Sunday, October 19, 2008

GREAT TEACHERS - Joedec and Doc E

I have met two professors in civil engineering who possessed utmost enthusiasm and passion in teaching. The first one was Joedec, the late Prof. Jose Ma. De Castro of the University of the Philippines College of Engineering. JoeDec was my professor when I was pursuing my BSCE undergraduate course at UP Diliman. He was my professor in the Structural Engineering series subjects – CE53, CE54, CE55 and CE 56. JoeDec is a teacher who comes to class fully prepared with his teaching paraphernalia and up-to-date information about the subject. It was from him that I was introduced to the three basic tools in structural analysis – equilibrium, constitutive and compatibility equations in CE53. I still remember our exam in CE54 where we were asked to analyze a trapezoidal-shaped RC section – that was not easy! It was in CE55 that we were first introduced to the state-of-the-art computer-aided structural analysis using computer cards and main frame computers. In CE56, he taught us special topics like design of col-formed steel sections and analysis of footings on elastic foundations. I have never understood everything Joedec taught us, but I was inspired to study hard. Joedec never earned a PhD degree but with his vast knowledge in various topics in civil engineering, he deserves one!

The other CE professor is Prof. Romeo A. Estanero who retired in December 2007 after more than 21 years of teaching at De La Salle University – Manila. Prof. Estanero or popularly known as Doc E was not my professor but he is a colleague in the profession. He was the CE Department chair when I applied for a teaching position at DLSU in 1994. I have observed Doc E when he delivers his lectures in the classroom and in conferences - it was informative, lively and full of animated body language. His whole body is a teaching aid – he bends, sways, wiggles when he teaches topics such as buckling behavior of columns or traffic loads in bridges. He is innovative and up-to-date in his teaching. He uses models and posters in structural design courses. He enhances the teaching of RC design through laboratory destructive testing of concrete beams. Doc E used computers effectively in the classroom via powerpoint presentations and spreadsheet computations. I can still remember when Doc E had a mild stroke - he just took a one month sick leave and then continued his teaching at DLSU until his retirement - that's dedication! Doc E, although he has retired from teaching, continuously inspires young students and engineers in various CE seminars.

Joedec and Doc E are two great and outstanding Filipino professors in civil engineering. For them, teaching and learning are lifelong endeavors.

Video: Doc E talks about Bridge Design Principles at the CES Bridge Seminar held at DLSU last Oct 11, 2008.


  1. One of the reasons why I chose the academe is that I found inspiration to two civil engineering professors, who happened to be both structural engineers. I agree with Doc Andy of his insights about Doc E. Similarly, in UPD I met this former Chancellor who happened to be my former professor in the MSCE-Structural Eng'g major subject named CE201 (Matrix Theory of Structures): Dr. Ernesto G. Tabujara. (I think, this is not the proper venue to discuss this matter, because he's in UPD. But many DLSU-M CE alumni who took graduate studies in UPD undergone this one of a kind professor. And it was one helluva experience, even this very moment, I can still see his face staring at me while asking a seemingly easy question but very hard to answer.) Doc E inspired me a lot in learning while appreciating the principles in STREMAT,STRANA1,RCPRINS,BRIDGES,& PRESDES. He would always say that "...It is the principle that matters...the application follows." I remember the stories in STREMAT (or STRANA1?) about the time when he was one of the engineers in the construction of the Film Center of the Philippines...the board piles installed for the building foundation which resembled the shape of Noah's ark(!)...him saying a quote from the song in the musical Sound of Music: "Nothing comes from nothing." when he was referring to formulas used in one of our major examinations...assertiveness when he defended his doctoral thesis something about torsional reinforcement in columns as he challenged the provisions from ACI. I was put into deep thinking when I attended one of the ASEP Seminars and he was one of the keynote speakers about the use of a parabolic shape of concrete's compressive strength in the analysis of a singly-reinforced RC beam, I've observed that Doc E saying that he is a believer of, sometime in the near future, there will be an NSCP which is truly a Code made by Filipino Structural Engineers, not copied from the Americans.
    As I grow old, I was thinking that there's common denominator about my two great teachers: they are both fond of the humanities, but dare not test their capability about technical know-how and you'll be amazed of what they will share to you...IT'S THE WISDOM...In Latin, A bove majori discit arare minor - The young ox learns to plough from the older.

  2. Most unforgettable phrase from Doc E... "in just a click of the mouse". He always says that in class, he really wants everything computerized. Most unforgettable gesture by Doc Andy, a long look, and then a smile.

    You guys make me want to go back to school. Thanks for everything, makes me feel sorry for not pursuing this profession.

    Ale (ID 98)

  3. For UST Please Add:
    Dean De Alban
    Engr. Ogden Javier

    I am gratefull that I have been taught by my passionate teachers.

  4. I was inspired by your post sir, given a chance to teach struct subjects, i will also first teach them these basis of structural analysis 'equilibrium, constitutive and compatibility'.