts eat), and more.
May 19, 2021
022: [Climate Change] Lulubog Ba Talaga Ang Pilipinas Pagdating Ng 2050? (with Dr. Gerry Bagtasa)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Gerry Bagtasa, an atmospheric physicist and a Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Institute of Environmental Science & Meteorology. We talked about why certain parts of the Philippines could go underwater by the year 2050, how well we’re preparing for natural hazards and the effects of climate change, a mysterious (and major) climate problem that’s right under our noses, concrete steps we can take to mitigate the impact of climate change in the Philippines, the problematic messaging of certain parties regarding climate change, and more. Note: This interview took place in November 2020.
May 13, 2021
021: [Species Conservation] Ano Ang Isabela Oriole, At Bakit Kailangan Natin Itong Iligtas? (with Nikki Dyanne Realubit)
This episode of Ask Theory features Nikki Dyanne Realubit, a terrestrial vertebrate biologist and board member of the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines. She has played an active role in numerous biodiversity conservation and awareness initiatives, including the ORIS Project, a volunteer-led team working for the conservation of the Isabela oriole (Oriolus isabellae). We talked about the critically endangered Isabela oriole, the unique characteristics of this golden bird, the role it plays in its ecosystem, the challenges of species conservation, what we can do to help save our critically endangered species, and more. Follow and support the Isabela oriole conservation initiative on Facebook: ORIS project
May 07, 2021
020: [Popularizing Science] Sumusunod Ba Talaga Sa Science Ang Science Fiction? (with Dr. Ronald Allan Cruz)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Ronald Allan Cruz, an Assistant Professor of Biology at Ateneo de Manila University. A biologist, science writer, and speculative fiction author, he marries his two passions — science and pop culture — in order to effectively popularize and communicate science to the public, whether through his published works or via his YouTube channel. We talked about incorporating pop culture into science communication, a fundamental rule of science that people tend to neglect, the science behind films like Interstellar, Contagion, and Jurassic Park, science fiction tropes that are likely to happen in real life, why it’s not bad to “overthink” science fiction, and more. Check out Dr. Ron's YouTube channel, PopScicle, here:
April 30, 2021
019: [COVID-19 Vaccination] Safe Ba Talagang Magpabakuna Kontra-COVID-19? (with Dr. John Wong)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. John Wong, a Filipino epidemiologist with over 30 years of experience in epidemiology and health systems research. In 2016, he became the first Filipino to win the Roux Prize, an international award that honors innovation in the application of disease burden research, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. He is a co-founder and current senior technical adviser of EpiMetrics, a public health research firm, where he continues to work with the Department of Health, IHME, and USAID, among others, in reforming the health system, while training and working with young researchers in public health. We talked about what Pinoys need to know about COVID-19 vaccines, what we can and can’t do after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, how to prepare ourselves in case a family member gets infected, how COVID-19 variants affect vaccine effectiveness, why we’re sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and that they weren’t “rushed,” and more. This special episode was made possible by EpiMetrics, a Philippine-based health research institution, as part of a special initiative called Life Stages: How to Do Everything Again Differently.
April 21, 2021
018: [Paleoceanography & Paleoclimatology] Paano Natutulungan Ng Balik Scientist Program Ang Mga Pinoy Scientist? (with Dr. Deborah Tangunan)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Deborah Tangunan, a geologist specializing in micropaleontology, biogeochemistry, paleoceanography, and paleoclimatology. Aside from her research, she also devotes time and energy to science communication, like when she became part of the Department of Science and Technology’s Balik Scientist program. We talked about what paleoceanographers and paleoclimatologists do, the joy of studying coccolithophores, her collaborative storybook project with scientists from different countries, how the Balik Scientist program helps Pinoy scientists here and abroad, why scientists must share their work with the public, and more. Download the free science e-storybook Once Upon A Time... A Scientific Fairy Tale (available in different languages, including English and Filipino) here:
April 16, 2021
017: [Paleontology] Anu-Ano Ang Matututunan Natin Sa Mga Fossils? (with Gabriel-Philip Santos)
This episode of Ask Theory features Gabriel-Philip Santos, the Collections Manager and Outreach Coordinator at the Alf Museum of Paleontology in Los Angeles, California. He is also the co-founder of the Cosplay for Science initiative. Aside from the paleobiology of marine mammals, he also studies diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in science education and STEM as a museum educator and a National Geographic Certified Educator. We talked about telling stories of Earth’s distant past, how fossils are formed, the surprisingly accurate museums in the game Animal Crossing, cosplaying for science, what prehistoric clues can tell us about the present and the future, and more.
April 09, 2021
016: [Species Discovery] Paano Ba Nakakahanap Ng Mga Bagong Species? (with Shiella Mae Olimpos)
This episode of Ask Theory features Shiella Mae Olimpos, a botanist and researcher from the Philippines Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Inc. (PBCFI). She recently discovered and co-authored a paper on Aeschynanthus rejieae, a new species of lipstick vine from Tawi-Tawi that she found during PBCFI’s Sulu Hornbill Expedition. We talked about the characteristics of A. rejieae, how one can tell if they’re looking at a potential new species, what makes a plant a plant, why it’s important to keep discovering new species, the fun things about being a botanist/conservationist, and more.
April 01, 2021
015: [Psychiatry] Bakit Kailangan Nating Seryosohin Ang Mental Health? (with Dr. Trina de la Llana)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Trina de la Llana, a consultation-liaison psychiatrist who practices online as part of the Mindcare Club and the Quezon City General Hospital, and onsite at The Medical City and the Philippine General Hospital. She completed her residency training in Psychiatry at UP-PGH, with a subspecialty in psychiatry in the medically ill. She is also interested in sexual and gender minority health, as well as school mental health. We talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our mental health, misconceptions about mental health in the Philippines, why mental health issues should be taken as seriously as any other illness, some tips to improve our mental wellbeing, and more. If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, or if someone you know needs a person to talk to, you may call Hopeline PH’s 24/7 hotlines:  88044673 for PLDT 09175584673 for Globe 2919 for Globe/TM, toll-free 09188734673 for Smart You may also call the National Center for Mental Health Hotline at 0966-351-4518.
March 25, 2021
014: [Forest Conservation] Kumusta Na Ba Ang Mga Kagubatan Ng Pilipinas? (with Abigail Garrino)
This episode of Ask Theory features Abigail Garrino, a Research Associate at the Biodiversity Research Laboratory of the University of the Philippines Diliman. An early-career botanist, she conducts botanical assessments in some of the country’s unexplored forests, filling the gaps in what we know about our own floristic biodiversity. The information she generates on forest dynamics and restoration can contribute significantly to the management and conservation of the last remaining forests of the Philippines. We talked about the state of forests in the Philippines, the things that make botany an exciting field to pursue, some mistakes made in forest conservation efforts (and how we can correct them), her favorite plant and why it’s so special, how to improve the way we communicate the need to save our forests, and more. Petition to save the protected area of the Northern Negros Natural Park:
March 19, 2021
013: [Biological Oceanography] Paano Natin Tuluyang Maliligtas Ang Manila Bay? (with Dr. Aletta Yñiguez)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Aletta Yñiguez, an Associate Professor of biological oceanography and ecological modeling at the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines Diliman. Combining her interests in ecology and computer science, she uses field, laboratory and computational approaches in developing tools to assess the health of marine ecosystems and understanding the dynamics of the base of the marine food web and their impact on Philippine fisheries. We talked about the work of a biological oceanographer, how a multidisciplinary approach can improve a scientist’s efficiency, the history and ecosystem of Manila Bay, what needs to be done to save Manila Bay (and why it’s so challenging), how implementing pro-environment activities without expert advice may actually do more harm than good, and more.
March 11, 2021
012: [Art Conservation] Paano Naililigtas Ng Siyensiya Ang Sining At Kultura? (with Gracile Celine Roxas)
This episode of Ask Theory features Gracile Celine Roxas, a Licensed Chemist who works under the Conservation Division of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. She combines her knowledge of chemistry and passion for art in her work, such as when she conducted a scientific analysis of pigments in 20th century paintings for some of Bohol’s historical churches. We talked about applying the scientific method in conserving and restoring old works of art, why the Philippines needs more art conservators, the typical challenges of working in the field of art conservation and restoration, how chemistry knowledge can actually help artists improve their craft, why STEM should really be STEAM, and more.
March 07, 2021
011: [Spacecraft Engineering] Ano Ba Ang Mapapala Natin Sa Pag-Explore Ng Mars? (with Engr. Gregorio Villar III)
This episode of Ask Theory features Engr. Gregorio Villar III, an Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Systems Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He was part of the team that worked on ensuring the successful landing of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars. We talked about what motivated him to pursue a career at NASA, his role in the Mars 2020 mission, the development of the Sky Crane system that helped Perseverance land safely on the Red Planet, why we spend time studying other planets instead of focusing on Earth, who would win in a fight between cavepeople and astronauts, and more.
March 04, 2021
010: [Theoretical Physics - 2 of 2] Kaya Ba Nating Gumawa Ng Black Hole—At Delikado Ba Talaga 'To? (with Dr. Ian Vega)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Ian Vega, a professor at the National Institute of Physics, program coordinator of the Theoretical Physics Group, and head of the Gravity Group at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Young Scientist award from the National Academy of Science and Technology for his work in theoretical physics. We talked about some common misconceptions about black holes, an amusing cautionary tale about what can happen if you don’t consult with experts before making decisions, the growing community of bright young minds in the Pinoy physics scene, what the future of theoretical physics in the Philippines looks like, how we can improve science communication in the Philippines, and more. Today's episode was made possible by Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc., a private, non-stock, non-profit organization and the corporate social responsibility arm of Mercury Drug Corporation.
February 25, 2021
009: [Theoretical Physics - 1 of 2] Bakit Ba Natin Pinag-Aaralan Ang Mga Black Hole? (with Dr. Ian Vega)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Ian Vega, a professor at the National Institute of Physics, program coordinator of the Theoretical Physics Group, and head of the Gravity Group at the University of the Philippines Diliman. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Young Scientist award from the National Academy of Science and Technology for his work in theoretical physics. We talked about the basics of black holes, the important things we can learn from studying black holes, addressing a toxic misconception about theoretical research, how cosmic mysteries can help us better understand our place in the universe, why communication is vital in every scientist’s life, and more. Today's episode was made possible by Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc., a private, non-stock, non-profit organization and the corporate social responsibility arm of Mercury Drug Corporation.
February 25, 2021
008: [Astronomy & Military Science] Ano Ang Mangyayari sa Pilipinas Kapag Nagka-World War III? (with Rodion Herrera)
This episode of Ask Theory features Rodion Herrera, an amateur astronomer and former planetarium lecturer, research assistant, and consultant for utilizing off-the-shelf flight simulations and weapon/defense systems simulations for civilian and military applications. We talked about some tips and best practices for newbie astronomers, his personal experience in engaging with moon landing deniers, what would happen to the Philippines in the event of World War III, the three most terrifying letters in modern warfare, and more. Today's episode was made possible by Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc., a private, non-stock, non-profit organization and the corporate social responsibility arm of Mercury Drug Corporation.
February 18, 2021
007: [Physics & Data Science] Ano Ang Pwedeng Career Ng Mga Physics Graduate Sa Pilipinas? (with Dr. Reinabelle Reyes)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Reinabelle Reyes, an astrophysicist, data scientist, educator, and strong advocate of using data in decision-making for matters of local and national significance. We talked about career options for physicists in the Philippines, why data science matters in everyday life, the most fun thing about being a scientist, the many benefits of having a mentor, and more. Today's episode was made possible by Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc., a private, non-stock, non-profit organization and the corporate social responsibility arm of Mercury Drug Corporation.
February 11, 2021
006: [Public Health - 2 of 2] Bakit Napakalaking Problema Ang Dengue Sa Pilipinas? (with Dr. Edrie Alcanzare)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Edrie Alcanzare, a frontliner. He is a public health physician and pathology resident trying to make sense of the health system and the many ways it can be improved. In part 2 of our interview, we talked about whether Pinoys are truly “pasaway” when it comes to following COVID-19 guidelines, Dr. Alcanzare’s most unforgettable and horrifying (but hilarious) frontliner story, how dengue in the Philippines transformed from a seasonal concern into a year-round problem, and the long and difficult path towards reforming the Philippine public healthcare system. This special episode was made possible by the Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc., a private, non-stock, non-profit organization and the corporate social responsibility arm of Mercury Drug Corporation.
February 05, 2021
005: [Public Health - 1 of 2] Anu-Ano Ang Mga Leksyon Ng Mga Pandemyang Nakalipas? (with Dr. Edrie Alcanzare)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Edrie Alcanzare, a frontliner. He is a public health physician and pathology resident trying to make sense of the health system and the many ways it can be improved.  In part 1 of our interview, we talked about how both science fiction and reality can become the gateway to the medical path, a pandemic that hit the Philippines over 100 years ago, why history, arts, and social sciences should help form the foundation of any STEM career, the most terrifying thing about COVID-19 that not a lot of people realize, and whether anyone can truly “win” against COVID-19. This special episode was made possible by the Mercury Drug Foundation, Inc., a private, non-stock, non-profit organization and the corporate social responsibility arm of Mercury Drug Corporation.
February 04, 2021
004: [Araneology] Ano Ang Itsura Ng Mundong Walang Gagamba? (with Dr. Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Aimee Lynn Barrion-Dupo, an entomologist and araneologist. She is a biology professor at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, where she also holds the position of Faculty Regent. We talked about what the world would look like if there were no spiders, why many people are afraid of or even disgusted by insects, some amazing facts about our arachnid friends, having more women in the different fields of science, and the great power and great responsibility of every scientist.
January 29, 2021
003: [Astrophysics] Kailan Ba Magkakaroon Ng Pinoy Astronaut? (with Dr. Rogel Mari Sese)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, the Chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering of Ateneo de Davao University. He is the former Program Leader of the National SPACE Development Program, and the driving force behind the creation of the Philippine Space Agency and Philippine Space Development and Utilization Policy.  We talked about what an astrophysicist does, the oft-neglected ways that space science enhances our daily lives, why the Philippine Space Act and Philippine Space Agency represent a giant leap for the Philippines, and why we still don't have a Pinoy astronaut.
January 22, 2021
002: [Meteorology] Bakit Ang Weird Ng Panahon Sa Pilipinas? (with BA Racoma)
This episode of Ask Theory features BA Racoma, a PhD student of the University of the Philippines and University of Reading studying tropical cyclones and rainfall. He’s also an active science communicator, and is one of the brains behind the ScienceChatPH initiative on Twitter. We talked about common misconceptions in weather forecasting, using memes and internet humor to communicate science to the general public, the struggles of a PhD student, why the weather seems to be so weird these days, and much more.
January 22, 2021
001: [Lifestyle Medicine] Bakit Ang Hirap Magpaliit Ng Tiyan? (with Dr. Dex Macalintal)
This episode of Ask Theory features Dr. Dex Macalintal. He is a double board certified professional, both as a nutritionist dietitian and a doctor of medicine. On social media, he provides free medical insights, debunks health myths, and shares his food-and-lifestyle-first approach to treating chronic degenerative diseases. We talked about fad diets and why many of them don't work, common misconceptions that Filipinos have about health and fitness, why it’s so difficult to lose belly fat, how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the Filipino diet, what trans fats are and why we should avoid them, and so much more.
January 22, 2021