Recent issues, challenges of R&D in the country taken up in S&T forum

“Without research, application of the latest innovations and technologies in biotechnology wouldn’t be possible.”

Dr. Arnel N. Del Barrio, acting executive director of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), emphasized this need for research for development in his welcome message on a science and technology forum held last February 19 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Said forum is a joint activity of PCC and Coalition for Agriculture Modernization in the Philippines, Inc. (CAMP), which is a non-profit organization comprised of individuals using their time and money to help improve agricultural outputs in the Philippines.

Dr. Ruben L. Villareal, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) academician and former chancellor of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Banos, initiated the conduct of forum which was hosted by PCC.

“My motivation is very simple and that is to modernize Philippine agriculture. Since this is a big science community, if we attract some of you to become members of this CAMP I think we’ll be doing something great for our country. If through this forum, you will have clear understanding on biotechnology, you will be convinced to serve the country by joining the CAMP and at the same time you will apply for the science career system then I would say that our mission of coming here is not in vain,” Dr. Villareal declared.

The principal purpose of the forum was to tackle current issues on research and development (R&D) in the Philippines. Among these are: Understanding the Supreme Court Ruling on BT Eggplant and Its Implication to Biotech Programs, which was presented by Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco, NAST academician and former executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); and Modernizing the Philippine Agriculture presented by Dr. Benigno D. Pecson, CAMP president and former president of Biotech Coalition of the Philippines.

“We want to understand the Supreme Court ruling on BT eggplant because here in the Science City of Muñoz we are working on biotechnology but not necessarily on genetically modified organism (GMO) thus we want to understand the possible implication of this to our R&D program,” Dr. Del Barrio said.

Dr. Rasco’s presentation discussed the recent decision of the Supreme Court was to permanently stop research on Bt eggplant, declaring DA Administrative Order No. 8 (AO8) null and void, and temporarily stopping the whole range of activities on research, development and utilization of GMO technology. This decision, according to him, will tend to perpetuate existing hazardous practices for agricultural pest control.

Whereas, AO8 has a proven record of safe and effective use for the past 12 years. Because of AO8, the corn, livestock and poultry industries have become globally competitive, and the farmers’ incomes have increased.

“This activity will give us clear understanding on the recent issues and challenges of the R&D programs that might somehow affect the development of the agriculture industry,” Dr. Del Barrio stated.

The CAMP urges the Supreme Court to review its decision and allow Bt eggplant research to continue, considering that its assumptions are outdated and its information are based purely on ideology. The coalition also calls on the Supreme Court to allow AO8 to remain in effect until a new set of rules for GMOs is formulated so that R&D and utilization of GM technology can continue without interruption.

A quick presentation of biotechnology programs delivered by the different biotech coordinators of research agencies in the Science City of Muñoz such as PhilRice, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Central Luzon State University and PCC was also part of the forum.

Other guests who attended the forum were Dr. Calixto M. Protacio, executive director of PhilRice; Dr. Roger V. Cuyno, secretary of CAMP and former chancellor of UP Mindanao; and Dr. Libertado C. Cruz, NAST academician and former executive director of PCC.

The forum was participated in by more than 60 researchers from various research institutions in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.


KM4CBE: PCC revs up in knowledge management across network

“Over the past several years, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) only uses external knowledge management (KM) to promote its programs and services. Internal KM, on the other hand, is practiced across the network but not documented by the agency. This is why knowledge has to be explicit to fully utilize its benefits”.

This was a statement verbalized by Dr. Eric P. Palacpac, chief of PCC’s Knowledge Management Division (KMD) in his closing message during the recently held “Knowledge Management Workshop on Cross-regional Learning and Thematic Communities of Practice (CoP)” last February 15 to 17 at the Park Inn Hotel in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

Said workshop was facilitated by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) as the service provider of the agency for capability building and strengthening partnerships in Carabao Development Program (CDP).

The Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) under the CDP, one of the banner programs of the PCC, is focused on the establishment of village enterprises that promote cooperative development, participative decision-making, and harnessing the potentials of farmers for income generation.

KM4CBE or Knowledge Management for Carabao-based Enterprises is a deliberate effort of the PCC to institute a systematic documentation and use of knowledge across the PCC network.

Dr. Serafin Talisayon, the recognized “father of KM” in the Philippines, facilitated the workshop.

“KM, as defined by most of KM gurus, globally, is a knowledge that enables effective action. Knowledge is only knowledge if it is actionable by individuals or groups. KM is a very important factor if what the agency desires is to achieve its objectives the most effective and efficient way,” Dr. Talisayon said.

“Knowledge has also two forms: tacit and explicit,” he further explained, “For an institution to be more effective in implementing its target objectives, it has to perform the right combination of tacit and explicit knowledge”.

Dr. Talisayon differentiated tacit and explicit knowledge: “Tacit knowledge is unrecognized, unexpressed or undocumented knowledge while explicit knowledge is documented, encoded or recorded knowledge. Expertise, indigenous knowledge, undocumented work processes; manuals, hardware and software, are examples of tacit and explicit knowledge, respectively”.

Dr. Alexander G. Flor, Dr. Maria Celeste H. Cadiz, and Ms. Rosario Bantayan, also from SEARCA served as resource persons and workshop moderators.

Gloria Dela Cruz, center director of PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, said the KM workshop is really helpful. She committed to immediately apply KM in their current programs and services so that effective and efficient program implementation is met.

A series of other workshops on KM4CBE are scheduled this year. The next KM workshop would be on “KM Writing on Effective Knowledge Products” to be conducted in April in Batanes.

The activity was participated in by 41 PCC staff members across its regional network and headquarters.



P64M-worth PCAARRD-PCC collaborative R4D projects commence after inception meeting

Long-time research and development partners Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) begin the implementation of five projects under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-PCAARRD funding in an inception meeting held last February 10 at the PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

These projects are all under the “Enhancing Milk Production of Water Buffaloes through S&T Interventions” program that aims to improve the local dairy industry through the development and application of practical technologies and innovations.

Said inception meeting was initiated by the Livestock Research Division of PCAARRD as the program coordinator and participated by the project leaders and support staff.

The objectives, methodology, expected outputs and deliverables, and budgetary requirements of the project components were discussed.

A quick visit to a project site in San Agustin, Isabela was conducted after the said meeting to gather ideas on how potential non-government organizations (NGO) and farmer partners view the project and expect from it.

This PCC-PCAARRD collaboration ultimately aims to increase the annual milk production of purebred dairy buffaloes in the PCC National Impact Zone from 500,000 to 2,000,000 kg and of crossbred buffaloes in San Agustin, Isabela from 17,000 to 190,000 kg in the duration of program implementation.


PCC improves on accounting systems for stress-free financial reporting

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) Administrative and Finance Division (AFD) takes another step to show its transparency to the public with regard to its fund disbursement and utilization through a hassle-free financial statements preparation and reporting.

This was the expected result of the recently held, “Year-End Closing of Books and Financial Evaluation and Assessment for the Year 2015” last February 1-5 at the PCC headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

It was conducted as part of the PCC’s obligation to close its 2015 book of accounts and submit the necessary financial reports to the Commission on Audit (COA) by February 14.

The activity aimed to address some of the agency’s issues and concerns related to its accounting systems, policies, and processes such as: (1) use of a common format financial statements preparation across the PCC network, (2) standardized accounting entries for common agency transactions, and (3) common understanding on the use of enhanced electronic new government accounting system (ENGAS) and electronic budget (eBUDGET) system.

One of the most common problems encountered among the headquarters and the regional centers is the occurrence of accounts that are not reconciled.

Jean Gasmeña, officer-in-charge of the AFD, explained that the main reason is the timing difference in recording transactions. Thus, the activity is one way to help address the reconciliation of accounts.

“By doing this activity participated by all concerned personnel from the headquarters and the regional centers, we expect to manage our funds better because this is something that we owe to the public,” Gasmeña said.

Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, PCC Acting Executive Director, encouraged the participants to be pro-active in terms of suggesting new projects and programs that can increase the agency budget for the succeeding years. He added that the AFD personnel should work closely with the operating units to increase the absorptive capacity of the agency as a whole in terms of fund utilization.


DOST USec. Guevara inspires young researchers in a brief visit to the PCC headquarters

In a random visit to the agencies supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Undersecretary for Research and Development Amelia P. Guevara briefly cruised at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) National Headquarters and Gene Pool last February 5.

USec. Guevara was toured by PCC top personnel at the Milka Krem where carabao’s milk products such as mozzarella, bocconcini, kesong puti, pastillas, yoghurt and fresh milk were served in the delight of the visiting party. She was ushered thereafter to the Livestock Innovations Biotechnology Center where she was briefed about the PCC program in a video presentation and the completed and ongoing researches at PCC being funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of DOST (DOST-PCAARRD).

Through the years, PCC has been a good recipient of DOST-PCAARD’s generosity by way of research and development funded projects along genetic improvement and carabao-based enterprise development programs.

Currently, there are five ongoing projects in feeding management, breeding and genomics, and interdisciplinary (bundled) research program and one completed study in animal health and biosafety.

In her grateful appreciation to PCC’s warm hosting, USec. Guevara left a message to the young researchers of PCC: “I can see myself in you when I was just a fledgling researcher doing the same thing as you do now in your respective laboratories. As you hone your skills as researchers, do not forget about how you can contribute best to your country. You may gain experience from abroad but always make sure to come home and serve your motherland.”


Must-try products Milka Krem showcases 4 local stand out cheeses

Anyone who has already been at “Milka Krem”, the dairy products outlet of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the Science City of Munoz in Nueva Ecija, can ascertain that it has become a haven for an array of delightful, truly refreshing, and healthy products that it sells to the public.

It has products such as choco milk, fresh milk, yogurt, lacto juice, pastillas de leche, pulvoron, milkaroons and ice cream. They are made from delicious and nutritious carabaos milk supplied by the agency’s national gene pool and from the milk harvest of small-hold dairy farmers.

The dairy outlet was established to empower and support the dairy farmers in having a sure market for their milk produce. It carries the tagline “Fresh and Natural,” which is anchored on the agency’s science-based practices in developing products.

Aside from the products already mentioned, Milka Krem also offers four local cheeses that are classified as high-end.

They are Gouda cheese, Mozzarella, White cheese or the “kesong puti” and the Cream cheese.

These cheeses are worth anyone’s time in partaking them or taking them home for consumption.

Here’s how these cheeses are described and made:

Gouda cheese

According to Patrizia Camille Saturno, PCC’s Central Dairy Collection and Processing Facility (CDCF) plant manager, Gouda is a washed-curd and semi-hard kind of cheese with a creamy yellow paste made of whole ripened milk.

She said that Gouda cheese is a Dutch cheese named after a city in Netherlands. She added that it is used to be processed using cow’s milk in that country. But at PCC, she said, the Gouda cheese is produced using buffalo’s milk.

Gouda cheese, she further said, has a mild flavor and has good melting properties. She added that this type of cheese is slow to age compared to other ripened cheeses. Ripening, she explained, can be from 60 days to 6 months.

“Aged gouda is commonly used to enrich soups and sauces. It may be grated, sliced, cubed or melted and used as a table cheese or dessert cheese,” Saturno said.

She added that this cheese is available at a packing size of 100g net weight at Milka Krem at Php90 each.

She shared the how-to’s of making the gouda cheese as follows:

  • Heat the milk to about 72 to 75°C for 15 seconds and cool it toabout 43 to 45 °C;
  • Dissolve culture in small amount of milk completely and add it to the milk. Mix it for a few seconds afterwards;
  • Leave the mixture for one hour;
  • Dissolve rennet in small amount of water and add it to the milk. Mix it until incorporated;
  • Milk with added rennet will be left undisturbed for one to one and half hours for coagulation;
  • After one hour, cut the curd into squares and leave for five to ten minutes;
  • Drain the coagulum by removing the whey (30% of the total milk);
  • Add hot water (75°C, 20% of the total milk) to the curd;
  • Remove 90% of the whey;
  • Collect all the curds and press for 30 minutes under the whey;
  • After pressing, mold the curds in wheels with 3kgs each;
  • Press the curd wheels in a cheese presser for 30 mins each side;
  • Place the pressed cheese (pH 5.4-5.5) in the ripening room (12-14°C, overnight);
  • Submerge wheels into 20% brine solution at 12-14°C overnight;
  • Age for 6 months in cheese ripening room; and
  • Pack by 100g/1kg slice in a vacuum packed pouch

The procedures are applicable to any specific number of volumes of milk to be processed, she said.


Mozzarella, according to Saturno, is a type of cheese made from buffalo’s milk.

In the PCC’s CDCF, she said, three types of mozzarella cheeses are developed and sold. They are: (1) the soft-type fresh mozzarella, which has porcelain white color, lightly salted and smooth textured; (2) the pizza-type mozzarella cheese, which has low moisture content and distinguished by its unique melting and stretching characteristics; and (3) the Bocconcini, which literally means “little bites” in Italy.

Saturno said that the first type is a sweet, creamy and milky-like. It is packed with water and ideal to eat for salads and appetizers. The second, is ideal for making pizza and lasagna since it has unique melting and stretching characteristics and the third, is semi-soft, white, egg-sized, rind less, and unripened cheeses specifically used for salads and appetizers.

Saturno said that all of these mozzarella cheeses are in 125 grams net weight and are priced at Php135.

The procedures in making mozzarella are as follows:

  • Heat the milk to about 72-75°C for 15 seconds and cool it to about less than 10°;
  • Acidify the milk by adding citric acid solution to pH 5.2-5.3;
  • Heat the milk to 35 to 38°C;
  • Dissolve rennet in 100mL water for 30 to 45 minutes for coagulation;
  • Cut the curd into big cubes (about 1 to 2 square inches) and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes;
  • Drain the whey for about 1 to 2 hours;
  • Transfer the curds into stainless steel tray and slice it thinly;
  • Sprinkle salt over curd and mix it well (2.5% salt based on weight of curd);
  • Stretch the curd with hot water (85-90°C. 1.5 parts hot water per 1 part curd) until the curd is smooth and shiny;
  • Mold the stretched curd into balls (approx 125g per ball – Mozzarella Cheese) and (approx 10g per ball – Bocconcini); and
  • Submerge the mozzarella balls into a cold water

Saturno added that this procedure is applicable to any specific number or volumes of milk to be processed as mozzarella cheese.

White Cheese

The “white cheese”, meanwhile, is an authentic Philippine cheese that literally means “kesong puti”in Tagalog.

“It is a delicious soft, unripened cheese made from pure buffaloes’ milk, ” Saturno said.

According to her, white cheese is similar to the cottage cheese queso blanco and paneer as it it has almost the same texture and slightly salty taste.

Traditionally, according to Saturno, vinegar is used to coagulate the milk in order to produce kesong puti. The use of vinegar, she said, makes the product slightly sour in taste.

But at PCC, Saturno explained, rennet is used as replacement for vinegar to eliminate the sour taste.

This cheese, according to her, originated from Bulacan, Cebu, Laguna and Samar.
“Filipinos are accustomed to eating kesong puti with pan de sal or toast bread,” she added.

At Milka Krem, this product which is at 200 grams net weight, is sold at Php70 per piece.

It is processed through the following procedures:

  • Add salt to 14 kg milk;
  • Heat the milk to 72 to 75°C for 15seconds then bring down the temperature to about 40 to 45°C;
  • Dissolve rennet in small amount of water and add it to the milk. Let it stand for one to one and a half hours;
  • After coagulation, cut the curd into squares. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes;
  • Drain the whey for about one and a half to two hours; and
  • Slice the curd into 200 grams per pack

Cream Cheese

The cream cheese, Saturno explained, is a soft unripened cheese prepared from buffalo’s milk with the use of aromatic cheese culture. It has a sweet and mild taste with a slight tang.

According to Mina P. Abella, officer-in-charge of the PCC at CLSU’s dairy outlet, cream cheese may be flavored with herbs using either basil or garlic to have additional taste.

The product can also be enjoyed as dip for chips or spreads on biscuits, bagels and toasted bread.

The packaging size for this kind of cheese, according to Honeylyn Palileo, marketing officer of Milka Krem,dairy outlet, is also at 100 grams net weight and is sold at Php60 each.

Saturno shared the process of making cream cheese, which was developed by the PCC at CLSU dairy outlet:

  • Heat the cream to about 80 to 85 oC for 3 minutes and cool it to about 26 to 30 oC;
  • Dissolve the culture in the small amount of milk and add it to the milk. Mix for a few seconds after a while;
  • Leave the product overnight at room temperature;
  • Mix it to break curds using a wire whisk. Place it in a strainer, refrigerate and let it drain for about 3 to 5 hours;
  • Weigh curd and add small amount of salt and combine it well; and
  • Pack the cream cheese in sanitized container
  • “This procedure is applicable to any specific number or volumes of milk to be processed as a cream cheese,” Saturno said.

    These four local cheeses, the Milka Krem officer attested, are must-try cheese because of their respective exceptional good taste. They make snack time more rewarding due to their high-end quality taste and healthy and delectable properties.

    The Milka Krem, located along the Maharlika Highway adjacent to the PCC main headquarters is open from 8am to 9pm. Orders can be placed through the contact details below and for Metro Manila residents, the products can be picked-up at PCC’s liaison office in the 5th floor of the DCIEC Building, National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Quezon City during Saturdays.


    Honey Lyn Palileo
    Marketing Officer
    Email Address:
    Mobile Number: +639752104273
    Telephone Number: (044) 940 7826
    Location: Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija

    Patrizia Camille O. Saturno
    Dairy Plant Manager
    Email Address:
    Mobile Number: 09179235945
    Telephone Number: (044) 940 7826
    Location: Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija