MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines bagged two awards in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) recently held in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Science Education Institute (SEI) reported yesterday.
FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a US-based organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989, aimed at inspiring young people to engage in science and technology.
Philippine team 3105 or “Lagablab,” the sole participant from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, received the “Highest Rookie Seed Award” and the “Rookie All-Star Award” in the FRC, besting six other high school teams from the United States.
Team Lagablab, composed of 20 junior high school students from the Philippine Science High School Quezon City Campus, with its robot “Larry Labuyo” ranked 17th out of 33 competing teams with a record of five wins, five losses and one draw.
Team Lagablab will compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship to be held in Atlanta, Georgia from April 16 to 18.
Lagablab is the Filipino term for flame, burning strong and bright.
The Highest Rookie Seed Award is given to the neophyte team that gets the highest seed at the conclusion of the qualifying rounds, the SEI said.
On the other hand, the Rookie All-Star Award is given to a new team exemplifying a young but strong partnership effort, as well as implementing the mission of FIRST to inspire students to learn more about science and technology, the agency said.
The award was given at the closing ceremony of the FRC Hawaii Regional held from March 26 to 28 at the Stan Sheriff Center at the University of Hawaii in Manoa.
The event was attended by Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona.
Team Lagablab defeated teams from Prospect High School, Mililani High School, Damien Memorial High School, Farrington High School, Mid-Pacific Institute and Kalani High School, all from the US.
Aside from the US, other countries participating in the FRC are Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Israel, Brazil and Chile.
SEI director Dr. Ester Ogena said the contest showed the immense potential the Philippines has in terms of human resources for robotics.
“We have found in Hawaii a treasure trove of talent and I am sure that there is more to tap in the Philippines,” Ogena said.
“We have truly shown to the world that we can do it and we can make it big in international competitions, especially in robotics,” she said.–Helen Flores, Philippine Star