MANY events have happened last September 21 other than the activities that brought by the anniversary of which the 45-year-old Martial Law proclamation by former president Ferdinand Marcos, which became a National Day of Protest as announced by President Rodrigo Duterte.
For one, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Northern Mindanao has slated its annual Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (Rice), a yearly event that both students and professionals attend to showcase their scientific inventions and creative works.
This year, there were a total of 357 participants, composed of 99 groups across Northern Mindanao put up their works dominated by mostly college and high school students comprising of a total 78 groups or 300 participants.
One very interesting creation from a group of high school students was beauty soap, but unlike in any commercial soaps or organic-based soaps in the market today, its composition is come from the “bioactive constituents” of cucumber, “tawa-tawa” or garden shpurge/asthma plant, and freshwater snails belonging to the “channeled applesnail” species (Pomacea canaliculata).
These were developed by Arvin Gerard Alfeche, John Carlo Jumao-as, and Richie Rico from Iligan City East High School in Iligan City. They dubbed it as the “CUTAIL” soap, an “all-natural medicinal beauty soap” that has the slime of of the snail, and extract of cucumber and tawa-tawa. According to these students, based on their experiments, snail slimes can be a contributing factor in making an improved and healthy skin something that commercial soaps overlooked at (or if there are any, these soap companies did not declare it to the public).
Meanwhile, graduating college students who studied Education majoring in Physics brought the possibility of harnessing electricity from waste-water, by making a fuel cell or chamber that can bring out electric power from its source. This was created as a thesis work by Jubillo Bel-ida and Merry Cris Malalis who studied in La Salle University in Ozamiz City.
Based on their prototype output, it can generate to a maximum of 2-voltage power, but Malalis explained that it can be adopted to a bigger operation.
“It can be used in a large-scale (industrial) use, you put-up large tanks where you can collect the waste-water,” she said. “The more polluted the water is, the more possibility that it can produce voltage because it has more bacteria, that helps oxidize electrons.”
Malalis and Bel-ida’s work could go as much as contributing to the country’s, especially Mindanao’s, power supply that would save the people from paying expensive power rates. Although the dilemma here is that in order to sustain such project, there should be a consistent source of waste-water - polluted water, something that contradicts the environmental aim to have clean water sources.
Although there are flaws that have yet to be improved, but these students were able to set the mark of where future Filipino scientists can start. Since Rice is a yearly event, imagine other scientific works being displayed in the previous years - all filled with potentials that could actually make our lives better or at least create industries to generate labor and career opportunities.
But, sadly enough, there lies a reality in the country of which development of science and technology in the country is always being at the backseat of every government plans and priority, which leads for budding scientists to work overseas and contribute their works later on to the foreign countries that supported them.
Another sad reality that majority of the Filipino public’s psyche is not yet welcoming to science and technology innovations made by other Filipinos, believing that it is a waste of time and that food and bills to pay are their top concerns inside the household, not to mention the daily fanfare of showbiz and politics.
There are many attempts to make science and technology mainstream, but these have to be seen in the next generations to come. The challenge now is how can we help science and technology a need, so that everyone can participate down to the grassroots.
We already have scientists and even so many youths have potential to become one, it is overflowing, and we also need to motivate them to continue their pursuit for making this country improved with the help of science and technology.