The opening program was graced by Dr. Florentino Tesoro who represented Congressman Angelo B. Palmones (AGHAM Partylist), Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo (VSU President), Prof. K. Stahr (Germany), Mr. Deogracias Pernites (representing Mayor Carmen Cari of Baybay City), Dr. Cezar Mamaril (PSSST Adviser), Dr. Eduardo Paningbatan (PSSST Adviser), Ms. Constancia Mangao (PSSST President) and Dr. Victor B. Asio (Dean of the College of Agriculture, VSU).
Prof. Dr. Karl Stahr, the Chairman of Division I of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), gave the keynote lecture about the limestone soils in Southeast Asia particularly Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Dr. Gamini Keerthisinghe of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) gave a plenary paper on challenges to sustainable crop production.
A total of 26 oral papers were presented dealing with various soil topics ranging from fertilization to soil characterization and geospatial modeling. In addition, 25 poster papers were presented. The presenters of the best oral and poster papers were awarded with certificates and cash.
In the afternoon of the last day of the conference, a post-conference tour was organized and sponsored by the Department of Agronomy and Soil Science of VSU to Lake Danao located at 630 m ASL in the central highlands of Leyte. On the way to the lake, the participants were able to see the following: 1) the City of Ormoc; 2) the mouth and headwater of Anilao River which caused the tragic flooding of Ormoc City in 1991 killing 8,000 people; 3) the volcanic landscape which was traditionally used for large-scale sugarcane production; 4) the 1,912 ha Lake Danao along the Philippine Fault Line; 5) an Andisol soil profile (Typic Hapludand); and 6) the Tongonan Geothermal Plant, one of the largest in Asia.
Overall, the conference was a great success. The attendance of Prof. Stahr from the University of Hohenheim in Germany and Dr. Keerthisinghe from ACIAR in Australia gave the conference an international standing especially since Prof. Stahr represented the IUSS of which PSSST is a member.
The Department of Agronomy and Soil Science of VSU which co-hosted the conference, is grateful to the VSU president for the encouragement and support, and the officers and advisers particularly Dr. Cezar Mamaril of PSSST for bringing the conference to VSU.