by Mr. Jude Xerxes Herbolario, RMT, LPT
QUEZON CITY–Six Grade 12 students from the University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos Integrated School (UNO-R IS) emerged as champions in their respective categories during the Research Fair (RF) 2020 Research Competition held at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, January 31 to February 1. STEM-Medicine and Allied Health (STEM-MAH) students Dane Claudelle Abalayan, Maria Ella Bagaforo, and Francis Raymund Garcia topped the Life Science category with their study “Structure-Based Virtual Screening of Seaweed Metabolites as Potential Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors” with Mr. Jude Xerxes Herbolario as adviser. “Our driving force to carry out this research is the fact that Filipinos are known to have close family ties, and these connections are dented by neurodegenerative diseases which affect many elderly people,” Garcia said.
Aivan Karl Ambagan, Shanly Yanna Granada, and Molerick Paul Otero, also STEM-MAH students, were the winners in the Physical Science category with their study “Characterization of Calcium Oxide Nanoparticles from Blue Swimmer Crab (Protunus pelagicus) Exoskeletons as Fabricated Biofilter for Vehicle Gas Exhaust” with Mr. Herbolario as adviser. “Seeing the detrimental effects of air pollution on vegetation, climate, and human health urged us to use research to our advantage and help people and the environment in ways that even high school students like us can do,” Ambagan said. Both teams were the only qualifiers during the pre-evaluation round from UNO-R IS, joining 62 other studies in the poster competition which were reduced to 15 during the closed door defense round and to 6 during the final defense round. “Winning RF 2020 made us feel very overwhelmed and honored for being recognized as one of the best high school researchers in the country,” Ambagan also said. “These students stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the best student researchers from high schools all over the Philippines, most with dedicated science programs, and emerged on top, proving once again that research belongs to everyone who wants to learn so that they can help those around them,” Mr. Herbolario said. High schools from all over the country compete in the annual national Research Competition and participate in the Youth Science Convention (YSC) sub-events, organized by the UP Academic League of Chemical Engineering Students. “UP ALCHEMES created Research Fair in the idea of building nation-builders for tomorrow,” RF project co-manager Alyssa de Paño told DOSTv. “With [the students’] ideas, we can further develop our country… addressing all of the issues we have in the Philippines,” she also said.
26 other students from UNO-R IS also participated in the YSC, accompanied by Mrs. Maria Cindy Gabutas, Ms. Joy Borcelas, Mr. Joemar Flores, and Mrs. Jen Navarro for three days of science and technology seminars and national laboratory tours. The SHS students were Isaiah Miguel Villanueva, Jerryle Siasat, Therese Dedory, Dannel Jumayao, Abigail Cordova, John Lester Trafiero, Josh Aldrich Diola, Justin John Velez, Larie Shem Natal, Mackenzie Fruylan, Janus Esportuno, April Ditchella, Andrea Sales, Princess Paula Belicena, Ivan Caminian, Renzo Caballeda, Bianca Belle Grometes, Czareena Ocampo, Lora dela Rosa, Jeremae Tinsay, Juan Ancheta, Elaiza Agudo, and Angel John Dungca.