Despite being rookies in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League World Festival, the Philippine Robotics team—composed of high schools students from Bulacan—bested 76 other teams with their anti-botcha (anti-double dead meat) robot and bagging the 3rd Best Project Presentation last 25-28 April 2012 at St. Louisiana, Missouri, USA. 

Determined to follow through their success in February during the FIRST Lego League (FLL) Philippines when they won three of the five major awards, Team DYCI Blue Ocean 10 from the Dr. Yanga’s College, Inc. (DYCI) in Bulacan leaned on their Meat’s Anti-Germs and Infection Solution Version 2 (MAGIS Version 2) invention to top more than 70 teams from other countries, of which 40 are from the U.S. MAGIS Version 2 is a robot they created using LEGO NXT controllers which can detect contaminated meat. 

The winning piece, MAGIS Version 2, is made mainly of stainless steel, aluminum, and acrylic plastic equipped with color and temperature sensors to detect botcha. A meat that records a higher temperature value than expected and has a deviating color is tagged as unsafe for human consumption. The team hopes that the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) can adopt their invention in inspecting double-dead meat. 

The triumphant Philippine team is composed of Team Captain Gladys Leigh Malana, Tricia Carmela Santos, Ramikert del Prado, Michelle Arcanar, Kate dela Cruz, Lady Alein Goleng, Jules Martin Agsaoay, Jonathan Alejandro, Dave Adrian Bien, and Tim Jhalmar Fabillon. 

SEI Director Dr. Filma Brawner congratulated Team DYCI Blue Ocean 10 for the good showing in the international stage. 

“We congratulate our Philippine Robotics team for again bringing honor in the bigger stage and we hope that this victory will inspire more young students to develop their skills in robotics and hopefully start a trend in making it big in the FLL in the coming years,” she said. 

Brawner also noted that the win has a big implication to the Philippine robotic scene specifically on SEI’s mandate. 

“With this victory, we will continue to support endeavours that will develop a pool of local robotics experts who will soon lead the country in providing solutions to S&T-related problems.,” she said. 

“The overall vision and mission of FLL is to inspire young people’s interest and participation in Science and Technology” added Felta Multi-media President and CEO Mylene Abiva, who accompanied the team and is the National Organizer of FLL Philippines and the Philippine Robotics Olympiad. “The students will want to learn more about computers and robotics and they will pursue Engineering, Computer Science or other S&T course(s) in (the) University”. Beryl Jhan Cruz, one of the coaches of DYCI Blue Ocean 10, said that the winning brings so much pride in the country considering that this is the first time that Philippines joined the plum. 

“I’m very proud. It’s the country’s first time to join the contest and we placed 3rd in Best Presentation. They did a good job. Not all first-timers win in an international competition,” he said. 

The Best Presentation award is one of the 15 categories honoured by the FLL. Other award categories—and the number of places per award—are as follows: Champion’s (3), NASA Food for Thought, Adult Coach/Mentor (2), Gracious ProfessionalismTM (3), Inspiration (3), Teamwork (3), Young Adult Mentor (2), Innovative Solution (3), Presentation (3), Research (3), Judges (2), Mechanical Design (3), Programming (3), Strategy and Innovation (3), Robot Performance (3), and Judges (2). 

Cruz said that this winning signifies that the Philippines’ ability to compete in robotics competitions “is definitely there.” 

“We’re not that far,” he urged. 

Cruz said that the key to their victory is the team’s focus and determination and the support from various government and private institutions. He furthered that for this win to continue in the future, “much support” is needed both in financial and organizational aspects. 

He recommended that the country should open opportunities for young and experienced local investors to develop further their innovative crafts so that the country will benefit from them greatly. (30)