“Having received this award does not mean that I am exceptional or better than my colleagues at CEAT. I believe that all faculty are outstanding one way or another. Perhaps it’s just my time to be recognized this year for the contributions for all those years.”
This was the opening line of the speech that Dr. Bambase gave when he received the award for the 2022 CEAT Outstanding Senior Faculty during the 110th CEAT Founding Anniversary celebration held last February 22, 2022. Even after he was given this award, Sir Manoy, as he is fondly called by colleagues and students, remained humble and gave encouraging words to everyone that in time, all will be recognized for the efforts given to CEAT.
But did you know that teaching was not part of the plans of Sir Manoy? After graduating BS Chemical Engineering in 1998, Sir Manoy wanted to work in a private company. However, it seems this was not in the cards. After submitting his applications to various companies, he received an invitation to apply as faculty of the Department of Engineering Science (DES), CEAT, UPLB. At first, he was apprehensive to apply since he thought that he did not have the proper credentials and experience to become part of the academic community. Little did he know that this move became the steppingstone that launched his teaching career.
As instructor for DES, he taught Engineering Graphics and Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Advanced Mathematical Methods in Engineering and Introduction to Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer. He became a recipient of the Development Faculty Grant which he used to create an exercise workbook module for teaching Engineering Graphics. In 2002, he left DES to work for a private company for a few years. In 2003, he left for Japan to pursue his graduate studies at the University of Tsukuba where he consecutively took Master of Science in Biosystem Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Biotechnology. He also became a part-time researcher of Sun Care Fuels Corporation, while doing his PhD, and he conducted basic study on the feasibility of blending commercial gasoline with different amounts of palm and sunflower methyl esters.
In 2008, he returned to teaching, this time as an Assistant Professor of the UPLB Department of Chemical Engineering (DChE). He taught several BS Chemical Engineering courses (i.e. Material and Energy Balances, Biochemical Engineering, Transport Phenomena) and several MS Chemical Engineering courses (i.e. Advanced Chemical Reaction Engineering, Mathematical Methods for Chemical Engineering Analysis and Graduate Seminar). He also served as the Department Chairman for two consecutive terms (September 2011 to August 2018). It was under his leadership when the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) recognized UPLB DChE as a Center for Development in Chemical Engineering (January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2018). Aside from this, Sir Manoy was instrumental in modernizing the Chemical Engineering infrastructure and facilities. Each DChE classroom became equipped with its own LED television which greatly improved faculty productivity since time spent in setting up laser projectors were now spent on teaching.
Sir Manoy is also an epitome of a UPLB faculty. He was able to perform the three required functions of a faculty namely teaching, research and public service. He has completed various research projects such as the establishment of a 25 kW Waste-to-Energy Facility which aims to convert Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to energy. At present, only MSW coming from UPLB and Brgy. Putho-Tuntungin. Los Baños is being used for this facility. His excellent research track record is the reason why various funding agencies (i.e. DOST, DA-BAR, PCIEERD-DOST) continue to support his numerous researches with his results being published in various reputable indexed and non-indexed journals. He has also been given numerous chances of presenting his research in national and international conferences/symposiums like ACS Asia-Pacific International Chapter Conference, International Conference on Bioresources, Energy, Environment and Materials Technology and the International Symposium on Gasification and Its Application. He became part of various committees in UPLB and offered his services as resource person in various national and international symposiums.
But what is mostly commendable, was the evolution of Sir Manoy’s mantra from when he started teaching. As a new faculty in 1998, he considered that majority of the learning process should fall on the shoulders of the students. That if the student is not committed to the learning process, he will not learn even if the teacher is there to act as guide. However, after more than twenty years of teaching experience, he now teaches by this quote “The strength of the team depends on the strength of its weakest member.” For Sir Manoy, the challenge in teaching lies with the “weak” students and not with the student achievers. He is not saying that student achievers do not need mentoring or guidance, but that more focus and attention should be given to the “underachievers or delinquent” students. Because the true measure of an outstanding teacher is not in how many students passed your course, but in how well the teacher was able to encourage and motivate those students who are already on the point of giving up their studies, especially those who have stayed for a long time in UPLB.