IChO Team Philippines Returns Home with Three Awards

By Dr Eric Punzalan

The Philippine team which competed in the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad held in Paris last July 21 to 30 returns with a Silver, a Bronze and an Honorable Mention Certificate.

The Philippine Delegation to the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad: Dr. Rochelle Papasin, Israel Augba, Michael Tantoco, Arthur De Belen, Julius Macling, Mr Julius Victorius Saluria and Dr Jose Andaya (left to right). Photo courtesy of Dr Andaya.

The team consists of Michael Tantoco, Julius Macling, Israel Aguba, and Arthur De Belen. De Belen captured a Silver, Aguba received a Bronze while Macling came out with an Honorable Mention Certificate. The four students came from the Philippine Science High School Main Campus. They were accompanied by three adult mentors: Mr. Julius Saluria (PSHS Main Campus), Dr. Jose Andaya (PSHS-Calabarzon), and Dr. Rochelle Papasin (PSHS-Southern Mindanao Campus).

The four students earned the privilege to represent the Philippines after emerging as the top four competitors in the 2019 Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad(PNCO) National Finals held last January 2019. The PNCO is conducted annually under the auspices of the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Socities, Inc., particularly by the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas, Inc. (KKP) and the Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers, Inc. (PACT).
First held in Czechoslovakia in 1968, the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) is an annual competition where a team of up to four high school students per nation may compete in various topics including analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and spectroscopy.
The 51st IChO featured 390 students from 80 countries.

PH Wins Silver and Bronze during the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad in Paris

29 July 2019 – The Philippines won the silver and bronze medals in the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad (ICHO) on 21-30 July 2019 in Paris, France.

ICHO 2
H.E. Ambassador Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro (third from right) together with the Philippine Delegation to the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad headed by Dr. Jose M. Andaya, Philippine Science High School Cabarzon Campus Director (first from right). Image Source: Philippine Embassy (Paris).

Represented by Philippine Science High School (PSHS) students, Israel Aguba, Arthur Rainer de Belen, Julius Macling and Michael Cole Tantoco, the Philippines competed with over 300 students from 79 countries and displayed its prowess in chemistry both in the theoretical and practical examinations. This year, de Belen and Aguba successfully collected the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

According to Dr. Jose Andaya, PSHS Cabarzon Campus Director, and Mr. Julius Victorius Saluria, Teacher Coach from the PSHS Main Campus Chemistry Department, this is the highest performance the Philippines ever had in the competition. It may be noted that the Philippines won the bronze medals in the 49th and 50th ICHO in 2017 and 2018.

ICHO is an annual competition for the world’s most talented chemistry students at the secondary school level. It aims to stimulate student interest in chemistry through solving of independent and creative chemical problems and promote international contacts in chemistry, friendships between young scientific workers of different nationalities, cooperation among pupils, and exchange of pedagogical and scientific experience in chemistry.

This article appeared originally at the Embassy of the Philippines – Paris, France.

The International Chemistry Olympiad . . . Olympics of the Mind

By Jose M. Andaya

The four-day debut of the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) on June 18, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, Prague showcased three European teams wrestled questions in chemistry. Since then, the IChO has earned a reputation from a mere curiosity to one of the most anticipated international events for chemistry enthusiasts.

The Philippines is not a member of IChO and for quite a number of years, our high school students who would like to compete in the IChO cannot do so because of this reason. In this regard, the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies or PFCS and the different associations under it like the Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers or PACT, Kapisanan ng mga Kimiko sa Pilipinas or the KKP, and the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines or the ICP, have joined forces together to generate enough finances to send local observers to the IChO.

IChO requires each participating country to observe the Olympiad proceedings for two years first before it is allowed to send contestants. The first observation happened on the 47thIChO on July 20 – 29, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. While the second IChO observation was in Tbilisi, Georgia for the 48thIChO last July 23 – August 1, 2016.  During these observations, I have learned the different activities of mentors and students during the 10-day Olympiad. The students are housed in a different hotel away from their mentors during the whole Olympiad. There are only a few occasions when mentors and students get together for some programs or events. Highlights of the events included the Opening program, wherein the host country welcomes all guest and participants for the year’s Olympiad. It double functions as fellowship gathering where participants from various countries get to know each other.

The Jury nights or meetings, is where the committee who prepared the questions and the mentors meet and discuss the validity of the questions that will be used. All important issues or concerns regarding the Olympiad are threshed out in this session. On a lighter note, a city tour for students was organized to enable them to explore the city while their mentors prepare the final questions to be used in the Olympiad. When it’s the student’s turn to take the examinations, mentors and guest took turns to explore the city.

The arbitration day, is when the committee who prepared the questions check the test papers of the students.  After checking, the mentors can still discuss with the committee to negotiate for partial point/s by giving justifications to the answers of their students. The IChO is capped with a closing ceremony, where students who performed best in the Olympiad are given recognition, to include the merit award, bronze, silver and gold medals. This is also the opportunity to say farewell to all attendees of the Olympiad.

We successfully accomplished the two-year observation period as a prerequisite to joining the IChO. All chemistry associations under the PFCS, the PACT, the KKP and the ICP, are happy to see the realization of our dreams.  Someday, our Filipino students will compete in the International Chemistry Olympiad or IChO and win. As the 2016 IChO organizers have told us “they are happy to welcome the first Filipino group who will participate in the 2017 IChO” which will happen in Thailand next year.

Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad, 2014

by Nestor Valera

The Philippine National Chemistry Olympiad (PNCO) was successfully held at the Ateneo de Naga University in Naga City Tuesday, April 8, 2014. The winners were:

  1. Champion Michael Castro (Philippine Science High School – Main Campus)
  2. 1st Runner-up Justin Adriel Zent G. Togonon (PSHS – Western Visayas Campus)
  3. 2nd Runner-up Bienvenido Luis Castro (UP Rural High School)

There were a total of 26 delegates representing 11 regions in the country:

  1. NCR (Michael Castro and Esteven Evio; coached by Efren Paz)
  2. CAR (Rutherford Calawagan, Robert Aguilar, and Jim Bagano; coached by Melba Patacsil)
  3. Region II (Ralph Ido and Tasha Soliven; coached by Wowee Ariza and Ruchi Lagitnay)
  4. Region III ( Moises Ubungin and Joseph Cruz; coached by Rohit Tilwani, Lexter Natividad and Mark Bailon)
  5. Region IV (Judy An Balquiran, Bienvenido Castro, and Marc Fang; coached by Edison Boongaling and Pauline Pena)
  6. Region V (Catherine Abella, Al Christian Gobres, and Denise Leinsoco; coached by Alpha Pimentel)
  7. Region VI ( Justin Togonon and Juan Retirado; coached by Erika Salvador and Cynthia de Asis)
  8. Region VII ( Leibniz Respecia and Wand Ybanez; coached by Patrick LIm and Mary Joy Moncada)
  9. Region X (John Rizada, Lawrence Magsayo, and Brian Hingpi; coached by Gay Madrazo and Ethel Neoniz)
  10. Region XI (Zam Doctolero, Marian Yu, and Angila Aala; coached by Micheal Casas, Marcel Torilla, and Rochelle Papasin)
  11. CARAGA (Mylet Curilan; coached by Letecia Villanueva)

The PNCO is a pre-requisite of the International Chemistry Olympiad which is a multi-tiered competition that brings together the world’s most talented high school students to test their knowledge and skills in chemistry. Nations around the world conduct examinations to — nominate the most high-performing students for the International Chemistry Olympiad.

The event was sponsored by the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas and by the DOST-SEI.
The full report on the PNCO can be found in:
https://www.facebook.com/download/245936955604441/PNCO%202014.pdf