Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Filipino science prodigies bagged 11 silver medals at the recent 14th International Robot Olympiad (IRO) held in South Korea to give the Philippines its best finish so far in an international robotics competition.
Fifty-four Filipino high school and nine grade school students from eight schools competed against students from other countries in designing and building robots in this year's edition of the IRO held in Gwangju.
After the three-day competition, 11 Filipino students received silver medals at award ceremonies on December 20.
"This is the best year for the Philippines in any robot Olympiad," said Melvin Matulac, founder of Pinoy Robot Games who is also the Philippine representative to the IRO.
Matulac said it was the first time the Philippines won silver medals in regular categories of the competition.
Five high school students from Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba won silver in two categories, Creative and Robot Shove.
Six students from Grace Christian College in Quezon City-three in grade school and three in high school-won silver medals in the Creative and Challenge categories, respectively.
"One of our entries was an invention that should be entered for patenting. It is patent-equivalent because it is a new invention," said Matulac.
He was referring to the robot built by the team of Charles Josua Alba, Ross Angelo Negrillo and Layne Joselle Banez of Letran Calamba.
The students constructed the entire robot from scratch.
Matulac said the original entry would have won the gold medal in the Creative category except that the team was not able to finish all the wiring in time.
"They were able to make it work but not fully since they were not able to make all the connections," he said.
The other silver medalists in the Creative category were Arvin John Garcia and Sean Vince Ruel Maningas of Letran Calamba; Alexis Diane Ngo, Jonathan Daniel Ong and Jeremy Lance, and Edrich Hans Chua, Arvy Daniel Ngo and Sabrina Santiago, all of Grace Christian College.
Six students also received "highly commended" awards for their creations.
They were Isabela Kristine Tan and David Michael Josiah of MGC New Life Christian Academy in Taguig City; Ron Daniel Sabayo, Eulavio Dan Sola and Anwar Obadiah Tan of San Isidro National High School in Northern Samar, and Emmanuel Nipal Jr. of Capitol Hills Christian School in Quezon City.
The Fellowship Baptist College in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, also sent students to the competition.
The Philippines has been participating in the annual competition for the last five years.