Celebrating the Ibaloy Festival at the beautiful Burnham Park of Baguio City. This experience made me so happy, because I celebrated Filipino tradition (in attire), in a beautiful public space, in one of my favorite cities. (April 2019)

Ragene Andrea Palma

About me

Call me Jean. I consider myself an urbanist. I am also a licensed planner in the Philippines.

In 2020, I finished my MA International Planning and Sustainable Development at the University of Westminster (Distinction) – Spatial Pathway.Β I’ve previously worked with development organizations (UN Habitat, UNDP, UN Women), and right now, I’m currently with IOM, working on a project looking at the nexus of the climate crisis and human mobility.

Sharing about citizen action and urban planning during a Civic Saturday session in Escolta, as a volunteer initiative for People Make Cities. Photo (c) Julia Nebrija
Sharing about public spaces and placemaking learnings from the US during the 2018 PIEP National Convention in Iloilo City. Photo (c) Jon Gales

About the blog

I created this blog right after my planning licensure exam in 2015. Back then, board takers, especially outside Metro Manila, did not have access to knowledge and resources to study for the exam, so I wrote down my experience, and shared my notes and understanding from my own review. This small project reached thousands of aspiring planners, and empowered them to gain more knowledge on cities and urban perspectives. It also brought me to our country’s many islands to teach what I knew. It was heartwarming to learn that some printed my blog and turned it into a book, and that people shared how being able to study for free was so important, especially in less well-off areas. My students in eventual review sessions shared with me both the wonders and the challenges of their home towns, and to date, some students send me messages or durian products, which I love.

Since 2017, Feedspot has listed my blog as part of the top 100 urban planning blogs. The blog is also recognized in Brittanica’s feature of my work under the 20 under 40 Young Shapers of the Future (Urban Studies). Maraming salamat po.

Blog visitor statistics show how Filipinos utilized the board review series in preparation for the annual June licensure exam.
Feedspot’s Blog Medal, and printed copies of my blog from a review session in Negros Occidental.

Work in Philippine planning and development

Most of my career was dedicated to development planning. I started doing local plans with municipalities, back when I was studying in UP SURP, then I worked with various development organizations, which allowed me to work on local economies, post-disaster and post-conflict rehabilitation and planning.

As a young leader

I was blessed to represent the country as a young leader in some international events, including the Professional Fellowship (implemented by the US Department of State), and the Regional Workshop for Urban Planning and Smart Growth Singapore (implemented by the US Embassy Singapore and the Singapore Institute of Planners), both of which were under the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative. I learned about placemaking and public spaces, greening and biophilia, and so many more city planning initiatives through these programs. Read more about these here.

Higher studies, and research interests

Through the Chevening scholarship, I studied international planning in London from 2019 to 2020, and if I may say, immersing in the city was so rewarding for someone who studies places. While I have yet to write about my stay, learnings, and travel in the UK, something I’d like to share is my research project, which is about cities of care. I frame my work from Doreen Massey’s World City, and look into the invisibility and recognition of the Filipino health and care community as an ethnic ‘other’ in London. Read more about my thesis here, or download the full copy here. In the course of my study, I became fascinated with urban sociology and theory, which I hope to explore more in further studies.

My writing on urban affairs also appears in different media, such as CNN Philippines, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, topos Magazine, The Nature of Cities, and other platforms. Some topics I explore are feminist cities, greening, informality, and inequalities. I would love to have conversations about the city, so if you’d like to check my thoughts out, read my pieces here, and leave me a message. Cheers!

36 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Jean, I’ve read with interest your blog posts. Your articles on planning are highly readable, and you have the talent for effective communication.

    I also enjoyed reading your EnP Board Review Series.

    Oh yes, I also consulted for U.N. Habitat Philippines (2015), where I was Legal Advisor for ASUD, particularly for PCE Silay, Iloilo and CDO.

    I am a real estate lawyer, a REALTOR, etc. with passion for planning.
    I’m glad I came across your blog.


    1. Hello, Sir Eli. Thank you for the very kind words, especially on the board series. I’m glad to know we’re ASUD colleagues, though for different cities. I hope to get to work with you in the future. πŸ™‚


      1. Hi mam Jean, ako si boboy i just wanted to say Thank you for the EnP Reviewer Materials you posted in MissUrbanite…it really really help me. again thank you i hope marami ka pang mainspire at matulungan to become 1 of Us.


  2. Hi Ms. Jean, im planning to apply for EnP licensure exam this year. But my concern is that i just graduated march of 2012. May chance ba na ma approve ung file ko kung sakali?, given the experience that i have right now.


  3. Good day! I am Merva Arapo of DENR-Environmental Management Bureau, we will have Green Bloggers Forum on June 7,2016. We noticed your blog and we would like to invite you to our a “Blog Talk” a green bloggers forum. Please send us your email add, and we will be glad to send you the invitation and other detail to your email. Thanks


  4. Hi, mam jean! I’ve followed ur blogs thru ur post on fb. .mam,i’m planning to take the exam next year, starting to download and read some of the reviewer that sir david gave to us. .but as i saw that there are plenty of laws , i dont knw where and how to start. . But mam jean after i read ur blogs right now, am so much interested to follow ur review series for me to start on. . . thanks so much, mam jean!πŸ‘


  5. Hi Ma’am Jean,
    I came across “Air Quality in the Philippines 2008 – 2015” in slideshare and was wondering if I can possibly have a copy of it? I would like to use some information in there for my graduate thesis and be able to reference them properly. This was the most recent paper I was able to find as other reports are outdated. I am from SLU, Baguio taking up Envi Engg.
    Thank you and more power!


  6. Hi miss jean, napaka helpful nitong blog mo para s tulad kong balak mag take ng EnP board exam this coming june 2017. But just reading some of your posted reviewers i i saw that there are plenty of laws i really don’t think i can make it. But just as i read your blog saying a one of a very popular brand “Just do it”, that’s when my mind refresh and am so much interested to follow ur review series for me to start on.


    1. Hi miss jean, napaka helpful nitong blog mo para s tulad kong balak mag take ng EnP board exam this coming june 2017. But just reading some of your posted reviewers i i saw that there are plenty of laws i really don’t think i can make it. But just as i read your blog saying a one of a very popular brand β€œJust do it”, that’s when my mind refresh and am so much interested to follow ur review series for me to start on. I am from cagayan province soon to be MDRRMO
      Thank you and more power.!!


  7. Hi ma’am! this is Pats Oliva from Health Care without Harm – Asia and we’d like to request for your contact details? We’d like to invite you to our #ChooseHealthyEnergy Campaign Launch this week.

    thank you again!

    Pats Oliva


  8. Hi Jean,
    I recently read your blogpost on The Nature Of Cities, and then continued here. I worked in climate change and clean transportation in China as a grantmaker and am now trying to understand the transportation issues in the metropolitan areas of Southeast Asia. I would love to be connected and here your perspectives.


  9. Hi Ms. Jean thanks for the materials I got on this blog of yours and the UP Plano team. I passed the EnP Board Exam. I’m #541, hope to see you drop by here in Marikina City Hall πŸ™‚


    Engr. Lisa Palomar
    Planning Office
    Marikina City


  10. Hello po! Im currently a graduating student taking up BS Environmental Science.

    May I ask if I can pursue to become an environmental planner? And can you suggest where can I get some planning experiences to fulfill the 5-year requirement for the EnP board exam?
    Thank you!


    1. Hello, Kean. Yes, I encourage you to pursue the profession. We need more planners in the country. You can ask your local government unit if they welcome interns in the Planning Office, or look for opportunities in organizations that work on cities and urban planning, such as UN HABITAT, PIEP, League of Cities, ICLEI, etc. πŸ™‚


      1. Thank you so much, Ma’am. I do want to focus more on environmental protection, restoration, and conservation which leads me to be interested in this profession so that I can make a small difference and be part of the change. 😊


  11. Greetings Miss Jean, I’m a senior high school student and I’ve just recently come across your blog. I’ve been meaning to consult either an environmental or urban planner in helping me make a decision. I’ve recently been accepted to ADMU in their AB Social Science program but I’ve recently appealed to shift to their BS Environmental Science program. I’ve also been accepted in MC’s BS Environmental Planning and Management program. I’m now waiting for my UPCAT results but in the case that I pass my program of choice (BS Geography), from which of the three schools with their program offerings do you think would best serve my purpose of becoming either an urban planner specializing in sustainability and environmental issues or an environmental planner like yourself? Thank you in advance!


    1. Hi Allysa, first of all, congrats on getting accepted into the programs! All three courses are related to urban and regional planning, so any choice would do. πŸ™‚ I’ll e-mail you some insights soon. πŸ™‚


  12. Hello po Miss Jean! I’m a Filipino undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Political Science and Public Administration here in Turkey. I want to combine my field of interests to help back in my home country so I am really interested in pursuing a career in urban planning one day. My plan is to go back to the Philippines after my studies and is it a good recommendation to pursue a masters degree in urban planning in UP-SURP or first gain some planning experiences before proceeding to study the degree? Thank you and much appreciated! God bless po


  13. Hello Ms. Jean,

    I’m really thankful with this blog and of course you. This blog helped me pursue the last PRC 2018 Urban Planning board examination (June 2018) for any four -year course graduate. I’m a licensed real estate broker by profession and now an EnP as well. Arch. Jun Palafox and Arch. Armando Alli are my main inspirations to reshape our country. I’m still dreaming that one day we can be a first world country just like Singapore and other neighboring countries.
    My dilemma is after passing the board, I don’t know where to go. I really want to help in developing the traffic system here in our country. Too much time is wasted everytime especially in CBDs. Congested roads, too much vehicles and no sufficient walk paths and bike paths make the matter worst. BS Accountancy is my undergraduate course.

    Glad if you can give me advice. Thank you so much! More powers!


  14. Hello! Nice to know about your blog. It is interesting to see young people like you to be active in urban planning. Good luck and hope you inspire more young people to do the same. All the best.


  15. I would like to congratulate you on your prolific writings, I had the opportunity to read your piece in yesterday’s Inquirer on Petropolis – well done.
    However, there is one area where we are diametrically opposite in our beliefs.
    If you are interested then please email me, I temporarily have abandoned FB but still loyal to. WP, Twitter, Medium, and G
    When you have hours to spare check out HG Wells writing, I think over 100 books plus stories articles….
    tc, hermitthewriter


  16. Good day, Ms. Jean! Thank you for your articles. I’ve been following them especially the ones on Philippine Daily Inquirer. I would just like to ask, do you have any advice on young individuals like me who want to study at UP SURP? I want to be an environmental planner too but I am still hesitant if it’s the right path for me.


  17. Hi Jean, I’m not from an urban planning background myself but loved reading your posts! I discovered your website when I was researching YSEALI’s Professional Fellowship on environmental sustainability. Was wondering if you’d be open to connecting via email so I can ask you some questions about your experience? My email is linked to my name so you know where to reach me if you’re comfortable with sharing more over email πŸ™‚


  18. Hi Ms. Jean I just wanna say thank you for your lecture/presentation on our NLP-ENP Review here at Baguio City. Hope to pass the EnP exam on June 2019.
    Also, i do hope to meet you again sometime.


  19. A pleasant day Ma’am Jean, I’m honored to be a new member of the prestigious Environmental Planners family. I owe most of the success from your generous sharing of articles and reading materials. Thank you very much. God Bless.

    Julius V. Santos
    Baguio City


  20. Hi Ms. Jean, good day!
    This is Gigi from TV Patrol, ABS-CBN.
    I’d like to congratulate you for being one of Britannica’s 20 Under 40: Young Shapers of the Future.
    We’re hoping to feature you in one of our segments on TV Patrol.
    I sent you a message on facebook regarding this.
    Thank you. πŸ™‚


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