With a hit on the bull’s eye, Palawan State University (PSU) Laboratory High School recently won the right to represent the Philippines in the Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) Water Rocket Competition in Japan this November 29-30, 2014.
Beating 19 other teams from Palawan, Pampanga, Cebu and Iloilo, the tandem of Nur Alan Pavlo Barte and Reniel Rosacena, with coach McArthur Maravilla, hit the target’s center to become the first Palawan school to represent the country in the APRSAF.
“The whole experience is awesome. We didn’t expect to win and we didn’t expect that we’ll be going to Tokyo to represent the country,” said the duo who also brought home P10,000 cash prize.
Quezon National High School and Sta. Teresita National High School, placed second and third, respectively.
Science Education Institute (SEI) director Josette Biyo cited the winning team for recording the first-ever bull’s eye-hit in the competition.
“I believe this is the first time that a team’s water rocket actually hit the target and that basically guaranteed them the spot to represent the country in the APRSAF,” said Biyo. “Who knows but they can surely win it for the country should they repeat this performance in the international stage.”
The activity was part of the 2014 World Space Week (WSW) celebration organized by the Department of Science and Technology through SEI under its Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP).
October 4 to 10 of every year has been declared by the UN General Assembly in 1999 as WSW to provide a venue for students and educators to learn more about space science and technology and its benefits to humankind.
This year, the celebration was held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan which is tagged as the one of the best sites for space observation in the Philippines, according to astrophysicist and PSSEP focal person Rogel Mari Sese.
“In the Philippines, Palawan offers one of the clearest skies for astronomical observation. There is virtually no light pollution besides being a protected area. If the Philippines would develop a world-class astronomical observatory, Palawan is the one of most ideal locations in the country,” explained Sese.
He also noted that Palawan sits away from most typhoon tracks, volcanoes and major fault lines, making it safe from meteorological and geological hazards.
“There is also a cultural aspect in bringing space education to Palawan. Early Palawenos utilized the stars to navigate the seas and for agriculture. Thus, it is very apt that we brought the World Space Week Celebration this 2014 to Palawan,” he added.
Biyo said they intended expose the students there on the value of space science and to entice them to carve a path in the said field, and added that DOST is exploring the possibility of establishing a space agency in the future.
Another highlight of the event is the On-the-Spot Poster Making Contest which involved 20 elementary students from public schools in Palawan. It was done under the theme “Space is the future”.
Among the contestants, 11-year old Jan KristianCario of Calategas Elementary School came out with the best poster to bring home a P3,000 cash prize. Finishing second and third place are Gwen Lota Pineda of Julio Arzaga Memorial Elementary School and Sebastian Castro of Princess Urduja Elementary School, respectively. Their entries will be sent to the APRSAF to compete with 40 other countries.