GBF Young Scientist Awardees recognized in 2019 Intel ISEF
E’van Relle Tongol, Shaira Gozun, and Neil David Cayanan created a sound absorption material out of locally available fibers
May 18, 2019

Three students from Pampanga made the Philippines proud as they received an honorable mention during the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona.  

Grade 10 student E’van Relle Tongol, together with Grade 11 students Shaira Gozun, and Neil David Cayanan of Angeles City Science High School created a sound absorption material out of locally available fibers abaca, bamboo, and water hyacinth. Titled “Hibla”, their research is one of the country’s six entries to the prestigious science competition.

The recognition was given by the Acoustical Society of America, which aims to “generate, disseminate and promote the knowledge and practical applications of acoustics.”

The inspiration for their project was the noise that they observed in public schools. Since several public schools divide one room to accommodate two or more classes, noise while conducting classes class has been inevitable. They also found out that the main cause of the annual flooding in their home province Pampanga is due to the overabundance of water hyacinth.

“Naisip po naming: Paano naming [masosolusyunan] ang isang problema gamit ang isang problema?” said Tongol. (We thought: How do we solve one problem with another problem?)

“Hibla” reached ISEF after it won as Best Team Research in Physical Science during the 2019 Department of Education National Science and Technology Fair.

The researchers’ dedication was also given recognition when they received the first Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Award. The award is given by GBF to students who exhibit excellence in Science and Technology. Aside from the award, GBF also supported the team, and the other nine Philippine delegates, with an all-expense paid trip to Arizona.

 “We are proud to have supported these brilliant students to this year’s ISEF. Their victory is a testament that Filipino students, despite having limited resources, are capable of developing ingenious products and high-quality research,” said GBF Executive Director Grace Colet.

“This inspires us to stay true to our thrust of advancing STEM education in the Philippines. We hope that with this victory, more students will be motivated to pursue a STEM track and develop their own research projects,” she added.

Aside from “Hibla”, the Philippines has two other team entries and three individual entries to the international competition. 

Taguig Science High School’s John Eric Aggarao, Kathleen Chloie Antonio, and Anna Beatriz Suavengco studied the possible organic solution to brown eye spot disease attacking Kapeng Barako plants. Meanwhile, Alpha Acain, Lester Sabadao, and Lia Denise Tan of Cagayan National High School designed a prototype that can assist farmers in drying and storing their rice harvests.

For the individual research, Maria Isabel Layson of Iloilo National High School presented the antidiabetic properties of aratiles and how it can help produce dietary supplements. Quezon National High School’s Nathaniel Reyes also demonstrated how cornstalk biochar composite can treat algae infestation in lakes and fish ponds. Maryjoise Karla Buan of Pangasinan National High School invented a device that can detect illegal logging activities in forest areas.

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