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Alright, we are now on Facebook!
This is the Powerful Comics Man podcast and
this is an earlier-than-usual stream.
And I am very, very honored to be graced upon
this guest na, I mean,
I met him before the pandemic, diba?
Tapos, I've been wanting to have him on
and now is the day na nangyari yun.
Okay, so we're gonna be talking about science
and a whole lot of other stuff, geek stuff and more.
So, mag-OBB na muna tayo and then
para we can get this party started.
I am with the Powerful T.J. Dimakali.
Powerful T.J. Dimakali
Welcome to the Powerful Comics Man Podcast!
Okay, so like I said, this is an earlier than usual podcast stream and I am with a friend that I met online and then...
hindi, nauna pala yung ano no, nauna pala yung... I met in a workshop, workshop yun no?
It was a workshop before the pandemic and I actually talked to him before about inviting him on the podcast and life happened.
Mga ilang, dalawang, more than two years ang ginakausada ng COVID na yan and the lockdowns but finally here he is.
The Powerful T.J. D. Makali.
Hello, hello. Thanks for having me.
Yes. Okay, so yun, I met T.J. in a science...
hindi, actually ano yun eh, parang translating...
Yeah, translation workshop.
Translation workshop of science documents, di ba?
Yes, yes. Basically, that was an effort to translate basic write-ups on astronomy for Philippine audiences, yeah.
Which was very challenging, no?
It was very challenging, parang kasi ako sabit lang ako dun.
Di ba, parang wala naman akong credentials to be there but yung kawan-friend natin, si Julius Sempio, parang sige, sama ka, sama ka.
But, I mean, it's something that we, I personally would like to see more people engaged in kasi as far as translation of science is concerned, it's still a wide open field sa atin.
So, please tell us what you do really kasi dun sa profile mo, I saw parang, I saw your diploma, parang science news yung from MIT, okay, di ba?
So, from MIT, science news degree, or?
It's science writing.
Ah, science writing, okay. So, what, can you explain that?
Well, generally speaking, I like to be called a science communicator.
I am, I'm still a science journalist in as much as I write news about science in the Philippines and outside.
But I also, but I'd like to, but beyond that also, I'm also focused on trying to get people comfortable talking about science.
And that generally means, on the one hand, having scientists and topic experts get comfortable talking about their work to the general public.
And on the flip side is having the public, yung hindi sila na-intimidate ng science.
So, that's the, that's the communications aspect of it.
So, yeah, I've done a lot of science journalism work.
And I did, I was the founding editor of GMA News Online Science and Technology Section, which started early 2010s.
Tapos, in 2017, I left to pursue my master's degree in science writing from MIT.
Okay. Can you just, for those of us who, alam niyon, mere mortals, how can you just describe a little bit how it is to go to MIT?
What is, what is like, kasi even, even, even Spider-Man wants to be there, diba, kaya nga sila-
Well, ako, nakakatawa when people say, you know, parang, oh, galing-galing ka, MIT, and all that.
I have to say, and I hope this encourages a lot of people out there, no.
You, of course, it helps if you have good credentials, it helps if you have good grades, but those are not the be-all and tell-all of everything, no.
A lot of these schools, I, of course, I can speak only of my own experience at MIT, but even if you ask sa ibang Ivy League schools like Harvard and whatnot,
they will always tell you that the applications is a holistic process, no.
So, they don't just look at your grades, they also look at your essay.
That's probably the most important thing.
When I say personal, all of these applications have a personal essay, diba.
They'll ask you, what are you doing now?
What do you, where do you see yourself in the future?
What do you want to do with your career, right?
And also, even extracurricular activities, what interests you?
What are your passions outside of your work or outside of your school?
So, for my part, sa totoo lang, and even if it shoots me in the foot, I'll be honest, no.
My grades really weren't stellar, no.
Usually, when they say MIT, palibasa kasi, it is one of the best schools out there,
parang inisip na, oh, kailangan siguro magna cum laude ka to get in or, you know, sobrang taas nung levels mo.
Ako, I wasn't any of that, to be honest.
For one, when I graduated college, I didn't, I wasn't even cum laude.
I didn't have any Latin honors, and all I had really was, you know, I put my nose to the grindstone, as it were,
and for many years, basta sulat lang ako ng sulat.
And when I found myself doing science communication, science journalism at GMA, yun, I worked really hard on that.
And that's what I put into my application.
And the funny thing was, when I did apply, I really didn't think I would get in.
I was actually, I actually applied because I wanted to be rejected.
Oo. Kasi parang, alam mo yun, yung, nung ina-assess ko, yung chances, no way they're accepting me.
Why would you want to be rejected?
Parang ano, parang, alam mo yun, parang may closure, kumbaga parang just so finality.
If I received, I felt that if, when I received a rejection letter, that's it.
Parang hindi ko na siya iisipin pa.
It's a closed thing na, okay, soundly I was rejected.
But the long, oh yeah, another thing, before I continue on that, there's a test that, at least for graduate level,
there's called the GRE, the Graduate Record Exam, na parang it's not necessarily an entrance exam,
but you have to submit your scores before your, along with your application to grad school, diba?
And even there, mediocre lang yung, yung scores ko, they weren't the highest.
So anyway, yun, mas layo talaga sabi ko, pag naglayo dito, they won't accept me.
Pero I just sent it in.
And then I remember fondly, 1am, which is 1pm in Boston, where they're headed,
tumunog yung phone ko, nagalit pa ako, sabi ko, ano to, spam or something.
And surprise, it was acceptance letter.
So, for me, what that showed me was that, ano, parang, and this is also something that I found out also,
once I was there and I met so many Filipinos there, the Filipino community.
Pag nandito tayo, before you go through those hurdles of applications and whatnot,
parang ang daling tumingala sa mga tao na nandun na, yung nakarabot na.
Parang, wow, Harvard, wow, MIT, parang ang talina mo, di kita maabot.
But when you see the people there, they're just really, you know, very down-to-earth, normal people, hardworking people.
And, yun, I like to tell people, I like to say when I give talks about science communications,
to people who are aspiring to study abroad,
I personally cannot guarantee that you'll get into MIT or Harvard or any Ivy League school,
but I am certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your listeners right now, and anyone who wants to apply,
you are more qualified than you think you are.
But, so what makes you, what is it that you think, kung ganun yung mediocre yung tigil mo sa sarili mo, tapos bakit ka nakuha?
Kasi I think, well actually I asked them that when I got in.
Sabi ko, ano, how was it? Sabi nila sa akin,
yes, your grades are part of what we assess, sabi sa akin noong selection kami,
but it's just one facet of the entire application.
Ang hinihanap nila is people who will be a good fit, quote-unquote, with the community.
And when you think about it, when you put yourself in the shoes of these people, it makes sense, no?
Kasi unang-una, first of all, of course, kunwari ikaw, tayo, putting yourself there,
okay, I am going to accept these students and probably because they are from a third world country,
they need, you know, they need a subsidy about, we're going to, essentially, we're going to invest in them.
So the question then becomes is, will it be a good investment?
Will they be able to do good with the resources that we want to give them in terms of schooling,
in terms of our funding, partially or entirely, depending on how far you go with your education.
That, and also, if we're putting them, of course, when you're accepted into any program,
you're not just the only person there. Grupo kayo, di ba?
So will they be able to function together? Will they be able to work together?
Will they, so these are factors that they consider.
So in my case, naman, yun, I mean, I think, I'd like to think what sold them on me was,
because talaga, I was really passionate, sabi ko,
I'm really passionate about science communications in my home country, sabi ko,
and it's something that I love talking about, love doing,
and I feel that coming to MIT would help me pursue that even further.
So very, it's true, that's how I saw it, sabi ko.
And this wanting to do science communication, wanting to promote Philippine science,
is something that I was and still am very passionate about.
So even when I applied, nalang kong, at least I thought at the time na hindi ako matatanggap,
it was not, hindi yun pambobola sa akin, sabi ko, ito talagang gusto ko, so okay lang kung,
that is what is in the back of my mind, okay lang, i-reject nyo ako,
but this is really what I want to do.
And I'm thankful to them that they saw the value of that at tinanggap naman nila ako.
But last question about MIT, how about the campus?
Kasi parang, in pop culture, parang napaka-high tech ng MIT, di ba?
Anong itsura, may mga ano ba doon, parang mga, tawag doon, na parang si Tony Stark?
I'm so glad, alam mo, I'm so glad you asked, because it is really a geek haven.
I don't know, I don't know if that was also one of the reasons why they thought I'd be a good fit there,
pero sobrang nag-geek out ako doon, kasi...
Like, what are the things that you can see at MIT?
For one thing, ito pa lang, mga one or two days na parang ako nandun,
dumating ako, I moved into the dormitory.
One or two days after, bagong-bago pa lang ako doon, I was walking down the street,
tapos may nakita akong guy na naka-coat and tie siya, but his legs were mechanical.
As in, he was very proud of it, he was walking down the street, pero yung laylayan ng pantalon niya,
naka-roll up, so you could see his legs were bionic.
And then it was only later that I found out, he was, I forgot his first name, Dr. Herr,
H-U-G-H-E-R-R, Hugh Herr, you can Google him, it turns out he is a professor of biomechanics,
I think, in biomechatronics at MIT, and he lost his legs many years ago in a mountaineering accident.
Pero ang sabi niya, and this is all just I read after the fact, after I saw him on the street na,
he didn't see it as a hindrance to him, he saw it as a way to improve himself too.
So what his lab does now is they create bionic legs for the US military and other athletes and other people.
So, and he's done a TED Talk, you can Google him now, he's got a TED Talk out there talking about
how that accident actually inspired him and his work.
But this is just one facet, parang napawala lang, parang naglalakad ka sa kalsada,
sabi ko, uy, mayroon kayo.
Or another time, like, all of these shots of publicity photos of the campus, di ba,
this green field with a large dome, di ba, that's called Killian Court.
Funny thing is, ano yan eh, generally, students don't cross it, it's just a green field na minsan nakinatamba yan,
ganyan, but most of the time when people go from class to class, indoors sila dumadan or elsewhere,
But anyway, sometimes you would see robots moving around, tinetesting doon.
From Boston Dynamics?
Actually, I had the pleasure,
Boston Dynamics, at one point, even had a symposium of sorts in the campus.
A lot of the key people at Boston Dynamics were also from MIT, actually.
Did you see the dog in person?
Yes, yes, I saw the dog.
I have a photo of it somewhere.
How impressive is it in real life compared to?
Very impressive sya, kasi sobrang dynamic sya talaga.
When you, what you see in the publicity photos and publicity videos, yun yun.
Hindi sya, hindi sya photoshopped, hindi sya manipulated.
It's really capable of all of these movements.
So, sobrang galing nga.
But going back to your first question, you know, what's it like studying?
Yung sobrang nakagulat, nakakatuwa na, parang it's just a normal thing for them.
Uy, there's a high-tech robot on the lawn moving across, ganyan.
How about the classroom?
What is your blackboard over there?
Funny thing is, there are normal blackboards.
Hindi naman sila high-tech.
Although for policy, if you guys have watched movies that feature the campus,
bawal kasing kunan yung loob ng classrooms.
And I think, I'm not sure if the hallways din bawal.
But the outside are okay.
Which is why when you see MIT depicted in movies and on TV,
yung naikita mo sa labas, totoo yun.
But like say in, what was this movie?
Umabas ang MIT, si Matt Damon, diba?
Your audience would probably know this.
But anyway, when they show the interiors, when they show the hallway and the classrooms,
ibang lugar yun kasi bawal picture niya.
But yun, a lot of the classrooms, most of the classrooms are pretty much
down-to-earth, chalkboard, whiteboard, sliding.
Nothing really fancy.
How about the professors?
Do they really, parang wow, ang talina?
Well, of course, MIT being what it is, it's home to more than a dozen Nobel laureates.
As a matter of fact, while I was there,
I had the pleasure of meeting yung Nobel laureate for 2018, yata, who won the joint
Nobel for physics because of the gravitational waves.
He's a professor there.
Tapos nagkataon na kaibigan nung professor namin in writing.
So she invited him one day to the class.
It's like meeting a rock star talaga.
And personally, on a personal note din, kahit hindi Nobel laureate, but maybe your audience
members who are literature majors or readers, they would probably know Alan Lightman.
Alan Lightman is a physicist at MIT.
He also wrote this very, very beautiful book, Einstein's Dreams,
which is basically, the premise of the book is each chapter is a dream that Einstein had
while in the weeks and days as he was devising the general theory of relativity.
So, sobrang ganda nung pagkakasulitin.
As a matter of fact, that's also one of the reasons why I was in love with MIT.
And I will always be glad and honored that I had the pleasure to meet him.
And naging professor pa namin siya.
But anyway, what I think what's interesting about Alan Lightman is he is a professor there
of science technology and society and also of science writing.
And yeah, he's just there.
Of course, you have other luminaries, Noam Chomsky, for instance.
I didn't have the pleasure of meeting him kasi matanda na siya, bihira na siya pumunta
dun, although I do know some younger people, some who are more fortunate, like I know,
I have a friend na nag-undergrad siya from PISAI, dumireto siya sa undergraduate sa MIT,
which is, which is much more amazing, which is much more amazing feat, of course, kasi
pag-undergrad ka, syempre ang kalaban mo buong mundo yung pagpasok mo dun.
Plus, yun, it's much more stringent.
Pero yun, he had the pleasure of having Noam Chomsky, I think, as a professor.
And yun, naku-quint, parang when you hear my friend talk about it, parang normal lang,
oh yeah, we talked to him and whatnot.
Yeah, and that's what's really cool about places like this where, ano eh, when you meet
the people, they're just really passionate about research, about their work, and hindi
sila mayabang, wala silang air of, oh, I'm smarter than you, or ano, ganyan.
One of the things that is interesting there, and miski ako, nahirapan ako,
graduate na ako lang, nahirapan pa rin ako, is, ano eh, wala silang deferential culture.
You always, even the professors, first name basis kayo, Alan, I mean, like, I wouldn't
call him Sir Alan.
I would, actually, off the back of my head, but we just call him, oh, Alan, Alan has
this assignment for us, or have you submitted your thing to us.
Parang, parang ganoon diba, oy, Alan Chong!
You know, pero ganoon eh, first name basis sila, basis ng professor.
Well, ganoon man talaga, ganoon yung kultura sa U.S. eh, diba, yung American, kahit
din sa mga call centers, nakasabi yun eh, diba.
But yeah, I'll just end by saying that MIT is geek central, sobrang fine, it even has
a science fiction library.
Science fiction and fantasy library that has the publications as far back as the early
1900s pa, and then there are all sorts of classes that you can take.
There's even a glass blowing class, there's a metal working.
Glass blowing class?
Oo, every year, yung products ng class, gumagawa sila ng mga glass pump case, which
they sell, and I really wanted to buy one as a souvenir, pero kinabano, baka mabasag
on the way home, so hindi na ako bumili.
Pero ang dami lang ganoon.
And they're so geeky in fact that, ano, yung PE classes nila, if you take three, if
I remember it's three specific classes eh, if you take swimming, boating, or sailing,
and ano, apat, if I remember correctly, sailing, swordsmanship, or sword fighting, and archery
I think, if you take all those four, you get a pirate certificate.
Oo, seryoso yun ah, kasi bibilihan ka talaga, MIT, with signature and everything, as a
pirate, pirate certificate.
Ganon sila kag-geeky.
Well, yun naman talaga eh, the most conducive to learning na situation would be parang,
Play is still the best way to learn.
The, ano, they have a saying, sabi nila, studying at MIT is like drinking through a
Because you're exposed to all of this information, all of these classes, everything.
Since, kung papayaan mo sayo mo, malilunad ka.
But it's there, it's a fire, parang nakatutok sayo yung fire hose.
It's up to you how to drink that up.
And yun, miski ako, sobrang natulala ko.
It reached a point where, inupo talaga ako nung program director namin, sabi, you know,
you have just a year to finish this course on a scholarship.
You have to finish this, sabi ko.
So, I had to drop out of some of the electives that I took.
Pero sobrang to, there's even a comic book writing course.
There's game development and design courses where they teach you how to make games, board,
not just video games, board games and whatnot.
There are even courses on the philosophy of games.
There's one professor there who talks about how video games affect, influence society
Ang daming ganun.
So many, so many courses to choose from.
Yeah, kasi a lot of developments, nung mga scientific developments, especially in the
last century, were just science fiction when they started.
Diba, parang yung mga Jules Verne, diba?
So, papumunta tayo sa moon, diba?
Sakay tayo ng rocket, diba?
Tapos, people just trying to make the fiction reality, diba?
So, the more fiction you can come up with, probably the more absurd.
Which is, exactly, which is why it's so fascinating for me.
Yung interface between science fiction and actual science.
Because they, actually, it's a two-way street.
They inform each other.
So, we are familiar with that.
And actually, there are studies that have shown, there was a survey conducted by the
American Association for the Advancement of Science.
I think this was in 2017 or 2018.
Tinanong yung mga scientists sa US, what got you into science?
And I think 60 plus percent said that they were inspired by TV shows and fiction that
Star Trek, Star Wars, whatever, natuwa sila.
And so, that inspired them, their curiosity, which led them to scientific career.
So, we're already familiar with that.
And then, of course, if you see it online, mga gabing sinasabi na, oh, you know, cell
phones look a lot like the communicators on Star Trek and whatnot.
So, familiar tayo dun sa how science fiction helps science fact.
But one thing that's not talked much about is how the other way around, how science can
help inform science fiction and art in general.
So, one of the earliest ways that this has happened that we've seen historically is
the advent of photography, right?
So, when photography came out, it's scientific in the sense, technologically, specifically,
You finally develop a, pun intended, a way to capture light on paper, right?
So, at the time that photography came out in the 1800s, there was concern na, oh, baka
mapektuhan yung, ano, yung mga painters, ganyan, yung mga artists, visual artists,
mawawalan sila ng trabaho, ganyan.
Kasi, of course, ano eh, bakit ka maghihirap na magdodrawing or magpipaint, pero isang
pitik lang, na-capture na in its full essence, yung actual na nasa harap mo, di ba?
But as we've seen, obviously, that wasn't the case, no?
What happened was, they became complementary, and as a matter of fact, one informs the
We've seen, we've seen how, how on the one hand, a lot of visual techniques in painting
have been influenced by, by photography, di ba?
Off the top of my head, you can think of, and you can Google this, yung nude descending
a staircase ni, ni Picasso, which, which is basically this image of a woman in various
stages moving down the stairs, which looks a lot like a multi-frame photo, di ba?
Na, which, which hearkens back to Edward Muy Bridge, Bridges' work, et cetera.
But, yun, so they inform, they help inform each other.
Photography has helped push the boundaries of what artists, visual artists are doing,
and also, it feeds back also, na kung ano yung mga, like, we see that now, di ba,
with, with artificial intelligence, how you have this AI now that bigyan mo ng prompt,
Nauso yun lately, di ba?
Google Art, hindi, nakita ko.
Merong, merong, merong, merong ngayon na, ano yun, lately, eh.
Last few weeks, di ba?
I forget the, the name what it's called.
Oo, but see, where, where visual artists are actually, naingganyo sila, because a lot
of the, my friends who are visual artists are saying na, nakaka-inspire siya, because
sometimes they need a creative peg, or they need to, to help, something to help them
visualize it further, so.
They type it in, and then it pops up.
So, so there's that.
Going back to MIT also, for instance, what I find very interesting there, and what I
would like to see also replicated here, is, so, MIT is largely, mostly known for, obviously,
It pushes the boundaries of, of, of engineering technology.
They come out with all sorts of new materials, all sorts of new devices, what not, di ba?
But one of the things they do is, okay, here is, say, a new nanomaterial with exotic
They would bring in an artist and say, okay, here's what we've got, what kind of art can
you make with this?
And then, yeah, sure enough, they would, siyempre, the, the artist is free to play
They would sometimes figure out, okay, if you put it in this certain way, and then,
natamaan siya ng ilaw, ganito yung itsura niya, or, or maybe the way it stretches, it,
it, it has a kind of feel to it, ganyan.
So, they would collaborate with artists this way, and they have a museum where these are
Yeah, so, it's, it's so underrated how, kasi something na, yung isang anecdote na naalala
ko is, ano eh, yung kay, when Faraday invented, I think, whatever it is, that, yung motor
ata, yung, ah, tawag doon, yung, yung electric motor.
So, may ikot-ikot na siya, diba, napapaikot-ikot na, kasi dati nag-e-stock lang siya, daw
siya doon sa isang, ano, basta hindi niya ginagawa yung continuous revolution ng pag-ikot
Tapos, nung, it took him, kubaga, napaka tagal, kubaga, to figure it out, kung paano
So, nung pinakita niya yun, dun sa, authorities, kung sino ma, I, I forget the details.
So, it's, to them, it's just, ano eh, practically a toy, ano yan, so, ang gagawin, ang tinanong
sa kanya, so, okay, so, ano yan, what are we gonna do with it, ang sagot ni Michael
Faraday, so, I don't know, but one day, you're gonna tax it.
Diba, one day, you're gonna tax it.
So, it, it would take a creative mind to figure out, anong gagawin ko dito, ah, pagnilagay
ko siguro sa, pag nilagyan ko pala ng Ellys, ito pwede maging electric fan.
Pag, pag nilakasan natin, magiging, dalakasan motor, pwede maging motor ng mga barko,
o kung ano, ano, diba?
Interesting about, thank you for mentioning Michael Faraday, because he was one of, that
particular period in, in history, it's very interesting, up until the late 1800s, no,
ito yung panahon na, just like, Faraday was, ano, was a tinkerer, a lot of the things that
he developed were in his garage, and even as late as the Wright brothers, diba, which was
already early 20th century, 1900s, diba, na, all of these people, these inventors, what
they had in common was, they could go into their garage, you know, okay, I want to make
this, I think I can make a better, whatever, I can make people fly, or I can make something,
may idea, magbubuting-ting sila sa bahay, diba, tas gagawa sila, and then, through trial
and error, they could refine it, no?
You didn't have to be super specialized, you didn't have to have a PhD in, in, in physics
or something, you, you go into your, ano, and then tinker, diba?
So, this is something that is still valuable today.
Of course, a little bit more, it's a little bit harder these days, kasi, first of all,
of course, since that time, no, sobrang lawak na nung agham, no, andami nang nade-discover,
which is a good thing, of course, but it's now much more difficult for a person to have
a, a sense of the landscape of, of everything, diba?
Gone are the days na merong kang genius na alam niya lahat ng kayang alamin ng tao
sa buong mundo, no?
So, specialization is important and valuable these days, plus, of course, especially like,
say, electronics, for instance, because it's become more advanced, mahirap magbuting ting,
you mean, I remember as a kid, diba, yung, and probably you had similar experience, diba,
like, ano, you like this certain toy, curious ka, how does it work, babaklasin mo, you'll
figure out, oh, ganito pala yan, pagpindot mo to, may lever pala, ganito yung nangyari,
It becomes increasingly difficult because if you look at toys these days, they're miniaturized,
electronics miniaturized, they are essentially, figuratively and literally, black boxes, diba?
Pagbukas mo na, isang microchip, isang solid microchip na lang yung nandun.
So, it's really hard to figure out.
That said, no, the good thing, the good thing is, uh, that's why in the U.S. it's a big
Di sa Pilipinas, we already have our own, uh, enthusiasts, mga, uh, tinkers, mga makers,
diba, that's the, that's the term for, uh, that's the, that's the popular term for
them, mga makers na, um, when I, I, I have an idea of something I'd like to do, um, I,
I, I go to my community and, uy, may alam ko bang circuit na para dito, or, or maybe
some kind of, um, pwede kong i-3D print na something to help with this task, ganyan,
So, that's something that I think is worth cultivating now, which jumps right back to
that idea of, of science and art and popular culture.
Where, uh, one of the ways that we can jumpstart interest in science is two things.
One is that, I don't know, help bridge the gap between, help bridge the gap between
science and, uh, and art, no?
Um, not just having, having a scientific discovery, something abstract that's out
there, but something that people can, uh, not just relate to, but also play around with
and in, in artistic ways, ganyan.
And also making it something that people can get their hands dirty on, you know, something
that, na pwede mong buting, buting tingin, uh, something that, that, kasi ano yun eh,
madalas kasi iniisip natin even in school, diba?
Parang, anong silbi niyan?
Magagamit ko ba yan?
Uh, but once people, once you, you, you experience that, na okay, through this, through the
scientific process and through this discovery that other people made, kaya ko palang isolve
yung problems, or I can make something that does something that I really want, diba?
It, it, it's very empowering, eh.
It's, uh, yung, yung isang naisip ko dyan is, uh, um, uh, I just thought, I just thought
Parang, with the, uh, beyond awesome technology that we have right now, kumbaga, everybody
essentially has access, even young kids can figure it out, as, er, as young as two years
old, diba? Nakakapag-iPad din, iba eh, three years old, diba?
Uh, but then again, how many of us really know how, really know how an iPad works, diba?
Parang, okay, do you think, is it, kumbaga, parang we are going, uh, growing, uh, every
year much and much more dependent on these technology without even knowing what it actually
Do you think it is, uh, there's a little bit of problem in that, or?
Well, yes, to a certain extent, there is, ano?
Kasi, um, half and half, no?
On the one hand, it doesn't necessarily, it's a, no, on the one hand, it is a problem,
kasi ang tendency noon is you, you rely on the technology without really understanding
And for most of the time, for a consumer product, that's out of sight, out of mind, kasi
pag nasira, papaayos mo, right?
Uh, or, or just buy a new one, baglang bago, diba?
Um, but it could be, if handled properly, it could be a jump off point towards curiosity
and towards understanding.
And yun nga, medyo difficult, kasi, of course, for you to understand how an iPad works,
you'd need to go through, actually, almost historically, ah, diba?
Ano yung, ano yung, ano yung laman niya?
Kung nga, okay, microchips.
And what is a microchip?
Ano yung history ng microchips?
So there is a little bit of involve, involvement there.
It's not, ah, these aren't questions that you can answer immediately.
But which brings us all the way back to science communications and science education, STEM
Kasi, ah, once you get, get, not just kids, no?
People engaged in, ano, in, in understanding the basic concepts, that builds up, eh.
That builds up to, even if, for instance, ako, for instance, di naman ako electronics
Good luck sakin if I wanted to repair an iPad, diba?
But even the basics, like, okay, hindi gumagana yung, ano, yung USB port niya.
Medyo maluwag yung, ano, yung kable.
Kaya ko ba itong ayusin?
Baka kaya ko pang ayusin, diba?
So, so there, there are those levels where you're not, number one, as a consumer, you're
not completely helpless.
And secondly, more on the topic of being a consumer, maganda na iangat natin yung sarili
natin on a personal and social level na hindi lang tayo consumers of technology.
Because that's what we've been all this time, eh.
Most of the technologies that we have, have, are, are developed overseas.
Tapos, consumer, kasi, yun, yun, they're brought to us and ginagamit natin sila without
understanding the, the innards in it.
But why do we need to understand?
First of all, it helps us because that means we're not helpless pag nasira yan, diba?
Kasi one way of thinking about it is if you know how to repair an iPad, you've got a
If you know how to repair cellphones, may pangkabuhayan ka na, diba?
That other people don't.
But also, more importantly, and thinking long-term, is if you have people who are accustomed
to thinking about technology in this way, okay?
As in actively thinking na, okay, bagong teknolohiya to, how does it work?
How does this, how does this affect me as a consumer and people around me?
Then that paves the way towards, first of all, adapting the technology to better suit
you as a person and your culture and your, your society.
And also, eventually, trying, making your own technology, developing your own technology
for your own use.
Nakita mo ba yung ano, yung TED Talk?
There's a TED Talk of this guy who from scratch created, what's it called, a toaster, diba?
So, from scratch, talagang, I'm gonna make a toaster and see what, kasi you can buy it
for 500 pesos, may mga mumurahing toaster, diba?
So, from scratch talaga, wala siyang, hindi siya bibili.
So, from the, from the metal casing, from to the heating elements of it, ginawa niya,
pati dun sa cordon, sa plug, basta lahat ng what incorporates a toaster, he will recreate
And, syempre, you can buy it for, let's say, 500.
Umabot siya ng, hindi ko alam kung 100,000 dollars, ganun?
I haven't seen this.
No, no, maybe, pero it's far more, far more, it's far more expensive than, ano, than
just buying it, going, going to the mall and buying.
Kasi ang ginawa niya, pumunta pa siya sa, sa iba't ibang states, dun sa may mga nagmimina
ng mga copper, para dun sa mga wires, diba?
Ganun ginawa niya.
To be fair naman, syempre, hindi naman natin sinasabing na lahat kailangan, ganoon, diba?
I have an interesting anecdote, funny thing is, I have a, I have a cousin who was studying
And one of the things that you, one of the essentials of a musician, of course, is a
Eh magkano lang yung metronome, diba?
500 pesos lang, even cheaper if you buy it from JB Music or wherever.
Eh yung tatay niya, electronics enthusiast, sabi, ba't ako bibili?
Agawan lang kita.
I mean, to be fair, it worked, but because it was homemade, it was just a knob and, and
a light and a speaker, parang napaka-un-gainly.
Samantalang, syempre, pag bumuli ka nung store-bought, mas compact, mas madaling bit-to
Sabi, bumuli ako, I just gave her one of my extras, ayun, sa'yo na lang, mga kaawa ko naman.
I mean, basically, the point simply is, yeah, of course, it's sometimes practical, and most
of the time, it's practical to just buy something off the shelf.
Pero, ano din eh, there is an extremes yan eh.
Extreme din masyado yung super consumer ka na wala ka na, parang wala ka nang pakialam
kung paano gumagalaw ng mundo, wala ka nang pakialam sa mga bagay, eh kasi nababibili mo
lang at magagamit mo, diba?
That's too much of an extreme.
It pays to be curious naman.
In the same way, for instance, like, like a car, for instance, or if you're, if you're,
uh, if you use computers, for instance, diba, it helps to know, there's a practical side
to it, but it helps you to know how, what, how your car works.
It helps to know how to set up a computer, even if you're not going to do it.
Kasi, if nothing else, pag nasira yun, at pakialam mo replace, hindi ka mautakan nung
ano, nagbebenta sa'yo, diba?
Yes, and also, a car is, it, it is a car, collectively, pero it is also a wheel, diba?
So, yung paggawa ng wheel, yung wheels na yan, it's an entire industry of its own,
So, I, what I'm, siguro ang point ko lang is, sometimes we consume these readily available
products and think it's just something that pops on the shelves of stores, diba?
And that, it takes literally thousands and thousands of people for you to be able to
buy a car, and millennia worth of collective knowledge na inipo natin, diba?
Kasi, doon palang sa paggano, pag, pag figure out nung mga, nung mga cogs dyan, diba?
Differentials and what not.
Ano din yun, ano, hindi, the funny thing is, hindi rin totoo na, it's not true that Filipinos
are not technically inclined.
Pag gusto natin, ginagawa natin, case in point, yun, mga kotse.
Or even like yung mga nagre-race sa kalsada.
When you talk to any enthusiast dito, diba?
They'll be able to tell you about the minute details of their vehicles, diba?
Down to the fuel, the kinds of tires they use, ganyan.
This is all engineering, diba?
Pero hindi nila naisip na engineering siya.
Because they're just really, really engaged.
They love what they're doing and their goal is to either be the best at what they do
or just to win races or whatever.
Or right at home, diba?
Setting up PCs, diba?
The whole PC modding community, diba?
Sobrang, ano, makulit na people will tell you in the community, parang, oh this processor
is better than this one, or this configuration will do this better than, it's faster and
So all of this technical discussion, this is already practical science.
Hindi lang natin siya nakikita as part of a larger whole.
If you pull back and look at it from a long-distance lens, nakikita natin na people, Filipinos
specifically, can be interested in science and technology specifically, engineering,
Hindi lang natin na-realize na that's the tip of that iceberg.
So let's move naman to science writing.
What kind of, what is it exactly, science writing?
So are you a journalist?
So do you write about science news or researches or what?
Madala, although nag-overlap, diba?
But I would say generally, science journalism, which I do, is a subset of science communications
As a science journalist, as the name implies, you are a journalist who happens to focus
specifically on science issues.
So when you undertake that process, of course, you have to be analytical to a certain degree,
skeptical of things that pass through you, right?
Beyond that also, communication in general, when you say science communication in general,
it goes beyond science journalism because you're talking about things that are already
established that are not necessarily news per se or not even newsworthy per se, but
are essential to talk about, diba?
Like basic science, things like, for instance, people like Neil deGrasse Tyson.
There are lots of TikTok people, incidentally, who see Green, diba?
See, when they talk about issues, sometimes, of course, they talk about issues that are
in the news, like say COVID, for instance, but generally, they will talk about basic
So this is the larger part of it, science communications, bringing these concepts which
to a lot of people might seem complicated or intimidating and making them interesting
and engaging to a popular audience of people who are not necessarily scientists.
Mas madaling maintindihan.
At saka, science communications is, I think, a very good meeting ground between the scientists,
the topic experts per se, and the general public.
Kasi what I find very uplifting is that there are lots of people who are fascinated by science,
but they don't see themselves as scientists, but they still want to be engaged somehow.
So science communication is a great way to look at that.
Recently, just a few days ago, I had the pleasure of speaking at an event, the Space
Camp, hosted by the Philippine Space Agency, or FILSA.
One of the things that I found out in my research for my talk, which was surprising,
but in a very good way, was that Filipinos are very interested in space science.
Hang on, let me just ask a few questions.
So, sino yung nag-organize nung talk na yun?
Oh, it's the Philippine Space Agency.
It is, I'm not that familiar, it is like a government?
Yes, the FILSA is a government agency that is directly under the office of the president.
No, it's an independent agency.
The idea of FILSA is, of course, to develop our capability for space science,
and by space science, we can talk about this later.
So, commission siya, basically, or not really?
So, parang, diba sa U.S., gumawa sila ng… ay, hindi.
It is the equivalent of NASA.
It is no less than the Philippine equivalent of NASA.
That said, and we can talk about this later,
it doesn't necessarily mean that we're bringing people to space, not yet.
We need to develop satellites, and that's important, especially in the Philippine context.
Kasi, dahil sa lahat ng, because it's an archipelago,
andaming bagyong dumarating, and of course, climate change, whatnot.
Right now, all of the data that we get is from satellites that are owned by other countries.
So, even if some of that data is free, or merong some kind of ex-deal, or whatnot,
mas mainam na meron tayong sariling satellites,
because precisely because these are international satellites,
hati-hati kayo sa ibang bansa.
So, if someone else is using the data, or some such,
you won't be able to look at the Philippines rightly.
So, imagine if we develop a satellite that is geosynchronous, kung wari, at 24-7,
na nakatutok sa Pilipinas.
Oh, wala ba? Kala ko yung mga, yung lagi kong sinasabi,
yung ginagamit ni Julius Sempio para mamboso eh.
Sa'yo kasi mamboboso, professional mamboboso siya.
But these are satellites that we get information from.
They circle the Earth on periodic orbits,
which means there are times of the day na hindi mo kita ang Pilipinas.
Kala ko siya naka-geo, ano tawag ito?
Tapos ang mahal pala nung, diba, nung pag binibili mo kada image.
Although there are some naman, like the U.S. satellites
are free for use by the public.
But still, you know, these are, nakikiangkas kayo.
So it would be nice if we had to develop our own.
Yeah, of course, it's always better.
Plus, plus the fact that the Philippines, because of our location,
is one of the best places to launch rockets into space.
Yun yung hindi natin.
Kasi, ano yun eh, you can, you can use our,
of course they always use rockets to push it into space, diba?
But the closer to the equator you are,
mas magagamit mo yung ikot ng mundo para ihagis yung rocket.
So relatively, the less fuel is needed.
Plus, it's also, it's also important na yung paghahagisan mo ng rocket
as it goes up into orbit.
If something goes wrong, of course it has to, ideally,
oh no, hindi ideally, talagang kailangan na hindi siya babagsak sa lugar na may tao.
So ang hinahanap lagi is a place that is surrounded to the east by water.
That's why I look at the launch one sa Cape Canaveral,
ganyan sa Florida, diba, sa U.S., diba?
These are all on the east coast, precisely because
pag lumipad yung shuttle or yung rocket,
kung may mangyari, or even when, like say the rocket boosters ng shuttle,
pag nalaglag, they fall into the ocean.
Tsaka nearest sa equator yung, ano, yung,
Yung, yung sa, yung Cape Canaveral, diba?
Relative to them.
Oo, but, but the, the, the, the, the, ideally,
the closest, talagang nasa equator.
And the Philippines is one of the few places where those two criteria are met.
Malapit ka sa equator, tapos, ano, ang kaharap mo, dagat.
So giba ina yung Balesin.
Balesin, nandan yun eh, sakto pa lang ano, diba?
I had the, I had the pleasure also of talking recently to Dr. Rojel Cese,
who was one of the architects of the Philippine Space Program.
And a desired guest, I may add.
So Dr. Cese, let's, please, let's make the episode happen.
Dr. Cese, let's, ano, sige.
But, yun, so I had the pleasure of talking to him recently.
And sabi ko, parang, kasi he's also the one who explained to me
why the Philippines is such a, an ideal place.
Sabi ko, pero okay, pero hindi ba mahal
mag-set up ng launch facility?
Sabi niya, hindi.
Sabi niya, kasi it's like, it's just like an airport.
You build an airport, and the planes will come.
You don't build the planes, diba?
Sabi niya, oo nga, ano, that makes sense.
And then he showed me places around the world.
He pointed in particular to New Zealand, New Zealand launch facility na,
based on the photos, napakalit lang na bagay.
Parang siyang, parang siyang school campus lang.
Probably, I, I, of course, I didn't, I just saw photos.
Pero ang liit lang nung launch facility.
And it was just a launch pad and some roads leading to,
to housing facility, to, ano, to, to warehouse or whatnot.
But anyway, ang punto nga niya was, it's cheap to build a launch facility.
Tapos yung rockets mo, sabi niya, ibang bansa yung magpaprovide.
Ang mahalaga sa kanila is finding, kasi other countries have
Yeah, kasi other countries have already designed and built advanced rockets.
And they're looking for ideal places to launch them from.
So just like an airport, if you build it, they'll come.
Basically, parang you can rent it out.
And that jumps off to, that jumps off to a lot of things.
Of course, that, that means income for the country.
Livelihoods for the people in the area.
Because you will need people to maintain the structures and,
and maintain the facility, diba?
So it's a win-win for everyone, you know?
If we have our own facility, that would make it cheaper for us to build,
to design and launch our own satellites.
Pagkakitaan pa, posibleng pagkakitaan pa ng gobyerno.
Was it, would you know when this idea of having a Philippines-based agency started?
Anong, matagal na ba yan, o parang nabin-bin lang na project?
See, I, I give a lot of this credit to Dr. Sese.
And I do know that it was something that was on his mind in early 2010s pa lang.
But certainly, you know, even before then, I'm, I don't know for certain,
but I'm not, I would be surprised actually if no one out there thought of it.
Pero I can also understand that it's not something that we've looked at
because it seems daunting, diba?
Like katulad nyan, ako, that was, that was a relatively recent aha moment for me.
O nga, parang siyang airport.
Kasi parang pinisip ko, when you think of a space launch facility,
parang isip mo, ah, napaka-high-tech niyan, kailangan.
We don't have those technology, we don't have that capability.
But when he pointed it out, na, hindi, yung paglatag ng konkreto at sensor to,
o nga, no, yeah, that makes sense.
Yeah, kasi I think isang problema, even I am, ano, I'm parang guilty of this, na parang,
hindi, pang third world tayo eh.
Hindi tayo, hindi tayo, hindi pang, hindi pang space age.
Yun nga, ano, diba, yung nagkaroon tayo ng satellite, yung mga diwata.
Parang wow, parang nung una kong narinig yun, parang it's, parang wow, ang galing naman.
Diba, finally, tapos makita mo, ang liit lang pala nun, diba?
Tapos parang, pero parang, it's a, it's like, parang mahirap ka tapos biglang meron kang magandang cellphone.
Diba, parang ganun yung dating eh, na parang, parang hindi ka mangangarap ng ano,
hindi ka mangangarap ng magka-iPhone ka, diba, tapos biglang meron kang iPhone, bigla.
Pero yung maliit na pinak-lumang model, diba, parang ganun.
Ang ano kasi, the space program, which is what's interesting about this,
because there are several levels that it is useful if not, and needed, so it's useful and needed.
First of all, as we mentioned before, meron tayong, we need to have our own capabilities.
Kasi may magpag-iwanan tayo.
It's a fact that Southeast Asia, and Dr. Cesar I'm sure would probably slap me on the head
because I don't have this data on the top of my head, he does, and Philza does.
But it's a fact that Southeast Asia, many of the countries in Southeast Asia are far advanced already in terms of their technological capabilities.
India pa lang, alam natin.
Do you think it's also in the mindset?
Kasi I'm a science fiction writer na, and I still think like this as a Filipino,
na parang we are not worthy, parang may ganun na, not really, in a way lang, not really naman.
If I really think about it, parang I would disagree to that.
Pero by default, parang I don't expect much from the Philippines parang gaining momentum on these kinds of things.
It is partly a cultural issue.
And I know I'm not the first person to say this, pero it is colonial mentality to a certain extent.
Kasi una-una sa culture generally, we are very deferential.
We tend to defer to people in authority.
And we often perceive that as people external doctors.
O science yan, which is one of the challenges that I face as a science communicator and science journalist na
ang tendency ng tao, o science yan, hindi ko maintindihan yan.
It's so intimidating.
But when you walk through it, ah okay, ito lang pala yun.
So that's one. There's a cultural dimension to it.
Pangalawa, andun din yung, it's easy. Precisely nga, we think of ourselves as, we're a third world country.
We have so many problems as is. Bakit pa natin kailangan ng space engineering?
It's a valid question naman.
But the thing is, una-una, that's why science communication is important in that regard.
Because una-una, we have to say na, first of all, to make people aware that we have a space agency to begin with.
Pangalawa, to make them understand na, it's not like NASA yet, but we're going to send a Filipino into space.
What we need to do is to develop our own capability, space science capability.
Because we need it to monitor our own country.
As you said, rightly, not just the fact that we're an archipelago, but we're also one of the most susceptible to climate change.
And also to weather, to cyclones. Earthquakes too.
So having our own capability to monitor the country from space is very important.
And also, back then kasi, during the space race, at least to my impression to me is, to the rest of the world,
it's like a grandeur project for both countries, Russia and, para pa-kastigan lang tayo, diba?
Or let's call it what it is, pataasan ng ihig.
Oo, diba? Ganon. Pero ngayon, in this modern era of space technology, and alam mo yun, parang venturing into yung iba,
thinking of mining asteroids, and just the internet itself, communication, and of course yung monitoring ng geological patterns,
it's more practical. It's not, parang hindi na siya, parang necessity na nga eh, na kailangan alam mo yan.
Kasi ngayon meron tayong mga global conflicts din ang nangyayari, diba?
Monitoring. Kasi may technology na to use it eh. Kasi dati, parang wala namang internet eh, bakit ka pupunta dyan, diba?
Ngayon meron na eh.
Kasi maganda nga nabanggit mo yun. Kasi kung titingnan natin yung kasaysayan ng Pilipinas,
palibasa kasi naman, we are not the ones who develop these technologies.
But what happens is, lagit-lagit, passive consumers tayo.
It's happened when cellphones arrived on the scene, diba? Even the internet, diba?
Nahiki-angkas lang tayo.
Kahit sa art eh, diba? K-pop, diba? Ngayon lang tayo humahabol sa K-pop, kaya tagal ng usog.
By the way, of course, I'm not saying that it's all bad. Pero ganun lang ba tayo na tanggap lang tayo ng tanggap, diba?
Space, whether we like it or not, is something that all countries will eventually look to, diba?
I'm not talking about going to Mars, although eventually it's going to happen.
Think about it, like a hundred years from now to a hundred years, I wrote a sci-fi story about this once before.
Eventually, pag nag-colonize yung Mars, it will need people there, it will need staff to take care of it.
Ano yan? Pilipino na naman, tayo na naman yung mga janitor doon, tayo na naman yung mga doktor doon, diba?
Which again, not necessarily bad. But the point simply is that, lagi't-lagi, pag merong life-changing or world-changing technologies,
we tend to adapt it passively. Tapos biglang hahabal tayo, diba?
Just be followers. Kahit nga sa America, may kilala ka bang billionaire na Pilipino doon?
I should, I don't know.
Parang wala e, diba? Kasi kung may billionaire na Pilipino, malamang nabalitaan na natin e.
The first Filipino billionaire in the United States.
So, yan nga, parang maganda na we should prepare ourselves. It's a very practical thing.
So, the Philippine Space Agency, the Philippine Space Program, it's just one facet of that entire initiative sana.
Of which, going back to my own work as a science communicator and a science journalist,
I'm trying to help in my own small way to bridge that gap.
Hopefully, the idea is, if people are aware of scientific advances,
not just basta-basta nga, but ones that are relevant to the Philippines and scientific advances, especially that are made by Filipinos, diba?
Sana mas maging prepared tayo as science and technology moves forward. Hindi tayo passive consumers.
Plus, I have to say, tayo as a people, we are so hungry for Pinoy pride.
Kung ano-ano na lang, kung ano-ano hinahabol nating world record na paramihan ng nilutong bangus sa kalsada, diba?
O paramihan ng tumalun sa isang lugar. Yung mga ganun, diba?
But here is something that we can really be proud of. We have Filipinos who are working, have their heads down quietly in universities around the world, doing great research, pero hindi natin nababalitaan.
Even in our own country, isipin mo ha, dito pa lang, lahat ng universities natin, ilan yung mga graduates ng sciences, yung mga engineering,
bawat isang yan, meron silang ginagawang thesis, diba?
But we don't promote them, we don't make them...
Ibang bansayang nakikinabang, diba?
Ibang bansayang nakikinabang. And even just the production of the thesis itself, hindi nababalita, hindi nabibigyan ng halaga.
Yeah, because there might be, who knows how many brilliant breakthroughs that Filipinos, local...
O, kasi hindi nababalita. Exactly. Which brings us also right back to that whole discussion on science journalism, science communication.
One of the things that I noticed, specifically at MIT because I was there, but also all the other universities in the States, not just the Ivy Leagues,
malaki yung investment nila in communications offices. They have their own communications offices.
Na pag merong thesis or whatever na lumabas, pag merong ibang lumabas, ano sila? They will promote it.
Case in point that I remember particularly, for instance, I forgot what university this was, but they did a brain operation on a person
because they needed to isolate a part of his brain that had tremors. So, he happened to be a violinist.
So, the best way to isolate the parts of his brain na nagkakaproblema was they operated on him while he was awake and playing the violin.
So, while he was playing the violin, parang unti-untin na, ito, anong nararamdaman mo ito? Okay ba? Hindi, hindi.
So, and then, pag merong part na problematic, of course, parang nahirapan siyang tumugtog or whatever. So, they were able to isolate it and then do the operation.
Ito, successful na they were able to install electrodes so that pag merong siyang battery-operated na thing na once he turns it on, tumitigil yung tremors niya.
Hindi na siya nanginig. So, he's able to play violin. I remember now, this was at John Hopkins University.
So, it's an amazing thing, right? But look at how they treated it. It was an operation done by an in-house surgeon.
But they did a video. They produced a video. They uploaded it to their website. They did a press release for it.
So, madaling mapick up ng news media. Nabalitaan miski ako from way across the world.
Nabalitaan ko siya because they had a good science communications outfit.
At MIT alone, you have, aside from the press releases that each of their universities has, each of their schools has,
they have MIT News, which is a weekly thing na naglalabas sila ng balita tungkol sa mga latest researchers nila.
They even have monitors in the hallways that display the latest press releases from them.
So, napakalaki ng investment nila in public relations. At kaya, nalalaman ng buong mundo na may nangyayari.
They even go so far as, not just MIT, of course, all of these universities, if they have something groundbreaking,
as in plakado, parang all-star event dito sa Pilipinas, maglalabas yan ng announcement, may teaser, tapos date nung unveiling.
Parang concert talaga.
Meron pa yan in certain cases na contact details ng mga key discoverers or whatever.
If you want to interview them for your story, ito yung contact details nila. You can talk to them here, ganyan.
Tapos naka-embargo yan.
By embargo, that means if you're a journalist, you can write about it, but you can't publish a story until simultaneous na ilalabas yan on the day itself.
So, it's very rockstar.
But we don't have that here in the Philippines. Not yet, at least.
Partly because hindi na pang-analagahan, and partly also because funding being what it is.
Between promoting it, you need it to do your research.
But that is where, and I'm glad that I'm not alone anymore.
There are lots of science communicators coming out now, younger ones, studying abroad also.
Hopefully, ma-develop natin ito.
We need our universities, we need our campuses to invest in science communications para malaman ng publika yung anong nangyari.
At least, the latest that I've heard na development ng Filipino inventors, a very impressive young lady.
Yung nag-invento ng parang aircon sa Bicol.
Pero siya, air disc ata yung tawag niya.
Ah, the air disc.
So, I think high school student siya, and then she, di ko alam kung thesis yun or what.
Pero di ko alam kung meron silang laboratory sa school.
Paano niya nagawa yun sa...
I honestly, I heard about it, I read about it, but I haven't delved too much into it.
But the technique, compression of air via mechanical means, isn't really new.
So, from what I know, it's been done elsewhere.
And of course, ibang usapan din if it is scalable.
Parang naka-ano na raw eh, parang meron ng nakapila na magmamass produce.
I don't know if I'm botching this, pero parang she was tinkering with microwave technology ata.
And then noticed that, parang heating device yung ginagawa niya eh.
I don't know if it's microwave, pero heating device.
And then noticed that on the other end, cold air is coming out.
So, parang binaliktad niya, ah kung dito, dun tayo sa kabila.
So, parang binaliktad niya.
And yun, nakagawa siya ng prototype and it won several awards, inventor awards, whatever that.
Kung ano mong ginagawa nila to.
Okay, ako hindi ko nga alam eh.
Pero it would be great to have her here nga din sana, pero to know more, diba.
But I forget the name eh, parang Isabel something, Angel Isabel parang ganun.
Tapos airdisk yung kanyang invention.
Parang alternative to aircon na mas cheaper to operate.
And I don't know lang kung to produce.
Pero kung totoo yun, diba.
Siyempre, ang init dito sa atin, tapos ang mahal ng kuryente, diba.
That would be a great invention.
Pero see, that's also why talking about science in popular culture, in popular sphere is important.
Kasi the tendency is like when someone does this, diba.
Parang wow, ang galing-galing niyan, tali-tali niyan, di ko kaya yan, diba.
So, ang tendency, it goes unscrutinized.
So, there are two sides to that.
On the one hand, at worst, and I'm not saying this is the case here, if it's a fake, diba.
Hindi natin natatanong kung fake ba talaga siya.
Parang namanghana tayo, oh that's it, and that's it.
But even if it is an actual new thing, the problem is nawawalan din ang support.
Kasi parang oh, ang galing niya, and then there's no engagement with the public, no feedback.
It ends in oh, ang galing niya, diba.
Oh, ang galing niya, and then that's it.
Tapos ok, tapos na, tapos hahanap tayo ng ibang magaling.
Exactly, or the tendency is, ok, ang tendency natin as a public, parang ok ang galing niya,
maghanap naman tayo ng sponsor niyan or elsewhere, diba.
Instead of us eventually having our own support systems, diba.
Bakit kaya ganon yung, this is one thing that really boggles me about Pinoy mentality.
Kasi ako, I get why Pinoy pride is getting flack,
pero I think to some extent it's still important for us to have a sense of pride from our roots naman.
Pero I get yung mga parang sobrang kababawan.
Ang pinaka-worst na example na alam ko yan,
nakasakaya ko sa bus dati, uuwi ako ng Laguna.
Tapos that was the time when nanalo ang Miami Heat ni Lebron James ng NBA Championship.
Tapos yung ano doon, yung head coach nila is Filipino, diba.
Ah, hindi ko alam kung half-Filipino, half-Filipino ata, si Paul Struck.
Tapos, along the way, nakasakaya ko sa sakyan,
yung apparently meron siyang kamag-anak sa Alaminos.
Tapos meron siyang flyer doon, meron siyang malaking banner nakaharang doon sa taas ng kalsada.
Nakalagay, congratulations to my cousin.
Ano mo kasi, yun yung nakaka-frustrate kasi it's a normal, hindi lang siyempre sa ating Filipino.
Kahit saan, it's normal to look for something to be proud of.
But in the specific Philippine context,
ang dami natin pinagdadaanan bilang isang bansa, diba, on so many levels.
Parang even people say that things have gotten worse.
I mean, let's not go into that, but even at its best,
even when things were better, supposedly better,
we always look for a way to have upliftment.
It feels good, especially given the kind of culture we have,
the communal na, uy, si ganito, wow, ang galing, galing natin.
But the thing is, what's frustrating is, sa sobrang desperate natin,
na kahit na, diba, it's already a running joke,
it's already a meme, diba, na kahit na 1-100 lang yung dugo,
uy, Pilipino, Pinoy pride.
What's so frustrating about that is, lumalayo tayo,
samantalang dito sa atin and even in other countries,
we already have Filipinos who are doing great work in so many fields,
medicine, engineering, physics, science, diba,
pero hindi natin napapangalagahan.
Kaya nga, diba, it's, and also, going back to my point,
naalala ko na, nalimuta ko kasi bigla.
So, we are, a lot of people, many people, many Filipinos are obsessed,
especially the media, mainstream media talagang obsessed na parang,
kasi sila rin yung promotor nyon eh,
kasi balita sila ng balita ng ganoon eh, kaya nai-enforce lalo eh.
So ngayon, as obsessed as we are with the Pinoy pride per se,
hindi naman natin ma-pursue na, alam mo yun,
bakit, parang sapat ng gratification sa atin yung,
yun nga, merong inventor Pinoy pride,
tapos hindi naman sinusuportahan.
Tapos, kabaga, in music, diba, parang,
tayo yung pinakamagaling na singer sa Asia, diba,
walang makakatal sa mga Pilipino.
Pero ngayon, we are just following the footsteps ng K-pop.
Diba, we used to be the leaders in music,
pero ngayon, diba, parang, instead of tayo yung OPM,
sila yung nanggagaya sa atin,
tayo, nakikipatipormahan nila, ginagaya ng mga ano.
Alam ko, Mada, I don't want to mambasag ng trip ng mga K-pop,
mga P-pop ang tawag eh, diba?
P-pop, Pinoy pop.
Diba, parang, it's weird na parang,
Pinoy pride, Pinoy pride, pero we can't take the lead.
That's true. Kasi, again, of course,
there's nothing wrong with having a fandom.
Pero, hanggang dun na lang ba tayo?
Yung laging, and this of course extends beyond just science.
Even, you're a science fictionist as well,
even when we write our own fiction,
or create our own modern mythologies, as it were, diba,
we have so much to pull from.
And ako, I'm glad to see that some Gen Z,
a lot of Gen Z din, in small pockets of,
small pocket communities,
they're very engaged in talking about,
say, Philippine culture, pre-colonial culture,
So, there is that.
At least, there's that.
These efforts to retrace our roots,
to make something that is uniquely ours, diba?
But yeah, we need more of that.
In the arts, it's happening.
Pero, more to the point of my own personal advocacy
and my own work, diba?
This is practically low-hanging fruit.
What's happening in the science community,
in the Philippines and abroad,
Filipinos are doing so much work in the sciences.
We are, I know it sounds very,
probably you could say idealistic,
Science is the history of,
science is the story of humanity.
It's the collective repository of human knowledge.
And all of us, all of us are a part of that.
And it would be nice to remember
and to always keep in mind that Filipinos
are a part of that story
and that we are also contributing.
We are writing our own part of that story.
You said parang collection of stories,
ang history, yung science.
O nga, I've never put it that way before.
At the back of, let's say,
the laws of physics, may story yan.
What are the things that amazed me before?
And I think it was one of the things
that led me to the path that I am now is,
we tend to think,
siguro because of how subjects are taught in school, diba?
That science is separate from history,
is separate from other subjects, diba?
But when you take a step back,
you realize that science is a story of humanity,
that it is shaped by cultural factors
and society itself is shaped by science.
One of the examples that I like bringing up, for instance,
is, for instance, the idea of the number zero, diba?
It's very mundane.
Of course, we take it for granted.
But it took humanity centuries, millennia,
to have that number.
Kasi, noong panahon ng Greeks,
and if we go back through history,
they could not, because of their worldview
and because of their philosophies and perspectives,
hindi nila ma-imagine na mayroong number na wala.
If some of your audience went through
the history of philosophy, diba?
The idea of atoms, diodes, and all that, diba?
Parang sa kanila, imposibleng mayroong number na wala.
But it's interesting that the concept of zero,
although it was there,
but it's not something that they really focused hard on,
that it came into use in the East, in India,
precisely because their own philosophy naman
talks about nirvana, of nothingness.
So it enabled them to embrace the idea more fully.
And eventually, kaya nga ang ganun natin nga
is the Arabic numerals,
because the Arabs got it through way of India,
including the number zero.
But the point, what profoundly affected me
was how something as abstract as math, zero, science,
it's actually informed by history.
Or another thing, diba?
Like in school, lagi tayong mx plus y squared, diba?
We were taught quadratic equations, how to solve them.
It's just symbols.
Pero pag nalaman mo pala,
ang pinanggalingan nun was nung panahon nung Egypt,
lagi silang inaanod ng Nile.
So lagit-lagit, they needed to reclaim land.
So they needed to devise a system to measure off plots of land.
Kaya quadratic, kasi in squares and in rectangles.
So that is how they were able to reclaim land.
So it had a very practical purpose back in the day.
Tapos later on lang naging abstract.
So like, oh, that makes so much sense, diba?
So doon ako natuwa na parang,
not just may practical use itong mga abstract nito,
but they actually stem from problems that our ancestors had long, long ago.
Yes, kasi diba parang, how does it go?
Parang necessity is the mother of all inventions, diba?
So they have an existing problem that they needed to solve.
And then probably, hindi pa nga nila sinulat yan dati.
Parang ganito yan, ganito yan.
May nag-iexplain lang doon at sya yung nakakaintindi.
Tapos hindi, basta pumunta ka doon.
Doon ka, hawakan mo yung lubed, tapos lumayo ka dyan.
Tapos hindi niya naiintindihan pa malamang.
Well, maybe they did, diba? I don't know.
Kasi yung Egyptians were one of the first civilizations who invented the writing, diba?
So kaya nga nagawa nila yung mga projects nila
kasi they have ways to organize.
Tapos malaking factor din yung writing.
Being able to write things down.
Yung mga logistics nila.
Diba? At plot the...
Siguro, dinroving din nila yung piramid-piramid nila, diba?
I don't know if there are existing documents like that.
Pero, yun nga, meron kang problema
and nakagawa ka ng solusyon
and then you write it down, preserve it
and then pass it on to the next generation
and the next and the next and the next.
Actually, word problems.
Diba, naasar tayo dun sa mga word problems na
if Johnny is moving west at ganitong kilometers
and si ganyan, gano'ng katagal bago.
Yung mga gano'n, diba?
But actually, that was how mathematical problems were written down
In Egypt and even before that
in Mesopotamia, the other cultures.
Yung mathematical concepts are usually described in that way
na mas as lengthy word problems.
It's only relatively recently na
naging mas formal, na symbolic at saka...
Nagiging symbols na kasi.
Because of course, it's more to the point.
It's more practical.
Pero, it's also very intimidating.
Diba? Parang wow.
Pag hindi mo alam yung mga equations ng mga talagang
alam mo yun? Life equation.
Yung mga string theory na hindi mo alam kung anong ibig sabihin ng mga ibang symbols dun.
Diba? Nakalagay dun sa
basta kung ano-anong mga equations na
na figure out ng mga super matatalino.
They are just, hindi lang mat yun eh.
Parang there's a lot of philosophy and what else
na involved in creating.
Kasi sometimes, yung mga conundrums na sinosolve ng mathematics are
parang theoretical lang eh.
Like let's say yun sa mga black holes.
Hindi naman nila alam na may black holes eh.
Kasi hindi nga nila nakikita yun eh.
I don't know if I'm botching this, pero if you
parang pinrogress mo ng pinrogress yung mga equations,
parang you can come up with.
Mathematically, it's possible.
kasi ang mathematics, it started out as a practical thing.
At it's most basic,
some guy wanted to
remember how many items he had,
like sheep or whatever.
So, for the longest time, practical ang mathematics.
Only later on, na naging abstract,
kasi na-realize may mga tao na,
Uy, pwede palang ganito yung mangyari,
or you can think of numbers in this way
that's not necessarily tangible or physical, ganyan.
So, at it's root, it's practical.
And what happened din is,
for instance, in physics,
when Einstein was thinking about relativity
and the curvature of space-time,
he actually based his ideas of non-Euclidean geometry,
which was, at the time,
something that was considered completely abstract
and not part of the real world.
Kasi, to make it simple,
itong si Riemann, na-realize niya na,
ang pinagbabasihan dati ng mathematics,
for geometry specifically,
was Euclidean geometry.
We've learned this in school,
na two points, straight line, and whatnot.
Pero, na-realize niya that there's a certain,
he realized that there's certain mathematics
that describes things in a similar way,
pero in a curvature.
It was purely laro-laro lang sa isip niya.
He did not think it was a practical thing.
Thought experiments, diba?
Until Einstein came along and realized
na yung mathematics na ginamit niya,
akma siya doon sa naikita natin sa relativity.
And doon papasok yung talagang genius na level na pag-iisip.
Kasi parang, yung kanina example mo,
the concept of zero,
parang to us, it's just a benign thing,
na parang, okay, zero.
Pero, if you're gonna really think about it,
zero, it's a philosophical question,
na parang meron ba talaga nun?
Ikaw ba, sa talang buhay mo,
kung walang nag-i-exist ang number na zero,
may-iisip mo ba yun?
Will you be able to come up with that concept?
But the thing is, ano din, the problem,
I have to say, I agree to a certain extent
with that train of thought,
but I have to contest it in a certain way.
Kasi the problem with that train of thought is,
bumabalik tayo doon sa Filipino mentality na,
oh, genius yan, wala ako sa kalinkinan yan.
But think about it, no?
The geniuses come up with something.
Yes, they're geniuses and they deserve that
our respect because they came up with something
that was not thought of before na.
Oo nga, no, ganyan.
But afterwards, you don't have to be a genius
to understand it.
I mean, what I'm saying, kumari,
is like relativity.
Mahina ako sa math.
I cannot understand the equations at all, right?
But the implications of what he discovered
are things that resonate with me
that I can understand, even at its most basic.
The point simply is that
there's not a clean divide between
knowledge ng geniuses and others.
Just because I'm not a genius
does not mean that I cannot appreciate
their ideas, number one.
And also, it does not necessarily mean na
yung mga ideas niya ay hindi ko magagamit sa buhay ko.
Well, hindi naman sa hindi natin magagawa yun na
si Einstein lang yun.
It's also, siguro ang point ko is
that it takes a genius to come up with it
pero to make something
that nobody would regularly come to think
or even think of thinking about.
That much I agree.
Kaya sila genius.
Because they thought of something
that other people didn't think about.
Kasi yung zero, once everybody
you can articulate what it is.
Everyone else can use it.
Oh nga, it's sobrang simple.
Pero yun nga yung problema sa atin na
hanggang manghana lang tayo na
Like in the example you showed earlier
na this girl developed this
this thing, wow, ang galing niya, ang talino niya.
And then that's it.
Parang wala na tayong engagement with it.
Ang tendency natin generally is
wow, ang talino niya, hindi ko kaya yun.
We don't ask, how does it work?
Can you explain, does it really work
the way you say it does?
Ano yung magagamit ba natin yan?
How do we make it something everyday?
Yes, you're right, geniuses are the people
who see things na sobrang simple
na hindi naisip na ibang tao.
But that does not mean that those ideas,
those concepts are exclusive to them.
Because once they discover it,
it's something that can be shared with other people
and other people can engage in, engage with
even if they don't understand the details of that.
Going back to Einstein, for instance,
it took his genius to discover relativity.
But that had practical implications
because it also affects everything like satellites.
GPS would not be accurate
if we did not take into account
the relativistic time between the satellites
So engineers figured that out.
And tayo, even as people,
like ako, I keep saying I'm not a mathematician
Hindi ako makapag-math na at all.
But I appreciate this technology more
because I understand that it is based on
these equations that Einstein came up with
over a century ago.
Naalala ko yung isang joke ni Joe Rogan.
And it's also hindi naman kasalanan
na hindi ko naiintindihan kung paano
gumagana itong computer.
Kung paano, yung example niya is
Digicams pa lang dati yun.
Wala pang cellphones dati.
So yung joke niya parang
when you take a photo, you just press this.
Yun lang ang participation mo.
Kung baga how that photo comes
magiging projects into the screen
na makikita mo yung photo mo,
For all you know, may mga leprechauns daw.
Drawing nila yun.
Tapos yung isang lagi kong naaalala dati
sa special niya na yun, parang
if I leave you in a jungle
with an axe or a tool ganyan,
how long before you can send me an email?
Yes, yes, that's true.
Maganda nga yung point yun kasi.
That's the amazing thing.
But to a certain extent, it's also
a frightening thing about technology today
because what we have today, our society
and the technology that it's built on
is the culmination of all of these advances
in technology and science
And also, we are living in a very
fragile planet that one solar flare
could wipe it out.
And then how are we gonna survive
without the iPad now?
Without the apps na pambili natin
ng mga grub shit natin.
Or paying, yung banking system natin,
everything will collapse.
And even mechanically, kasi
kung wala na yung power grid,
yung mga matatandang nakikeras
Even yung mga nakatira sa mga,
let's say, 40th floor ka,
biglang wala kang tubig, di ba?
Mag-iigib ka, di ba?
Akitin mo yung, di ba?
Tapos wala kang...
The thing is, which is why it's important,
science communication is important,
even science appreciation, STEM,
appreciation of STEM is important.
Kasi even if you are not going to
experience this kind of apocalyptic
situation, di ba?
Hindi ba nakakatuwa na
pagka gumamit ka ng bagay,
mapa electric fan yan, or cell phone,
mas naiintindihan mo siya,
mas na-appreciate mo siya because you
understand, even on a basic level,
how it works, di ba?
And that's a very empowering thing,
na hindi ka basta-basta tanggap lang
ng tanggap, hindi ka ututo na,
oh, itong technology na to,
gamitin mo, okay, ganyan ka lang.
Or at the very least, parang you can
recognize na parang...
Kasi sometimes, kasi parang,
ay, meron akong iPad, talitalino ko,
You need to ground yourself
na parang this is not
natural na meron kang haawak
ng basically a gift from the gods.
The example that I always say is,
yun nga, parang when you appreciate
STEM, science technology,
it doesn't necessarily mean na aksayin mo
yung panahon mo. Kasi minsan sinasabi
ng mga tao, eh, bakit ko gagawin yan?
Eh, hindi naman ako mag-engineer, or bakit ako
gagawin yan? Hindi naman ako magiging
scientist. And some people,
frustrated pa nga, they want to be scientists but
they don't have the skill set, they can't learn it.
So parang waste of time. No, that's
not true. Kasi, ano yan eh,
understand how something works, when you
appreciate it, ano eh,
at the very least, there's a practical reason for that.
Number one is, hindi ka magugulangan
ng mga taong nakakaalam tukol doon, diba?
And pangalawa is, it helps
informed when you buy something,
diba? The example that I always
say, for instance, ako bilang manunulat
and for a while I was an editor,
mag-aral ng Photoshop,
pinagtsagaan ko mag-aral
editing, even though I knew
that I would not do this as a job.
But, bakit? Kasi,
alam ko na makikisalamuha ako
sa mga graphic artists, sa mga
It will make my life and their lives easier
if I can, ano, if I can talk
to them in their language, diba?
On a practical purpose, for instance,
like, bibili ka ng bagong
computer, diba? If you know
very fundamentally, if you
appreciate fundamentally how it works, diba?
Then, pagbili ka, hindi ka
pahihirapan yung nagbe-benta sa'yo. At,
kung masama silang tao
at gunagoyo ka, hindi ka magugoyo.
Bakit ito yung binibenta mo sa akin,
samantalang ito, mas mura, or ito,
mas efficient ito?
So, there's a very practical reason
why we should be more engaged
Yes. Well, kailangan naman talaga
kasi, whether we like it or not,
this is the times we are living
in, diba? Sometimes,
philosophical level, yung sinasabi ko
na parang grounding yourself
into reality, that the
we have are not really
part of nature, diba? Parang,
kumbaga, these are things that we created to
enhance our lives, e.
And, it could be easily
taken away from us, whether
quickly or slowly, diba?
right now, that it's
not happened, parang we
need to, one, appreciate
it, and know more
as much as possible,
as much as we can
about these things.
people like you, especially here
in the Philippines,
let's talk about, ano naman,
here in the Philippines. So,
I think you would have an
insight on its state,
how's it like, or what can you say
about it? Generally
several things. Now, first of all,
a writer, journalist, and editor,
din, hindi rin totoo
mahilig sa science
per se. There is interest,
it's just that most of the time, we don't
think of it as such.
What do I mean? Let me explain.
kasi, first of all,
in popular media, sa atin,
in the major newspapers,
broadsheets and online,
kokonti lang yung
mga spaces na merong
science and technology
sections. So, the tendency
is, a story would come out
in nature, or technological in nature,
pero mapupunta siya elsewhere.
So, hindi natin nakikita.
artificial intelligence used in cars.
a science and technology section,