JC calls himself an “inveterate mandarakma” with reference to his preferred sampling method when studying crabs (mandarakma is rooted in the Filipino word dakma which means “to grab”).

What can I say of Dr. Jose Christopher E. Mendoza?  Apart from his educational background (which is superb- he now works at the Systematics and Ecology Lab, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore) and his professional achievements to date (which is astounding- he has published 16 journal articles and 2 books in a period of 4 years, I’m sure he’ll forgive me if I overlook an article or two; his work so far is more than what can be said of the publication rate of entire colleges and institutes in some Philippine universities), JC’s most significant work (in my opinion) is his personal mission to improve the quality of research in the Philippines.

Case in point:  JC made plans of spending some 10 days in his home country (the Philippines) this semestral break.  Instead of just resting with his family (he devotes two days for that); he will spend 6 days for fieldwork and 2 days for talks/meetings at various institutions (National Museum of the Philippines, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, University of the Philippines Diliman, and the University of San Carlos, Cebu).  This goes to show that, despite of his chosen organism of study, the crab, JC is by no means infected by that social canker we know as talangka mentality.  At his young age (32? I’m not really sure), instead of pulling people down, he is already working hard to uplift the level of scientific work in the countries’ leading institutions as well as guiding students in pursuit of graduate degrees.  He even consented to co-advise my group of HS IV students studying the crabs and other macroinvertebrates of the Tungtong River.

His sampling trip at the Tungtong River will be on November 3, 2011 at 6pm to 10pm.  He will be accompanied by three HEDCen HS IV students- Carlo Felizardo, Jasmin Valera, and Rap Vinuya.  Their goal is to study the possible occurrence and distribution in the river of Sundathelphusa antipoloensis, a freshwater crab presumably endemic to Rizal and which was first described scientifically by Rathbun in 1904.  Since then, no study has been made and the effort of JC and the four HEDCen students may well be the first after more than a 100 years.