Filipino mathletes persevere to empower
MANILA, Philippines - The nationwide search for the brightest mathletes recently brought 57 students from 35 schools to compete in the grueling finals meant to challenge both skill and faith.
The 12th annual Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge (MMC) – organized by the Metrobank Foundation Inc, the Mathematics Teachers Associations of the Philippines, and the Department of Education – aims to contribute to improving the quality of mathematics education in the Philippines.
The secondary and elementary competitors from both public and privates schools had to solve complex mathematical problems in 15, 30 and 60 seconds per round, either by team or individually. The competition recognized the capabilities of students in math.
The entire competition sought to stimulate interest among elementary and secondary students and encourage them to excel in their numerical skills.
Heart of a champion
Lorenzo Gabriel D. Quiogue of Ateneo De Manila High School is 2013’s champion in the High School Individual competition.
It was never an easy bout for this year's national math champion. Quiogue worked hard for 10 years to reach the finals. This year is his first successful try to get into the national level.
He said that glory is not important to him, but proving that he has the ability to rise above failures and setbacks is what matters.
Consistent training, persistence in the face of defeat and determination made it possible for the young "mathlete" to prove that no problem – math or otherwise – will be too hard to hurdle.
He said that he is sharing this meaningful win with those who matter – like his coach, family, friends and the region he represents which is NCR-B. They are the people who helped him achieve his dreams since he was in 1st grade.
Quiogue added that in order to become excellent leaders, they must first become excellent students.
“You have to make the most of every opportunity. In math, you’re taught to solve non-conventional problems...Future leaders are formed the same way, by training [and] by excellence,” he said.
Heroes with a solution
Jose Ignacio A. Locsin and Natalia Beatrice Q. Dy of Region VI (St. John’s Institute, Bacolod City) make up the team who placed 2nd in the Grade School-Team category.
Like Quiogue, both held that when one chooses to study well, he or she can be good professionals in the future.
This sentiment is echoed in the speech of 13-year-old International Children's Peace Prize Winner Kesz Valdez.
“One is never too ordinary to be a hero. I believe that we all want to have a better future and create a solution to the problems we face in this world. We all cry for change, but change must begin in each and everyone of us,” Valdez said.
Valdez was awarded on Sept 19, 2012 by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu in Riderzaal Hall in The Hague, Netherlands. He founded Championing Community Children, an organization that had already helped about 5,000 children.
Answers on social media
A notable addition in the competition this year is the use of social media to tap non-participants in answering problems at the same time that contestants do.
In the MMC Facebook page, audiences also displayed their knowledge in complex math problems by posting their equations for the complex math problems posted by MMC.
The Facebook page also displayed the team or individual who answered the question fastest in the MMC tournament. The MMC administrator posted the answer once the answer was given in the actual competition.
Admiration for the winning teams and individuals was also expressed by social media audiences. They also commented on how hard the questions were for the participants.
Alma Dulzura Angeles said, "Congratulations Ramon Magsaysay HS Cubao! Galing nyo!!! Enjoy your Boracay Treat with your coach!!! Hahaha!"
Jennel Garcia Bermundo said on Facebook, "Nakapagod sumabay sa real-time National MMC (Metrobank-MTAP-DepEd Math Challenge), hehe nice questions! haha dq pdn masagutan ung my (sinx)^2, at ilan pa .... at [hindi ako] makaget over sa 4^x + 2^x = 12 ......well, nice afternoon. O:) nabulabog utak [ko]."
Jeric Angala said, "Thank You MMC for showing me how beautiful the world of numbers."
The brilliant display of mathematical abilities of the contestants is not the norm in the Philippines.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report of 2011-2012 finds the country in a dismaying position in terms of its education.
The Philippines ranks 115th out of 142 countries, based on the quality of teaching and research in the subjects math and science.
The same report ranked the country’s neighbors higher, with Malaysia in the 23rd spot, Hong Kong in 11th, Taiwan in 5th, and Singapore as the topnotcher.
In terms of the quality of primary education, the Philippines ranks slightly better by taking the 110th place.
Another significant measure is the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which is made every 4 years. In 2003, Grade 4 Filipino students were ranked 23rd out of 25 countries in science and mathematics, while 2nd year high school students ranked 34th out of 38 in math and 43rd out of 45 in science, also in the same year.
TIMMS believes that a great math and science foundation will help drive the growth of a country’s development.
Aside from education, the WEF also considers the overall performance of a country. In its recent report, it observed the weak status of the Philippines in terms of security, corruption and infrastructure. It however highlighted its positive-looking economic standing, with the improved country credit rating and its manageable rate of inflation.
With elections only a few weeks away, how candidates are offering to solve these problems in education and governance might just prove critical in their bid to build the nation.
Winners of the 2013 MMC received trophies, medals and cash prizes. The following are the students who won in the national competition held at the Metrobank Auditorium in Makati City on Saturday, April 13, 2013:
High School-Individual Category
- 1st Place: Lorenzo Gabriel D. Quiogue - Ateneo de Manila High School, Quezon City, NCR-B
- 2nd Place: Jaydee N. Lucero - Caramin High School, Caloocan City, NCR-A
- 3rd Place: Rachel G. Rojo - Zamboanga Chong Hua High School, Zamboanga City, Region IX
High School-Team Category
- 1st Place: Raul Mendoza Jr. and Alawi Sularte, Ramon Magsaysay High School, Cubao, Quezon City, NCR-A
- 2nd Place: Ecclesiastes G. Montaos, Jr. and Ryan Kier Damian, Agusan del Sur National High School, Agusan del Sur, CARAGA
- 3rd Place: Aaron Jevon Anthony S. Dy and Nathaniel Ryan T. Ang - Xavier School, San Juan City, NCR-B
Grade School-Individual Category
- 1st Place: Christian Philip L. Gelera, University of the Philippines Integrated School, Quezon City, NCR-B
- 2nd Place: Bon Leif D. Amalla, Colegio San Agustin, Biñan, Laguna, Region IV-A
- 3rd Place: Edrian M. Octavo - Bicol University Integrated Laboratory School, Daraga, Albay, Region V
Grade School-Team Category
- 1st Place: Shaquille Wyan T. Que and Adam Christopher Y. Chan, Grace Christian College, Quezon City, NCR-B
- 2nd Place: Jose Ignacio A. Locsin and Natalian Beatrice Q. Dy, St. John’s Institute, Bacolod City, Region VI
- 3rd Place: Lorems Yrol B. Pedeglorio and Pamela Irisari, Butuan City SPED Center, Butuan City, CARAGA