It was a different kind of Valentine`s Day for PhilRice-Midsayap researcher Gina Balleras.
While others received flowers and chocolates, she, on the other hand, bagged six awards from an international conference.
On February 14, Balleras received the Outstanding Research Leader Award for 2014 during the International Conference on Climate Change, Ecology and Conservation (ICCCEC) organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) in Macau, China.
Balleras` paper titled, Aboveground arthropod composition, abundance and guild structure in upland rice agro-ecosystem at Matalam, North Cotabato, Philippines also earned her Best Abstract Award under Ecology Discipline, Best Oral Presenter (1st place), and Best Power Point Presenter (2nd place).
During her paper presentation, Balleras wore an orange Filipiniana made in Pinya cloth and was proclaimed as Best Dressed Researcher.
A Cum Laude graduate of Entomology from the University of Southern Mindanao and a former member of her school`s dance troupe, she also clinched the Best in Talent award after performing Palay Dance with a Folk Dance twist.
Passion for research
Balleras` work is focused on integrated pest management (IPM) of farmers in southern Mindanao. She has done most of her research on the life cycle analysis of rice stem borer particularly the pink stem borer dominating in the upland areas.
“Here in Midsayap, our main problem is pest. I hope we can develop an updated technology to fight stem borer,” she said.
“For upland, I hope our baseline information will help upland farmers to develop and implement ecological insect-pest strategies,” she added.
Balleras took her Master`s degree at the University of the Philippines Los Baños as a PhilRice scholar and did a comparative study of farmers` IPM practices for hybrid and inbred rice production for her thesis.
Her additional research interests include Rice-arthropods ecology and climate change,insect pest resistance and rice-associated arthropod species diversity.
Working for almost a decade, sherecognizes her edge working for a research institute and gave an advice for young researchers in her field.
“They need to master their chosen discipline and explore more conferences because the experience is more than enough for a young researcher,” she said.