Jose Rizal: Pride of Malayan Race

JOSE RIZAL, the national hero of the Philippines and pride of the Malayan race, was born on June 19, 1861, in the town of Calamba, Laguna. He was the seventh child in a family of 11 children (2 boys and 9 girls). Both his parents were educated and belonged to distinguished families.
His father, Francisco Mercado Rizal, an industrious farmer whom Rizal called “a model of fathers,” came from Biñan, Laguna; while his mother, Teodora Alonzo y Quintos, a highly cultured and accomplished woman whom Rizal called “loving and prudent mother,” was born in Meisic, Sta. Cruz, Manila. At the age of 3, he learned the alphabet from his mother; at 5, while learning to read and write, he already showed inclinations to be an artist. He astounded his family and relatives by his pencil drawings and sketches and by his moldings of clay. At the age 8, he wrote a Tagalog poem, “Sa Aking Mga Kabata,” the theme of which revolves on the love of one’s language. In 1877, at the age of 16, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with an average of “excellent” from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. In the same year, he enrolled in Philosophy and Letters at the University of Santo Tomas, while at the same time took courses leading to the degree of surveyor and expert assessor at the Ateneo. He finished the latter course on March 21, 1877 and passed the Surveyor’s examination on May 21, 1878; but because of his age, 17, he was not granted license to practice the profession until December 30, 1881. In 1878, he enrolled in medicine at the University of Santo Tomas but had to stop in his studies when he felt that the Filipino students were being discriminated upon by their Dominican tutors. On May 3, 1882, he sailed for Spain where he continued his studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid. On June 21, 1884, at the age of 23, he was conferred the degree of Licentiate in Medicine and on June 19,1885, at the age of 24, he finished his course in Philosophy and Letters with a grade of “excellent.”

Having traveled extensively in Europe, America and Asia, he mastered 22 languages. These include Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Malayan, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Spanish, Tagalog, and other native dialects. A versatile genius, he was an architect, artists, businessman, cartoonist, educator, economist, ethnologist, scientific farmer, historian, inventor, journalist, linguist, musician, mythologist, nationalist, naturalist, novelist, opthalmic surgeon, poet, propagandist, psychologist, scientist, sculptor, sociologist, and theologian.

He was an expert swordsman and a good shot. In the hope of securing political and social reforms for his country and at the same time educate his countrymen, Rizal, the greatest apostle of Filipino nationalism, published, while in Europe, several works with highly nationalistic and revolutionary tendencies. In March 1887, his daring book, NOLI ME TANGERE, a satirical novel exposing the arrogance and despotism of the Spanish clergy, was published in Berlin; in 1890 he reprinted in Paris, Morga’s SUCCESSOS DE LAS ISLAS FILIPINAS with his annotations to prove that the Filipinos had a civilization worthy to be proud of even long before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil; on September 18, 1891, EL FILIBUSTERISMO, his second novel and a sequel to the NOLI and more revolutionary and tragic than the latter, was printed in Ghent. Because of his fearless exposures of the injustices committed by the civil and clerical officials, Rizal provoked the animosity of those in power. This led himself, his relatives and countrymen into trouble with the Spanish officials of the country. As a consequence, he and those who had contacts with him, were shadowed; the authorities were not only finding faults but even fabricating charges to pin him down. Thus, he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago from July 6, 1892 to July 15, 1892 on a charge that anti-friar pamphlets were found in the luggage of his sister Lucia who arrive with him from Hong Kong. While a political exile in Dapitan, he engaged in agriculture, fishing and business; he maintained and operated a hospital; he conducted classes- taught his pupils the English and Spanish languages, the arts.

The sciences, vocational courses including agriculture, surveying, sculpturing, and painting, as well as the art of self defense; he did some researches and collected specimens; he entered into correspondence with renowned men of letters and sciences abroad; and with the help of his pupils, he constructed water dam and a relief map of Mindanao – both considered remarkable engineering feats. His sincerity and friendliness won for him the trust and confidence of even those assigned to guard him; his good manners and warm personality were found irresistible by women of all races with whom he had personal contacts; his intelligence and humility gained for him the respect and admiration of prominent men of other nations; while his undaunted courage and determination to uplift the welfare of his people were feared by his enemies.

When the Philippine Revolution started on August 26, 1896, his enemies lost no time in pressing him down. They were able to enlist witnesses that linked him with the revolt and these were never allowed to be confronted by him. Thus, from November 3, 1986, to the date of his execution, he was again committed to Fort Santiago. In his prison cell, he wrote an untitled poem, now known as “Ultimo Adios” which is considered a masterpiece and a living document expressing not only the hero’s great love of country but also that of all Filipinos. After a mock trial, he was convicted of rebellion, sedition and of forming illegal association. In the cold morning of December 30, 1896, Rizal, a man whose 35 years of life had been packed with varied activities which proved that the Filipino has capacity to equal if not excel even those who treat him as a slave, was shot at Bagumbayan Field.

Dr. Connie Mariano: The White House Doctor

NEW YORK City – Education and opportunity were the stepping stones that a Filipino woman used to make her mark in US history.
Dr. Connie Mariano is the first Filipina in US history to become a US Navy Rear Admiral in July 2000. Mariano is the highest ranking Filipina in the US military before she retired in 2001.
In 1992, she became the first woman and the first Filipino-American to be appointed White House physician to the president. Two years later, she became the first woman and first Pinay director to the White House Medical Unit.
“Anything is possible and I tell people if I can make it, you can make it because I didn’t speak English when I came to this country. I went to public school. I mean we didn’t have much money but we had opportunity and we had education,” said Mariano.
Born in Sangley Point Naval Base in Cavite, Philippines, that opportunity came when her family moved to the US when she was only 2 years old.
Her father, US Master Chief Angel Mariano, a navy man himself was her idol.
After breezing through high school and college with the highest honors, she joined the navy in 1977.
Her military background paved the way for her appointment as a White House doctor.
Mariano had the rare opportunity to work with 3 sitting presidents: President George H. W
Bush, President Bill Clinton and the younger president George W. Bush.
“I think a lot of people have the misconception that being a White House doctor is glamorous; that you sit in his limousine, you’re having dinner at his table. It’s not glamorous. You’re lugging around a 40-pound medical bag, you’re jumping in and out of cars and if he’s eating dinner you’re behind the stage, behind the curtains starving,” she said.
Mariano’s 8-year experience at the White House, taking care of First Patients is now summed up in her new book called “The White House Doctor”.

“Because you looked different, because you don’t fit the stereotype you stand out. And I know if you’re standing out that’s you’re chance to be outstanding, to take the opportunity to say listen I need to make a point here,” she said.

The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents – A Memoir

Jesus Antonio Villamor: WWII Ace Pilot

WWII Ace Pilot

Jesús Antonio Villamor was a Filipino pilot who fought the Japanese in World War II.
Villamor was one of seven children. He studied commerce at De La Salle College (now DLSU-Manila) in Manila, hoping to pursue a business career.

During summer, he and his family went to Baguio and stayed in one of the government houses on Hogan’s Alley, which are now assigned to Justice of Court of Appeals, just below Cabinet Hill along Leonard Wood Road. One of his playments during this time was Roberto Lim, son of Brigadier General Vicente Lim.

Jess (as one of his friends would call him), at the age of 14 to 15, was already an aviation bug. He was worried that because of his short height, he wouldn’t pass the physical exam. He learned how to fly in the civilian flying school in Grace Park that was located next to La Loma cemetery. Roberto Lim took his first airpline ride with Jess in a Stearman plane. He also signed Roberto Lim’s first civilian license.

He joined the Philippine Army Air Corps (PAAC) Flying School in 1936 and was sent to the United States for training, and after three years, began flying B-17′s as part of the US Air Force’s Strategic Bombing Squadron
Upon his return to the Philippines, Villamor was assigned to lead the 6th Pursuit Squadron (now 6th Tactical Fighter Squadron) shortly before the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941. In the skies above Zablan and Batangas Fields, against Japanese Zeros, his squadron of P-26 fighters engaged the enemy. He was twice cited by the United States Army for bravery, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross for actions on December 10, 1941 and an Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a second award of the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for actions on December 12, 1941, making him the only Filipino to receive the DSC twice.
After his squadron was destroyed, Villamor continued his war against the Japanese as an intelligence officer. On December 27, 1942 Villamor was part of a team inserted by the submarine USS Gudgeon (SS-211) into the Philippines. Establishing a chain of direct communication from the Philippines with General Douglas MacArthur in Australia, he coordinated the activities of various guerrilla movements in Luzon, Mindanao and the Visayas. Villamor acted as the “clearing house” for information, which helped the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) to map out a strategy to liberate the Philippines.
For his bravery as a pilot and ingenuity as an intelligence officer, President Ramón Magsaysay awarded Lieutenant Col. Villamor the Medal of Valor, the highest Philippine military bravery decoration, on January 21, 1954. The Philippine Air Force’s principal facility in Metro Manila which was first known as Nichols Field then later Nichols Air Base was renamed Col. Jesús Villamor Air Base in his honor.

Filipino Version of Bill Gates: Diosdado Banatao

Diosdado Banatao, a native of Iguig, Cagayan and an electrical engineering graduate from Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila is credited for eight major contributions to the Information Technology. Banatao is most known for introducing the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator that made computers work a lot faster and for helping develop the Ethernet controller chip that made Internet possible. In 1989, he pioneered the local bus concept for personal computers and in the following year developed the First Windows accelerator chip. Intel is now using the chips and technologies developed by Banatao. He now runs his own semiconductor company, Mostron and Chips & Technology, which is based in California’s Silicon Valley.

He worked on the following technologies as have several hundred other engineers and does not claim having invented or innovated any of these technologies.

1.First single-chip, 16-bit microprocessor-based calculator (while at Commodore in 1976. Note: The first single-chip 16-bit microprocessor was the 1976 TMS 9900 by Texas Instruments. Texas Instruments also came up with the first pocket calculator in 1972. (Was Commodore the first to come up with the single-chip 16-bit calculator?)
2.First 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transreceiver chip; got 3Com into the Ethernet PC add-in card business (while at Seeq in early 1980s)
3.First system logic chip set for the PC-XT and the PC-AT (while at Mostron in 1984 and Chips and Technologies in 1985)
4.First enhanced graphics adapter chip set (while at Chips and Technologies in 1985)
5.Pioneered local bus concept for PC (while at S3 in 1989)
6.First Windows Graphics accelerator chip (while at S3 in 1990)- This is debatable
He is a managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital. Prior to Tallwood he was a venture partner with the Mayfield Fund. He has served on the board of directors and as chairman of several emerging companies, including Marvell Technology Group, SiRF (acquired by CSR plc), NewPort Communications (acquired by Broadcom), and Cyras Systems (acquired by Ciena Corporation).

Banatao holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Stanford University.

Dado Banatao is now a multimillionaire investor. He invested in a lot of networking companies that were eventually sold before he joined the venture capital firm Mayfield Fund in 1998. After two years, the company offered him to promote to a general partner but Dado refused it and instead decided to start his own venture capital firm named Tallwood Venture Capital with a capital of US$300 million, all of which came from his own pocket. He then believed that independence is more important than security.

Today Dado Banatao manages several businesses. His Cielo Communications is developing the vertical cavity surface emitting laser or Versel, which speeds the transmission of data along optical lines. His SIRF Technology is designing a chip for a global positioning system which utilizes satellites to locate objects. His Marvell Technology had a highly successful public offering with the stock price soaring more than 300% during its first day of trading. He has proven to be a master investor and venture capitalist. He invests, oversees, and sells several companies that include Cyras Systems acquired by Ciena; Newport Communications acquired by Broadcom; Acclaim Communications acquired by Level One; Stream Machines acquired by Cirrus Logic; Marvell Technology Group and New Moo software.

He has more than three homes in the US, including resort properties in Lake Tahoe and Sonoma San Francisco. From his childhood roots of walking barefoot, he now drives his high-performance luxury cars and he flies his own fast jets. Yet despite these blessings, Dado Banatao still contributes to the society and to the country. His Banatao Filipino American Fund assists Northern California high school students of Filipino heritage in pursuing a college education in engineering. Aside from this, he also went back to his childhood town of Iguig in Cagayan Valley where he built a computer center at his grade school making it the only public school with the most modern computer network.
A proud Filipino, definitely an achiever…

Energy Efficient Invention

Filipino Achiever

2008 Associate Laureate

Energy efficiency is one of the solution in combating climate change. Scientists, inventors, innovators, govermental funded institutions, non-governmental organization and multinational corporation are heading towards a common goal. They are in one way or another developed technologies that they consider and promoted as energy efficient.

More renewable energy and greater energy efficiency will improve our energy security. The market for future energy efficiency technology and clean energy technology is huge. This is just one of the points of views from the different nationalities attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference which will be concluded tomorrow, December 18, 2009.

As Filipinos we also have our share in this conference. Two Filipinos have won the the cnn/youtube debate contest on climate change, Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr.

Philippine delegation to COP 15 in Copenhagen

1. Senator Loren Legarda

2. Senator Edgardo Angara

3. Secretary Heherson Alvarez

4. Albay Gov. Jose Ma. Clemente Sarte Salceda

5. Rep. Nanette Daza

6. Amb. Elizabeth Buensuceso

7. DENR Usec. Lucille Sering

8. Vice Consul Lenna de Dios-Sison

9. DA Usec. Segfredo Serrano

10. DOE Usec. Zamzamin Ampatuan

11. DOST Usec. Graciano Yumul

12. Atty. Tony La Vina (Dean, Ateneo School of Government)

13. Amelia Supetran – UNDP

14. Ma. Rosario Felizco – Oxfam GB

15. Naderev Sano – WWF

16. Conservation International Philippines (no name specified)

17. Ms. Bernabe – Asian Farmers Association

18. Ms. Victoria Corpuz – Metrobank Foundation


19. DFA Asec. Leila Lora-Santos

20. DFA Asec. Evan Garcia

Source: Memorandum issued to DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo from the Office of the Executive Secretary dated November 24, 2009

With the continued discussion on climate change, we as filipinos are very proud of our fellow kababayans who are making it big in the international front.

Sometimes we have neglected somebody who have made us proud also… In terms of energy efficiency one person who have made us proud worldwide is the recipient of the ROLEX awards.

Iloilo professor Alexis Belonio is the first Filipino to win the prestigious Rolex Award for inventing a stove that converts rice husks into environmentally friendly cooking gas.

Founded in 1976, the Rolex Award is given to “visionaries” who have undertaken groundbreaking projects.

As an Associate Laureate, Belonio received $50,000 and a steel and gold Rolex chronometer at the awarding ceremony.

His invention turns agricultural waste into purified gas in a top-lit, updraft and biomass gas stove. The low-cost stove powered by rice husks–the most abundant of farm wastes–reduces fuel costs and minimizes greenhouse gas.

Stoves fueled by rice husks have been used before, but are sooty and unhealthy and do not generate enough heat to cook food quickly.

Converting husks to gas provide a much hotter, cleaner flame for cooking–not to mention a cheaper source of energy.

A ton of rice husks contains the same energy as 415 liters of petrol or 378 liters of kerosene. A few handfuls of rice husks can boil water in six to nine minutes.

Belonio is an associate professor of agricultural engineering at the Central Philippine University in Iloilo City.

He intends to use the funds from the award to set up a demonstration center in Iloilo to disseminate free information and to provide training and technical advice about technologies he has developed.

Belonio joins nine other awardees from India, Jordan, Mexico, Paraguay, South Africa, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The 2008 Rolex Awards for Enterprise winners were chosen from nearly 1,500 applicants in 127 countries by an independent panel of scientists, educators, economists and other experts.

PINOY REIGNS…CNN/YouTube Debates contest for climate change.

A week after Efren Peñaflorida was hailed as the CNN Hero of the Year, two Pinoys, Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr. reigned in an online competition as they win the CNN/YouTube Debates contest for climate change.

The contest encouraged individuals to send videos with their views, opinions, and questions about the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The online voting took place between November 6 and 30.

According to the YouTube channel designed for the event, the global YouTube community “has voted on the strongest voices to send them to Copenhagen.”

Garilao and Orioste, Jr. will be part of 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) and attend the live debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube. CNN News Anchor Becky Anderson will host the live debate that will be participated by global leaders from 193 countries.

Out of the 600 entries, another entry Global Warming Project based from Brazil also made the cut.

What needs to be done?

With 7,300 views from YouTube, the six-minute amateur documentary film discussed disaster management and the drive to shift to alternative energies. The Pinoys were motivated to join the contest after seeing the effects of Ondoy and Pepeng tragedy. Through this online campaign, the young Pinoys jumpstarted discussions that will serve as a springboard to raise awareness on climate change.

“We have to beat the climate change buzzer. The Philippines is currently the centerfold of climate change discussions because of super typhoons that recently devastated us. Serving as the Filipino voice in Copenhagen, we will convince the global leaders to include discussions on disaster preparedness program. This will benefit not only the Philippines but also other countries prone to natural disasters,” shared Garilao, a Filipino engineer and freelance journalist based in Hawaii.

Orioste, a freshman law student from San Beda College, furthered, “There should be a stakeholder approach in dealing with disaster preparedness. Instead of becoming reactive, the government should be proactive. A close and efficient coordination with different sectors – both public and private – during calamities will help reduce the impacts of severe typhoons. We should take a leap in mobilizing not just relief efforts but also alarm systems before a natural disaster strikes.”

The two Pinoys also asked the global leaders to discuss ways in reducing carbon emissions that contribute adverse effects to the environment. “The best step is to shift to using clean energy if countries want to reduce their emissions. This is a difficult transition but is the best step to combat climate change.” Samples of clean energy resources include solar panel, wind turbine, and bio-gas.

According to World Research Institute, the cumulative CO2 emission of US reached 29.3 percent, while Philippines only accumulated .03 percent. Despite its tiny carbon footprint, the Philippines will be affected as revealed by the contributions of developing countries in terms of carbon emissions.

Garilao and Orioste also called those running for local and national elections to prioritize climate change in their platforms.

Right after the event, the environmental advocates will share their key learning experiences to government officials, environmental organizations, and private sectors.

Bayanihan online

Alfonso Orioste, Jr. “Once again, we have proven the Bayanihan spirit online. The Filipino consumers – wherever they are – massively voted for our video. Based on our count, more than 600 Facebook users linked the video and shared steps on how to vote. At least 12 bloggers also campaigned for the video and shared their thoughts on climate change,” Garilao said.

Those organizations and networks that supported Efren also campaigned for their video. Maria Embry, a community advocate from California, campaigned for both Efren and for this video to the Filipino-American organizations. Spending an average of four hours a day, she rallied votes for both causes.

Meanwhile, Definitely Filipino, an online organization with almost 400,000 Facebook members, also campaigned for both advocacies through gathering online votes.

De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU), where the two Pinoys graduated, massively supported the video through the endorsement of DLSU President Br. Armin Luistro FSC who is also a passionate environmental advocate. The video was also shown in an environmental seminar in University of Sto. Thomas attended by hundreds of students.

Garilao and Orioste encouraged film aficionados to produce user-generated videos that will raise awareness on climate change. Few days before the online voting ended, three video makers from the Philippines also participated.

According to the COP15 channel, those who want to air their voices to the global leaders still have the chance to be part of the live debate. They can upload their comments and/or questions about climate change and submission is open until December 14.

Proudly Pinoys, Voice of the Filipinos to the world,
They are already achievers in their field of interests.

3 OFWs in Kingdom win Bagong Bayani Awards

RIYADH: Three Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia have been chosen as 2009 Bagong Bayani (New Hero) awardees in various fields by the Philippine-based Bagong Bayani Foundation, Inc. (BBFI) headed by Capt. Gregorio S. Oca.

The three winners are: Robert Ramos from Riyadh, and Murry F. Demdam and Dioscoro Ayag, Jr., from Alkhobar.

They went home to the Philippines to receive their awards from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at Malacanang Palace on Thursday.

Ramos received the 2009 Bagong Bayani Award for Most Outstanding Employee for his series of promotions at the Al-Babtain Contracting where he is a field operations manager. “He was also very active in the Filipino community,” said Labor Attaché Rustico de la Fuente, who is being cross-posted to Guam. Demdam, who is connected with the M.A. Al-Kawari Est., also received the 2009 Bagong Bayani Award for Most Outstanding Employee.

“He significantly contributed to the operations of his company,” said Labor Attaché Des Dicang of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office — Eastern Region Operations (POLO-ERO).

Ayag, who was with the JAL Company, received the 2009 Bagong Bayani Award for Culture and Arts for his active involvement in the Filipino community, especially to his compatriots from Bohol province. Ayag returned to the Philippines to set up his company.

The awards, which are given to OFWs worldwide, is given every two years to Filipino migrant workers who have distinguished themselves in rendering public service and have contributed significantly to their respective companies.

Rodolfo C. Estimo Jr.

Outstanding Filipino achievers honored in book

Some of the country’s outstanding achievers are featured in a coffee table book, “Outstanding Filipino Achievers,” by Visitacion “Chit” R. de la Torre.

At a book launch hosted by the city government of Taguig led by Mayor Freddie Tinga, these Filipino men and women excelling in different fields were honored. They include, among others, pioneering photographer Dominador Cruz; eminent doctor-researcher and pioneer exponent of the benefits of virgin coconut oil, the late Dr. Conrado Dayrit; medical director Dr. Joven Cuanang; brilliant entrepreneurs such as Jose Rizalino Acuzar, lawyer Larry Valdez, Jun Manas, Steve Tamayo and Tony Tan Caktiong; passionate cultural workers such as Danny Dolor, Nestor Jardin, Prof. Felipe de Leon Jr., NGO founders Cecille Oebanda, Maria Angela Villalba and Antonio Meloto; three former Presidents of the Philippines; academicians Dr. Lydia Echauz, Peter Laurel, Dr. Mina Ramirez and Corazon de Ungria; corporate titans Manny Pangilinan, Oscar M. Lopez, Socorro Ramos, Carlos Ejercito, the Zobel de Ayalas and Henry Sy Sr.; dedicated professionals, such as Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Poch Macaranas, Antonio Abacan, Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo, lawyer Felipe Gozon, Virma Vergel de Dios; exceptional visual artists such as Remy Boquiren, Impy Pilapil, Malang, Fil de la cruz, Roland Ventura; top-notch designers such as Kenneth Cobonpue and Narda Capuyan; corporate executives such as Menchu Esteban, Elvira Yap Go; sports heroes Efren “Bata” Reyes, Paeng Nepomuceno, Manny Pacquiao; noted architects Jun Palafox and Nestor Mangio; farmer-community organizer, Charlie Capricho; corn farmer Edwin Paraluman; first-rate businessmen like George Yang, Amado “Lito” Tadena; government officials like Patricia Sto. Tomas, Amando Tetangco, Koni de Guzman, lawyer Sonny Matula, Governor Grace Padaca, Mayor Sonny Belmonte, Associate Justice Arturo Brion and many more, have their own interesting, inspiring stories revealed.

Outstanding Filipino Achievers is available at the Makati office of author Chit de la Torre (815-4938; 815-6925; e-mail and soon, at some Metro Manila bookstores.

Sunday Lifestyle

Young Pinoy Scientists Win in Intel ISEF

Young Pinoy Scientists

The Philippine delegation brought home two Fourth Grand Awards, one Team Projects Fourth Grand Award and a Special Award from the recently concluded Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), which ran from May 14-19, 2007 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Bringing home the bacon for the Philippines in the world’s biggest science fair were: Melvyn Carlo Barroa, 16, Capiz National High School, Roxas City who won Fourth Award in Microbiology for his project, Fish Mucus: its Potential Antimicrobial Effects on Human Pathogens and Possible Role in Innate Immunity; a study that explored his findings of a potential antibiotic produced from a natural defense mechanism of fish.

Hester Mana Umayam, 15, Philippine Science High School – Cagayan VAlley Campus, garnering Fourth Award in Behavioral and Social Sciences for her research, Ethnomathematics in the Geometric Patterns in Woven Fabrics of the Indigenous Kalingas of the Philippines; a study that brought her to bring a better understanding of the patterns of Kalinga woven fabris in particular, and of its soci-cultural implications in general. The team of Ivy Razel Ventura, Janine Cindy Santiago, Mara Elaine Villaverde, all 16 years old, from Philippine Science High Schoo – Main CAmpus, won the Fourth Award in Team Projects, for their study, Screening, Isolation and Characterication of flourescent Proteins from Nudibranchs. Ventura, Santiago and Villaverde explored the potential of Nudibranchs as useful in tumor research.

Meanwhile, Luiji John Karlo Suarez, 17, Dona Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School, La Carlota City, won a Scholarship Award from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance/The Lemelson Foundation for his research, The potential of marine bioluminescent bacteria as abtibacterial agents against two major rice diseases caused by xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and xanthomonas oryzae pv. Oryzicola. Suarez introduced a new way of controlling bacteria infection in plants, to help farmers in the production of infection-free rice.

Pushcart educator named CNN Hero of the Year

(CNN) — Efren Peñaflorida, who started a “pushcart classroom” in the Philippines to bring education to poor children as an alternative to gang membership, has been named the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed Peñaflorida’s selection at the conclusion of the third-annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday night.

The gala event, taped before an audience of 3,000 at the Kodak Theatre, premieres on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the global networks of CNN.

The broadcast, which honors the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2009, features performances by Grammy Award-winning artist Carrie Underwood, R&B crooner Maxwell and British pop sensation Leona Lewis.

Peñaflorida, who will receive $100,000 to continue his work with the Dynamic Teen Company, was selected after seven weeks of online voting at More than 2.75 million votes were cast.

“Our planet is filled with heroes, young and old, rich and poor, man, woman of different colors, shapes and sizes. We are one great tapestry,” Peñaflorida said upon accepting the honor. “Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

“So to each and every person inside this theater and for those who are watching at home, the hero in you is waiting to be unleashed. Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell to my co-volunteers … you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream, and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be.”

The top 10 CNN Heroes, chosen by a blue-ribbon panel from an initial pool of more than 9,000 viewer nominations, were each honored with a documentary tribute and introduced by a celebrity presenter. Each of the top 10 Heroes receives $25,000.

“With the recognition they receive on our stage,” said Cooper, who hosted the tribute, “they’ll be able to help thousands and thousands of people. Through their efforts, lives will be changed and lives will be saved.”

Underwood performed an original orchestral arrangement of “Change” from her best-selling album, “Play On.”

Maxwell sang “Help Somebody” from his first album in eight years, ‘BLACKsummers’night.’

Lewis, a three-time Grammy nominee, performed “Happy,” from her second album, “Echo.”

All three performances echoed the spirit of the CNN Heroes campaign, which salutes everyday people whose extraordinary accomplishments are making a difference in their communities and beyond.

Presenters included Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Randy Jackson, Greg Kinnear, George Lopez and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

“This record number of nominations is further evidence of the momentum CNN Heroes has built in just a few short years,” said Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide.

“Viewers have been engaged by these stories of inspiration and accomplishment beyond our expectations. It is truly an honor to be able to introduce the CNN Heroes to our global audience every year.”

Again this year, producer/director Joel Gallen served as executive producer of “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.” Among his credits, Gallen produced telethon events supporting victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina, winning an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for “America: A Tribute to Heroes.”

The Kodak Theatre is best known as the first permanent home of the Academy Awards.

A Real Filipino hero, an achiever. MABUHAY KA EFREN…