Diwata-2 Flight Model (Photo from PHL-Microsat)

The second Philippine microsatellite, DIWATA-2, is set to be launched into space on October 29, 2018 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan via H-IIA F4 rocket.  Its flight model was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) last August 30, 2018.

The development of the DIWATA-2 as well as DIWATA-1 was funded under the DOST Grants-in-Aid program titled, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite (PHL-MICROSAT),” in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Diliman, DOST-ASTI and the Japanese partners from Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech), Hokkaido and Tohoku Universities, with the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) as the monitoring agency.  

Both microsatellites are capable of capturing images of the Earth for environmental assessment and for monitoring the country’s natural resources. Similar with its sibling microsatellite, Diwata-2 will also carry specialized cameras but more refined and improved, namely the Wide Field Camera (WFC), Middle Field Camera (MFC), High Precision Telescope (HPT) and Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI) with Liquid Crystal Tunable Filter (LCTF).


Figure 1

Figure 2

Solar Array Panel Deployment Test of Diwata-2 Flight Model (Figure 1) and Diwata-2 Flight Model in Vibration Test Platform (Figure 2)

(Photos from PHL-Microsat)

Diwata-2 brings total improvement from its predecessor. It will orbit at a higher altitude more than 600 kilometers above the Earth level compared to Diwata-1 which only orbits at 400 kilometers. With this, its orbit will be “sun synchronous” which will enable fixed revisit intervals, allowing repeated environmental monitoring in specific areas. Moreover, Diwata-2 is 5 kilograms heavier than its sibling satellite, thus weighing approximately 58 kilograms.

Major features of Diwata-2 are two locally-made experimental modules as follows: Amateur Radio Unit for emergency communications and a Satellite Orientation Module for increased pointing accuracy and future satellite development initiatives. Other features include deployable solar panels for increased power generation output and an Enhance Resolution Camera (ERC) which increases the resolution of images taken by Spaceborne Multispectral Imager (SMI).

Spacecraft electronics designed in the Philippines. The Philippine Flag and the Diwata name in Baybayin were inscripted. (Photo from PHL-Microsat)

With these more refined instruments carried by Diwata-2, higher resolution images can be beamed down to the ground receiving station located at the DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) in Quezon City. This can also further spark the country’s continuous efforts for the attainment of space technology undertakings towards the establishment of the Philippine Space Agency.

Another significant milestone of the PHL-MICROSAT program to look forward to is the completion of the country’s first ever microsatellite laboratory located at the University of the Philippines Diliman called “University Laboratory for Small Satellites and Space Engineering Systems (ULyS3ES),” which is targeted to be inaugurated before the end of 2018.

A launch viewing through live stream is being organized by the PHL-MICROSAT team on October 29, 2018 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Everyone is enjoined to watch another momentous event as the country’s second “Diwata ng Kalawakan” sets into space. Further details will be announced through the PHL-Microsat Facebook account at

Likewise, JAXA will also have a live stream of the rocket launch in its Youtube Channel

It is the Filipinos’ joy and pride as we again go to space but this time higher and better.                                    
The 2018 Young Innovators Program awardees with DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peňa and DOST-PCIEERD HRIDD Chief Engr. Ermie M. Bacarra

31 AUGUST 2018 – The second batch of Young Innovators Program (YIP) awardees officially sealed their partnership with the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) held at the Heritage Hotel Manila.

Launched in 2017, YIP recognizes promising researchers under the age of 30 to further encourage them to delve into scientific research through provision of financial assistance. This year’s YIP awardees, who were announced last July 18 during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), consists of six (6) aspiring young innovators out of 55 who submitted their research proposals. The six (6) YIP awardees, the academic institutions they represent, the title of their research projects, and the names of the members and mentors, are as follows

  1. Gerardo Martin D. Quindoza III

Mentor: Mr. John Kenneth A. Cruz

Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering – University of the Philippines Diliman

Project: Synthesis of Nanocellulose reinforced Chitosan Hydrogel as bioink for 3D printing of artificial articular cartilage

  1. Jeremy C. De Leon

Mentor: Engr. Febus Reidj G. Cruz

Mapua University

Project BAGWIS: A low-cost micro wind turbine system for lighting, charging, and electrifies floodwater detection

  1. Janina M. Guarte

Mentor: Dr. Joyce A Ibana

Institute of Biology – University of the Philippines Diliman

Project: Capitalizing on microbial interactions for improving shelf life and gut-health benefits of Carabao’s milk product (NICE4GUT)

  1. Neil David C. Cayanan, Shaira C. Gozun, and E’van Relle M. Tongol

Mentor: Ms. Lolita G. Bautista

Angeles City Science High School

Project: Hibla: An alternative sound absorption material

  1. Jether M. Arenga, John Angel C. Blancaflor, Kyle M. Enorio, Greg Norman C. Millora, and Jericho T. Portez

Mentor: Mr. Jimmy E. Unilongo, Jr.

Philippines Science High School – SOCCSKSARGEN Region Campus

Project: Fortified Trees: Real-time data logging and analysis machine

  1. Joshua K. Pardorla, Christian Lawrence C. Cantos, Joefer Emmanuel T. Capangpangan, Dorothy Mae M. Daffon, and John Harold R. Abarquez

Mentors: Mr. Wilfredo K. Pardorla, Jr. and Ms. Almida Plarisan

St. Cecilia’s College – Cebu, Inc.

Project: Design and development of low-cost, high-performance hybrid rocket for Can Satellite deployment applications

 (Read more on their research projects:

Opening the program for the MOA signing, Engr. Ermie M. Bacarra, DOST-PCIEERD Human Resource and Institution Development Division (HRIDD) Chief, congratulated the young innovators for being YIP finalists. She also added, “I would like to congratulate their parents for raising such talented and creative children, and praise the officials of the academic institutions that our young innovators represent, for continuously giving them support to follow their aspirations.”

“As a big part of the country’s population is composed of young people, it is only justifiable that we in the DOST, through PCIEERD, also give opportunities to our country’s young minds, hopefully inspiring students to pursue careers in science and technology,” says DOST Secretary Fortunato De la Peňa after commending the second batch of young innovators for their love for Science.

The signing of the MOA means that the grant may be released so that the YIP awardees can now start with their respective researches, with the guidance of DOST-PCIEERD.

Participants of the first Data Science Kapihan

28 AUGUST 2018—Members of the DATOS Project under the Department of Science and Technology’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) gathered researchers, stakeholders, and established data scientists to share their knowledge, expertise, and their past and ongoing R&D projects over a cup of coffee in a symposium titled “Data Brew: Data Science Kapihan” held in the DOST-ASTI Training Room.

DOST-ASTI Director Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr. opened the kapihan stating  that “this initiative is to ramp up to meet the challenges that our country faces in terms of what data science, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) can support; that is why we’re reaching out. This is really our effort for you to get to know us, for us to get to know you, and to figure out ways for which we can work together.”

In the morning session of the symposium, project leaders and members presented DOST-ASTI data-science-related projects. Jericho Capito discussed about the institution’s weather stations and the Understanding Lighting and Thunderstorms (ULAT) Project. Harold Bryan Paler talked about the Philippine Earth Data Resource and Observation (PEDRO) Center, a satellite ground receiving station (GRS) that receives and provides space-borne imagery. Jay Samuel Combinido’s presentation was about the S&T infrastructures that they developed: the Philippine Research, Education and Government Information Network (PREGINET), a system that provides high-speed network to facilitate research and education collaborations among academic, government, and research institutions and the Computing and Archiving Research Environment (CoARE), a data storage facility and also serve as high-performance cloud computing facility that allows free access of its services to students, researchers, and data analysts. Roel M. Dela Cruz shared that the DATOS Project aims to address the need for a 24/7 help desk for remote sensing and data science that can support critical activities on disaster mitigation, analysis, and advise using data from CoARE and PEDRO. Jeffrey Aborot presented the details and results of the ASTI Labelling Machine (ALaM) Project. Guided by Balik Scientist Dr. Jose U. Rubrico, the ALam Project’s goal is to develop deep learning models that utilize labeled and georeferenced satellite images as input data.

DOST-ASTI resource speakers answering questions from the ‘kapihan’ participants

In addition to these presentations, resource speakers from other public and private institutions contributed to the gathering as well.  Dr. Delfin Jay Sabido and Adrian Cayaco from Stratpoint Technologies Inc., a digital enterprise software solutions company, imparted the importance of AI and machine learning in an enterprise. As the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the biggest user of CoARE, Jeffrey Detras, a bioinformatics specialist from IRRI, shared that genomics data is available for analysis, interoperability or the unrestricted sharing of resources between different systems is essential to collaboration, that internship and special problem opportunities are available in his division, and lastly, that AI applications are new to rice researches.

Adrian Cayao, Jeffrey Detras, and Dr. Delfin Jay Sabido await questions from the participants on their presentations

Dr. Enrico Merle, IT Manager of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), continued the exchange of ideas by showing and emphasizing that population data is essential to a country’s progress and development. The last resource speaker for the morning session is Eugene Villar, President of OpenStreetMap (OSM) Philippines. OSM is a crowd-sourcing mapping effort done by volunteers and is released with an open content. Villar believes that OSM promotes “better demographic intelligence that leads to a better Philippines.”

Eugene Villar and Dr. Enrico Merle during the open forum

In the afternoon session, the ‘Lightning Talks’ commenced wherein each speaker is given 5 minutes for their presentations. 17 resource speakers from various academic, public, and private institutions talked about data science in relation to various fields.

These are the speakers and the topics they presented:

1.Elmer Peramo – Deep Learning with R

2. JC Albert Peralta – Breaking Roads: Impact of Transportation Network Damage on Disaster Relief Logistics

3. Karlo Dela Cruz – Reducing Airline Operating Cost through Improved Forecast Accuracy

4. Patrick Lucanas – Iraya Technologies

5. Shiela Jimenez – Interactive Data Visualization

6. Rafaello Baluyot – Embedding in Natural Language Processing

7. Roel Dela Cruz – Multi-temporal Thermal Analysis of Heavily-Urbanized and Vegetated Areas in Metro Manila

8. Jay Samuel Ombinido – A Convolutional Neural Network Approach for Estimating Tropical Cyclone Intensity Using Satellite-based Infrared Images

9. Danielle Gayare – Linksight on Data Cleaning

10. Karen Faye Bathan – Logistic Regression for Employees’ Attrition Prediction

11. Diony Gullen – The Future of Audit: How Technology is Changing the Audit

12. Rudolph Joshua Candare – Center for Resource Assessment, Analytics and Emerging Technologies of the CARAGA State University

13. Feye Andal – University of the Philippines Resilience Institute – Youth Mappers

14. Allan Sioson – Gateway Software

15. Gabriel Lorenzo Santos – Machine Learning Reinvents Business

16. Narod Eco – Data Science Application in Geoscience Research

17.James Miraflor – Tala ng Bayan Laban sa Kahirapan (People’s Anti-Poverty Database or TALAMBAYAN)

Resource speakers from the first half of the ‘Lightning Talks’


Resource speakers from the second half of the ‘Lightning Talks’

After the ‘Lightning Talks’, a data science needs and capabilities identification activity was conducted. The participants were encouraged to write down what they need from and what they can give to the data science community, hopefully paving the way for more collaborations between data scientists.

To end the symposium, Jo Brianne Briones, a member of the DATOS team, thanked the participants for making the kapihan a success. The DATOS team hopes that this will jump-start data science discussions and collaborations.

The initiatives of the DATOS team are implemented by DOST-ASTI and are monitored and funded by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

Mr. Wilfredo Pardorla, Jr. holding a nanosat model from the summer space school

The Department of Science and Technology, through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), supported the attendance of St. Cecilia’s College-Cebu, Inc. teacher-researcher Wilfredo K. Pardorla, Jr. to Samara University’s 14th International Summer Space School in Russia as the Philippines’ sole participant.

Samara University is one of the best institutions that offer aerospace education courses in the world. The university established the International Summer Space School in 2003 with the Progress Rocket and Space Center and the Volga Branch of the Russian Academy of Cosmonauts, and is supported by the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA).

From March 26 to April 7, Pardorla participated in a 2-week distant education training program—the first stage of the summer space school—along with 200 final year undergraduates, master’s degree students, PhD students, young researchers and engineers. According to Pardorla, most of the activities in this stage are content-based and calculus-based calculations. Through an online platform, the course contents can be accessed and the assignments and quizzes were completed on a weekly basis.

On April 12, the number of participants was narrowed down to only 40 after the analysis of test results from the first stage of training, Pardorla was part of the selected participants to be invited to Samara University in Russia for the second stage of the summer space school—a workshop program from August 20-31—filled with lectures, presentations, roundtable discussions, and group projects on the design and operation of nanosatellites, exuding the summer space school’s theme this year, “Future Space Technologies and Experiments: From a mission idea to a nanosatellite project.”   

“All the knowledge we gain will from the summer space school will be tested in applicative manner through a nanosatellite project work that will undergo defense with the panel of experts. This will incorporate mission analysis, 3D simulations assembling, testing, and modeling nanosatellites’ functionality, calculations of power, link and mass budgets. In my case. I will collaborate with five other countries: India, Mexico, Ethiopia, Peru, and Tunisia. We are working on the Nanosatellite for Thermospheric Atomic Composition and Density Measurement (TACDEM),” Pardorla shared.

Pardorla with his teammates from India, Mexico, Ethiopia, Peru, and Tunisia

The overall objective of this summer space school is to involve young people into the development of nanosatellites, usher the implementation of more experiments in space, provide fundamental knowledge and skill in space technology applications, and establish cooperation between universities and countries. UNOOSA envisions that this short course will bring open access to space applications for sustainable development by building indigenous institutional capabilities in space science and technology and nanosatellite technology. UNOOSA Director Simonette De Pippo imparted with the summer space school participants, “I strongly encourage you to take your skills, experiences, ideas, and networks back to your home countries to make a difference. We need people like you to help bring the benefits of space to your home countries to make a difference to everyone everywhere.”

Just last year, DOST-PCIEERD announced the expansion of its space technology applications (STA) sector that will push the establishment of the National Space Agency that is focused solely on space-related efforts in the country. As the teachings of the summer school fall under STA, DOST-PCIEERD granted financial assistance to Pardorla through its Human Resources Development Program (HRDP), a program that renders support to researchers, faculty members, and S&T personnel of academic and research institutions by covering the financial expenses needed to attend conferences, fora, seminars, workshops, and trainings in and out of the country.

“I really want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to DOST-PCIEERD for providing support to ensure my attendance in the International Summer Space School in Samara University in Russia. It is truly helpful to passionate Filipinos who want to delve in the fields of aerospace engineering and space sciences,” expresses Pardorla. 

At his return, he is expected to train and collaborate with students, researchers, and engineers specializing in STA, propose programs and missions for nanosatellite applications, and present his learnings in S&T events.

“We are one step higher in achieving a CubeSat implementation project that will be assembled and done in-house in some of our universities in the Philippines,” Pardorla assures. “This is very essential to the country’s future space technology applications in the verge of the creation of our very own Philippine Space Agency. I’m planning on conducting capability building workshops in partnership with DOST-PCIEERD and some universities to maximize the scope for nanosatellite trends in the country.”

Key officials and guests from DOST, UP, JAXA and Embassy of Japan in the Philippines posing with a 1:1 replica of Maya-1 after the successful deployment of the BIRDS-2 cubesats from the ISS. From left to right: Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., Director of DOST-ASTI; Mr. Shigeki Kamigaichi, Senior Expert of JAXA,; Minister Atsushi Kuwabara, Consul General of Embassy of Japan in the Philippines; Dr. Fortunato dela Peña, Secretary of DOST; Dr. Michael Tan, Chancellor of UP Diliman; Dr. Evangeline Amor, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of UP Diliman; and Dr. John Richard Hizon, Director of UP EEEI. (Photo by DOST-PCIEERD)


 Manila, August 10, 2018 — Cheers full of Filipino pride were heard in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute building as officials from UP, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) witnessed the live deployment of Maya-1, the Philippines’ first ever cube satellite (CubeSat).

After its turnover to JAXA last May 15, the Maya-1 CubeSat was brought to the International Space Station (ISS) through the SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-15 on June 29. "This is actually our second major achievement in space science and technology," said UP Diliman chancellor Michael Tan, looking back on the Diwata-1 microsatellite launch on March 23, 2016 from Cape Canaveral and its deployment from the ISS on April 27, 2016.

The development of Maya-1 falls under the BIRDS-2 (Birds Satellite Project), a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project that accommodates non-space faring countries. The project consists of 11 participating team members from four different countries - Bhutan, Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Philippines was represented throughout the project by two DOST scholars enrolled in graduate studies at the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) - Joven Javier from the Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) of the DOST and Adrian Salces of UP Diliman. Javier, in particular, was designated as Project Manager and led the multinational BIRDS-2 team in the development of the CubeSats.                                                                   

“This aspect of launching [the Maya-1] is a very important step,” says DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, in relation to DOST’s current plans on establishing a Space Technology Development Program in the Philippines. According to de la Peña, the said program contains many components – from education, to human resource development, to industry development – capable of producing outputs which can later on be utilized and applied by other agencies. "All of these can be facilitated – since we practically started from zero – by having international collaborations. We do not want to be left out," says de la Peña.

The Maya-1 was launched together with the BHUTAN-1 CubeSat of Bhutan and the UiTMSAT-1 CubeSat of Malaysia. (Photo by Alexander Gerst, European Space Agency)

As it is deployed into space, Maya-1 is set to demonstrate a nanosatellite-based remote data collection system called Store-and-Forward (S&F) and a digital messaging capability through Automatic Packet Reporting System (S&F). It will also conduct magnetic field measurements, test a low-cost commercial off-the-shelf Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, and record single-event latch ups in orbit. According to UP President Danilo Concepcion, "This is another successful day for the deployment of Maya-1. It showcases what UP can do, what the Filipino can do."

The participation of the Philippines in the BIRDS-2 Project and the development of Maya-1 is part of the research program, “Development of the Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite” or PHL-Microsat Program implemented by UP Diliman and DOST-ASTI with funding from the DOST Grants-in-Aid (GIA) and project monitoring by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).