This article was first published on DOST by Allan Mauro V. Marfal
Science awareness in the Philippines is poised to take off for higher ground. With the mounting of the 1st Philippine International Science Fair, a platform is raised for science and technology (S&T) specialists and students all over Asia-Pacific to exchange ideas and help develop among the Filipino youth a mindset geared toward S&T.
Organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) in partnership with First Pacific Learning Academy, the international fair which carried the theme “Building a Culture of Science” was held from February 3-6, 2013 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
One of the activities during the four-day event was the Community Fair where more than 60 students from the PSHS System as well as schools from select Asia-Pacific countries presented their research findings and shared their experiences in front of an audience composed of S & T enthusiasts, specialists, students, and the general public.
Aside from instilling among students the value of research and its proper applications, the science fair also aimed to bridge the divide between science and the general public. In particular, the fair served as a training ground for the students on how to best present their research projects to a wider segment of the population, including those not well versed in S& T, and thus break the barriers faced by science researchers and communicators.
“It is heartening to note that young students are being trained in the rudiments of research. They are also encouraged to share their results in the larger science community. This recognizes and affirms the endeavors of our scholars,” DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo said.
Dr. Josette P. Biyo, executive director of PSHS System, added that aside from popularizing science, making it alive, and bringing it closer to the hearts of the people, the said fair hopes to inspire the youth to love science and encourage them to pursue S&T careers in the future.
Among the researches and studies by PSHS students presented during the science fair were . “Production of Seed-oil Derived Biodiesel from Garcinia magostana” by Christine C. Bautista and Paradau Laarnie P. Valerio of PSHS Main Campus, “Bioethanol Production from Enzymatically Saccharified Thysanolena latifolia (Tiger Grass)” by Janreich F. Miramon, Ruel Jan Anthony A. Moldez, and Matthew Martin P. Sanchez of PSHS-Central Visayas, and “Health Status of the High School Students in Balo-I, Lanao Del Norte Based on Body Mass Index” by Madelein D. Sorino and Jommalyn M. Tabal of PSHS-Central Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the following research projects were presented by students from other parts of the Asia-Pacific region: “Realization of Structural Colors of Morpho Butterflies by Printing Photonic Crystal Nanobeads” by students from Korea Science Academy of KAIST in South Korea, “Experimental and Computational Studies in Porphyrin Derivatives for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell” by students from Mahidol Wittayanusom School in Thailand, and “Solving Environmental Problem Using Quality Control Circles (QCC) by students from Penang, Malaysia.
Aside from the Community Fair, the 1st Philippine International Science Fair also featured a Science Congress, Students Summit, exhibits, sessions with S & T experts, study critique, and other activities geared toward generating greater interest on S & T and highlighting its indispensable role in solving pressing national problems.
The S & T experts who participated in the event were Dr. Edsel Maurice T. Salvaña, hailed as one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World for 2012; National Scientist Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz, 2010 L’Oreal-UNESCO Woman of Science awardee; and Earl Martin Valencia, named among the New Faces of Engineering for 2007 in Los Angeles.