Monday, January 08, 2007

Geology is a hot profession in the Philippines

YES, the miners, geologists and mining engineers in this country are leaving en masse. The sooner our policymakers in both the private and public sectors realize the gravity of this situation, the better.

The country badly needs these people especially at this time. Geologists scour the mountains, the plains, rivers and the ocean floor to find the minerals, oil and natural gas needed by mankind for survival, growth and progress.

The world is riding a minerals boom owing to rising demand from the Asia-Pacific Region, particularly China and India. This boom is propping up a lot of economies throughout the region. Australia, a major exporter of coal and iron ore, is growing fast because of this boom. And if the Philippines wants to ride this growth bandwagon to boost the Philippine economy, we better have enough of these mining professionals home.

Of course, prices of fossil fuels have been high since the last three years. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) thought all along that crude oil costing beyond $28 a barrel could break the back of the global economy. Late last year, the crude prices reached as high as $75 a barrel and the global economy remained strong. That means Opec and other major producers are likely to try maintaining high prices.

What this means is that finding our own oil or its substitute like natural gas remains a paramount concern. The Philippines right now is a minor player in the petroleum industry. That’s because for so long we have neglected investments in oil and gas exploration. Again, we can only gain headway if we have enough geoscientists in the country.

Besides needing them for lucrative economic sectors, we also need geologists to determine where the geohazards are. The country is prone to natural calamities like volcanic eruptions and landslides; specific and accurate information about these dangerous places are necessary to prevent or, at least, mitigate these disasters. And most of all, the information generated by geologists on the nature of the soils and rock formation beneath are the foundations with which engineers and builders make their decisions. Without geologists or geoscientists, engineers and architects wouldn’t have any idea whether or not the structures they designed and build would collapse once the quake or the strong winds come.

That’s how important geologists are and yet they are leaving in droves. These days many of the geoscientists at the Mines and GeoSciences Bureau and the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) are gone, either temporarily or permanently. Right now, many companies that invested in the government’s 24 priority mine projects are into exploration and development. Managers of these companies are experiencing an acute lack of geologists and mining engineers. Worse, only three schools—University of the Philippines, Mapua University and Adamson University—teach geology and even the teachers and professors are being lured away by high-paying jobs abroad, particularly in China, Indonesia, Guyana, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Canada, Thailand, Vietnam, Bulgaria and Papua New Guinea.

“We have come to a point where we get paranoid about sending our geologists to conferences. We have this constant fear they are not going to return,” said one mining executive. That’s how acute the problem is and it’s likely to get worse three or four years from now when many of the new mining investments start production.

Well, the good news is this: Filipino geologists are so good that global companies are so eager to hire them. Unlike geology graduates from rich countries, Filipino geologists are used to working in “Third-World” conditions. Filipino geoscientists write and speak good English, a major advantage. This is important because they are supposed to regularly inform their company’s board of directors about their field activities, and good language skills are extremely necessary—especially when writing technical stuff. And they work so hard. In fact, from 1980 until 1990 alone, 69 Filipino geologists are credited to have made 40 major discoveries worldwide worth $469 billion.

Local companies are addressing the problem by throwing money at Filipino geologists. There is talk that smart fresh geology graduates right now can get as much as P120,000 a month. And yet, the diaspora has not abated. Other countries like Australia are also throwing money around just to get good people, but are offering more: citizenships for Filipino geologists and many others. Having everybody screaming for more geoscientists is bidding up the prize money so they could have their own fill of geoscientists to run their own companies.

This problem will only get worse before it gets better. The Philippines could not possibly win this bidding war for talents. Besides, geology as hard science is a difficult and expensive course. Unlike nursing where someone who is not afraid to see blood could probably enroll, only students who loves mathematics, chemistry and physics are likely to survive geology’s rigors. More so because students are always trekking up and down mountains and valleys as part of their laboratory courses. Obviously, it doesn’t have the glamour of information technology courses whose graduates are bound to wear coat and ties and work in air-conditioned offices.

Nevertheless, we could probably institute measures to help ensure a stable supply of geoscientists. For instance, to keep the good professors home, the Chamber of Mines and private companies should explore engaging the participation of the faculty and staff of UP, Adamson and Mapua in their research and development, as well as in the exploration stages of their operations. That would provide additional incentives for these talents to remain in the universities. They could also have tie-ups for visiting professorships. Opportunities for travel and professional exchanges would help ensure that local talents maintain their edge.

To raise enrollment, mining companies and the Chamber of Mines should also offer scholarships to smart high-school students. In the last five years, science high schools have been proliferating all over the country. The private sector should approach these schools for possible recruits into the geology departments of our universities. High-school students are probably not aware of the opportunities in the geosciences. An extensive information-dissemination campaign would go a long way in solving the problem.

42 comments:

jhay said...

Pray that mining would develop in such a way that it would not be so destructive and distressing to our mountain-dwelling fellow Filipinos.

Anonymous said...

geologists leave because local mining companies keep on paying a mere pittance considering the sacrifices we have to make in order to work for them. in addition, professional opportunities in this country are very, very limited. i'm still a registered geologist but i don't practice it anymore. why put myself through all that difficulty when i can earn more by working in a call center! fresh geologists getting P120K a month?! that's hogwash! very likely it's P12K a month or P120K a year!

Dave Llorito said...

you are certainly been away for too long. if you want to clarify your options in the profession, i'd be willing to link you up with the industry.

Anonymous said...

it's nice to know that somebody realizes the importance of geologists in the society.. i'm a geology student and i'm impressed with this blog of yours..

dean said...

My geologist neighbor is making 150k a month.He says his friends are making 300k a month here.120k for new grads is true.My neighbor was offered 1million for four sites in Palawan to do nickel explorations.Indeed mining boom is starting.We are now producing fire assay crucible locally used in precious metal exploration.The demand is increasing.

Dean

Dave Llorito said...

thanks for validating some of my observations, dean.

joy said...

may i ask if you know some public sectors which offer scholarships to some fellows who want to study bs geology. me and my friends are VERY INTERESTED in enrolling in such course...we just don't have the money:-(

Dave Llorito said...

joy: i understand DOST has scholarships for science oriented courses, but im not sure whether or not it includes geology. but private mining companies actually offer scholarships to students who are already enrolled in geology and they start offering scholarships at the third year. the chamber of mines in the philippines might have some programs about this.

Anonymous said...

chris,
yup your right coz during my school years, while studying at adamson university i have been involved in several mining companies, much more if you completed your course...you earn much money and may be you will have a better way of living...come on join us!!!!!and experience being the exploration geologist so that you may be able to realized the importance of geologist in the country...

Dave Llorito said...

hi chris: thanks for sharing me your enthusiasm about the profession. but unfortunately, i cannot join you since im a journalist. haha! i dont know anything about the science of exploration. i only chronicle things as they transpire in our society. but thanks for the invite.

michal feyoh said...

thank you for this insightful post. i've had so many questions about being in the geological field that i didn't know how to voice out but now, a lot of things have been clarified after reading this.
still, i don't think that it's only those who have the love for math, physics, or chemistry (hard sciences) who would be attracted to this path.
after reading this post, i really am considering re-enrolling as a geology student.

emina said...

120k?! seriously?! i wonder if in demand pa din ang geologists sa panahon ko D:
i mean .. 4 yrs is one heck of a looong loooong time. sana hindi pa muna magbago ang mundo. sana umabot pa naman ako ohhh! gusto ko din mafeel ang 120k a month!

X3

Dave Llorito said...

emina/michal: i wrote that article before the global financial meltdown where high demand for oil and mineral translated also to high demand for geologists. Im not sure about now since lots of mining firms are suffering from reduced demand. but overall, it seems that there are still great demand for geologists in other fields like land use planning, geohazard mapping, environmental geology, etc.

Anonymous said...

i'm a sophomore geology student in adamson....adamsonU offers a lot of scholarships....from SAs...academic...i think the parish near adamson offers scholarshp also

Anonymous said...

P120K a month....how about P400K a month (C$10,000) here in Canada..I am a Mining Eng but moved into IT after graduating in 1984 but I can't find a job in my field. I agree that Geo and Mining are very fields to go into at this time. I am a graduate of Adamson. t.y. and regards to all dyan sa Pinas..

Anonymous said...

...i'm a geology student and we are in need of professors...geologist's life must be so good that only few of them teach...it would be very helpful for the future of the geologist's community if they TEACH...please teac us!!!! geolog from adamson

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, I'm looking for two good senior exploration geologists to join our green field gold exploration project in Mozambique. Send me your CV if you are interested and available. zkhedery@gmail.com - US $4000/month and a 6/2 rotation. My eamil address is zaid@tak-assets.com

Anonymous said...

PLS HELP ME AM IN S.A AND IN GRDE 11 IWANT TO KNOW MUCH DO U EARN P.MONTH IF ITS UR 1ST YEAR? AND HOW MUCH DOES THE COURSE COST AND IN WHICH VASITY TO ENROL TO.

Dave Llorito said...

Anonymous: this article was written in January 2007 when prices of commodities and metals were booming. this article was good only then. im not sure about it now. never had the chance to update since the global financial meltdown. in deciding on a career, you better inquire for more information.

marie said...

My dad is one of the best geologists in the Philippines and vowed to stay in the Philippines. He's retired now and would like to start his geology website. This would be great as we have very few geology references in the web. Anybody who would like to help in setting up the website?

Anonymous said...

I was really overwhelmed when I came across with this blog.. I'm beginning to love geology.. in fact I indicated it as my first choice in my UPCAT application.

what caught my attention was..

"Unlike nursing where someone who is not afraid to see blood could probably enroll, only students who loves mathematics, chemistry and physics are likely to survive geology’s rigors."

I don't really like physics, i hate physics.. though I'm going to graduate from a science high school of the Philippines (so overrated!), I had oh so low grades on that subject and even up to now..

I'm also afraid that may be there will be too much field work that I won't have enough time for my family, recreation and stuff(?).

Part of choosing geology was that I love to travel outside etc. *slaps* Okay, so geology is more to that... I think there will be a lot of field work..

I'm scared that I won't be paid enough here in the Philippines if I'll pursue this course. I'm scared that geology isn't my thing. I'm kind of techie rin naman kasi.

I really appreciate your blog about geology. It clarified a lot of things and added some EXP points. haha.

Anonymous said...

I started to like Geology because of my professor in that subject in UPD. He was one of the best geologists now in the Philippines and is always called to advise about geological matters in DOST. He really taught us well and he showed to us that Geology is such an interesting field. Well, that's not my course but i want to shift their. Hahaha... because I really love travelling and researching... HAhaha.... I;m not on the money... but on the profession itself. Because Goelogy is my passion...

Joshua said...

I'm a licensed chemical engineer. I am still 22 right now, and I want to earn a Geology Degree. Can anyone give me a link of scholarships of such course? You can contact me at 09053514503.

Anonymous said...

uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Geologist

Anonymous said...

Geologists in the Movies
Brad Pitt as a geologist.
Geologists in the movies are nothing like the real thing. For example, in a volcanic eruption, or major earthquake, no geologist is going to give a rat's ass about rescuing a dog even if it does belong to the romantic interest's children. He or she will be far more concerned about the mineralogy of the ash falling from the sky, or the viscosity of the lava flow and its movement across the substrate (which may or may not include a village). Apparently immune to the asphyxiating effect of the ash as it turns normal lungs to stone, the geologist will happily jump around lava fields with a camera trying to get a good photo of a lava tube.

Geologists are ice-age cool, although they typically do not look like James Bond, being altogether too filthy to ever pass for a (ignorant Scot with no sense of grammar pretending to be a) suave Englishman. There has been one accurate portrayal of a geologist in a B-rate movie, however. In "Track of the Moon Beast", the mineralogist turned into a flesh-eating monster at night. It is thought that this may be a common occurrence among mineralogists. However, it is a well-established fact that field geologists are magma-hot. The details not well known because field geologists tend to stay in the field most of the time, where only other field geologists get to see how hot they are.

Another excellent portrayal of a geologist is in the Hollywood blockbuster 'The Core'. In this widely known film the U.S. government has stopped the revolution of the earth's core (the magnetized liquid outer core, anyway) via the use of sinister 'classified' science, and due to the impending doom of all of the world at their hand from superviolent storms and world flooding, etc. the government feels it has to restart the revolution of the core via the use of thermonuclear explosion, obviously. To administer said explosives they use a craft made from Unobtanium, an alloy which is scarcely believable, ahem, available I meant to say. Suffice to say they all live happily ever after and the few billion tonnes of liquid outer core just plays along with no ill aftereffects or sequential flood-type volcanism, the joys of being a Geologist. (** Dr. Josh Keyes-- the "geologist" character is actually a Seismologist-- which is totally different. Seismologists study how energy propagates THROUGH the Earth and don't actually care about rocks at all. They also don't drink beer nearly as well. The whole "playing the trumpet to a piece of granite" thing ... not so much).

Geologists are also portrayed in 'Armageddon', although a real geologist is quick to note how gravity reengaged on the asteroid when the drillers (geologist wannabes) start throwing the boring casings. The physical appearance of "Rockhound" (played by Steve Buscemi) is dead on for a field geologist, and although a bit exaggerated, his attitudes towards the opposite sex (see notes at the bottom of the page regarding relationships), his self serving interests and the way he always seems to be a "few minerals shy of the mother lode"" are pretty accurate as well.

A really good example of a retired geologist can be found in "SIX FEET UNDER". He was married 7 times and became crazy in the end.

Let us not forget that the character Charles Smithson in the Book and Movie "The French Lieutenant's Woman" is a geologist (or at least pretends to be). In true geologist fashion proceeds to make a complete, as the Brittish say, "Cock-up" of his and others lives in one of the real cinema true portrayals of the archtype. Completely out of character is casting Jeremy Irons as Smithson. Geologists only wish they were so good looking.

Anonymous said...

Another typical portrayal of a geologist is South Park's character Randy Marsh, who is Stan's father. Randy is named after South Park creator Trey Parker's own father, Randy Parker, who was also a geologist. Randy displays many typical geologist tendencies such as being called a 'scientist', but actually being of little use in many situations, and having a drinking problem.

In 'Ocean's Thirteen,' Brad Pitt's character disguises himself as a geologist and tricks the enemy into installing a seismograph in a hotel. Brad Pitt's disguise is fairly accurate, with messy hair, dirty boots, etc.

In Star Trek - TOS - nearly all of the Geologists on the Starship Enterprise were killed on assorted missions to various planets during different episodes. Their sacrifice was never remembered on the halls of Starfleet command - shocking.

Jurassic Park's Dr. Allen Grant is an excellent example of a geologist. In the beginning of the film he sells his soul for funding; all geologists do this at some point in their careers. In the fashion of real geologists, Dr. Grant dates fellow geologist Dr. Sattler in the film. He is also far more concerned with figuring out the flocking behavior of Gallimimus than rescuing the children.

In 2008 the blockbuster James Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace' featured the protagonist (Played by Daniel Craig or Barry White) falling through a sinkhole into the Bolivian subterrainean rivers. This then lead popular culture to realise that obviously underground water is stored in huge underground caverns, and it is no longer safe to walk on land, for fear of entering these damp, dark holes. Barry White then goes on to shag a redhead, a breed most favoured amongst geologists.

Indiana Jones is technically an archaeologist, but acts as a geologist would in similar situations. A real archaeologist would lie on the ground in fear, removing small particulates from artifacts with a small brush. Only geologists are sufficiently trained with leather whips.

Anonymous said...

The Great Geologist-Engineer Controversy

Geology, an art as much as a science, has always baffled and worried engineers. And while geologists have provided mankind with massive sources of energy such as coal, gas, and flatulence, engineers have been relegated to merely designing tanks to hold these natural resources. Engineers tend to carry defensive weapons of pocket protectors, slide rules, black socks, and lousy humour, although these tools are a poor match for the geologist's rock hammer, hand lens, and Brunton\Breithaupt compass. Note that Microsoft software engineers have neglected to include Brunton or Breithaupt in the Microsoft Word spelling check. Differing world view is a fundamental reason for Geologist-Engineer conflict. Geologists view the world as a beautiful array of possibilities and a wealth of variability; a terrifying idea for detail obsessed and pigeon-holing Engineers. Rough estimates and 'back of the envelope calculations' have long conflicted with engineers' need definitive and quantifiable answers.

Geologists, secure in their vague estimates have forever conflicted with engineers and their need for a definitive, quantifiable answer since the building of the pyramids. The ancient Egyptian engineers had determined that the Great Pyramid would require 6961105709.356732519874886510 metric tons of stone blocks to construct. The ancient Egyptian geologists yawned and disagreed. When it turned out that only 6961105709.356732519874886509 metric tons were required, the geologists sneered and said, "I told you your calculations were wrong." The geologists, having been proven correct and superior, have been envied by engineers since that fateful day.

Adding further heat to the argument, Engineers commonly envy a Geologist's ability to take time off from his work. Geologists tend to carry their paraphernalia with them even while on break. Hence a Geologist strolling through the park or hiking around a property is viewed as 'on the job' by his or her superiors or employer, ergo always maintaining a facade of hard work. This infuriates engineers, who seldom get time off, nor any pleasure from their work. Similar activities by an engineer may result in demotion or unemployment, thus stoking the fire of their fury at the superior Geologist.

Subclasses of "normal" Engineers are the Geo-technical and Mining Engineers.

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candee02hiker said...

Im a geologist in the state with 3 years experience ( with 4yr degree). I recently visited the Philippines and fell in love with the country. If any1 has contacts that will be hiring a geologist please help me out. You can contact me at candee02hiker@yahoo.com please title it Philippine job. Thx

Anonymous said...

i'm a sophomore geology student in NORSU it is a state university here in Dumaguete City..the tuition is so cheap..but still having problems with the lack of teachers..I really appreciate your blog about geology.

Anonymous said...

i am a geologist by profession...and im saying that its not all about the money...geology is about passion...a hobby...that at the end of the day you can achieve something that will satisfy yourself as being one...remember that there is a cycle for the profession, especially if you work in the private sector(exploration companies...etc)salary is all dependent on the price of metal...the higher the price of metal in the world market...the higher the value of the geologist...as word of advice...do not take geology as a profession...if its all for money...at the end of the day you will be frustrated...cheers

Anonymous said...

I am an AB graduate, and geology is uhm "not related" to it. But I am quite interested in becoming a geologist. Before I took an AB I was really planning to take geology. However, I fear that I may excel in the field - I am average in math and science. However, I really do want to become a geologist. Is there hope for me?

Anonymous said...

thanks for some information here sir. im a graduating student and im planning to take geology or geological science and engineering in mapua and adamson.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud Geological Engineering student from MAPUA. \m/ and as what I have heard to my professors though you're not yet a licensed geologist you can still earn 50k per month.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the infos... I really enjoyed reading your article.... and as of now., I was to close to choose this kind of profession., I wish that by this time.., i got the right decision.

Anonymous said...

may i ask if do you need to have a masteral or what so ever aside from graduating a bs geology to have a monthly salary of 120K?

leather coat said...

nice post love reading it.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a qualified geologist to estimate our ore reserves in the Davao region. kindly send your resume to sygayiv@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

We are a US base company and is currently looking for an experienced geologist with passion in mining. Our area involves Davao Region. Interested parties may submit their resume to sygayiv@gmail.com. Opportunity to travel US is certainly an add on benefit to this offer on top of excellent benefits. www.crystalminingcorp.com

Anonymous said...

We are a US base company and is currently looking for an experienced geologist with passion in mining. Our area involves Davao Region. Interested parties may submit their resume to sygayiv@gmail.com. Opportunity to travel US is certainly an add on benefit to this offer on top of excellent benefits. www.crystalminingcorp.com

Ralden said...

hi, anu-ano pa ba ang pwedeng makuhang scholarship bukod sa dost scholarship..? thanks