MODENA, Italy – Four young aspiring Filipino scientists won medals, including the first ever gold for the Philippines, at the 5th International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) held here last September 5-14, 2011.
The victory brought joy for the young achievers as they fulfilled their personal dreams and gave glory to the Philippines.
“I feel really happy and proud because it is the first time that the Philippines got a gold medal and this just proves that the Filipinos can be at par with other countries or even be better than them,”said gold medalist Williard Joshua Jose from the Philippine Science High School main campus.
Jose was also a silver medalist in the 7th International Junior Science Olympiad in Nigeria last year.
“We went here to Italy bringing the hope of giving honor to our country and I’m happy we did not fail and we’re able to bring her honor and happier because this is the first time that the Philippines got four medals out of four,”added silver medalist Christopher Jan Landicho of the Philippine Science High School–Bicol Region Campus.
The other silver medalist, Charles Kevin Tiu of Saint Jude Catholic School Manila, in addition takes pride in being an inspiration to others to appreciate earth science.
“I feel happy because I was able to represent my country and I hope that I serve as inspiration to all young people to appreciate and love science especially earth science”said Tiu.
Bronze medalist John Allan Olesco from Aquinas University science-oriented high school in Legazpi City, the youngest in the team, quipped: “with perseverance, you can achieve and you can reach for your dreams.”
Though their personal motivation varies, they share a common desire and wish that their victory may inspire other young people to treasure whatever interest they may have for earth science and further cultivate their knowledge.
The four were joined by two mentors – Prof. Miguel Cano of Bicol University and Dr. Marietta De Leon of UP Diliman.
Cano, who led the Philippine delegation to the 5th IESO, was the chair of the 2nd IESO held in the Philippines in 2008, while De Leon holds two doctorate degrees (Geology and Education).
The Philippine team was also joined by Dr. Helen Caintic, current director of Philippine Science High School main campus as an observer.
The 5th IESO
The IESO, which aims to promote awareness and appreciation for geosciences, is one of the major activities of the International Geoscience Education Organization or IGEO and is spearheaded by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS).
It is an annual world competition for young people 18 years of age or below. The participants are trained and their knowledge tested in different fields of geosciences which include geology, geophysics, meteorology, oceanography, terrestrial astronomy and environmental sciences.
“Earth Science Renaissance: Science, Environment and Art” is this year’s theme, which drew 26 competing countries and 104 students contestants and 9 observer countries. Every competing country delegation is composed of four members.
The actual competition is divided into two parts. The first part is the theoretical examination which measures or tests the extent of knowledge or information a contestant has on the particular field of geoscience. The second part is the practical examination where the participant conducts a scientific investigation in order to provide solution to the problem fielded.
The Philippines has actively participated since the IESO’s inception in 2007. It has hosted the 2nd IESO in 2008 which was held in Legazpi City, Bicol Region.
The Philippines hopes to continue to be an active IESO participant, but there is the issue of lack of funding. Luckily, there are private organizations which are keen on supporting this kind of undertaking.
“When we go to South America next year, we need a lot of funding. We’re very thankful to the mining companies who supported us financially like Philex Mining, Rapu-Rapu Mining, Hope Christian High school, Geological Society of the Philippines, Vibal Publishing House,and here in Italy, we have been supported by the Apo Central,”Cano said.
The country is now preparing for the next competition, as four students who will represent the Philippines in 2012 IESO in Buenos Aires, Argentina have already been chosen. (Zita Baron)