From Cebu to Bulacan to Vietnam. 

Two fourth year students from Philippine Science High School – Central Visayas whizzed their way to Hanoi, Vietnam as they represent the Phillippines in the 20th Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum Water Rocket Competition in November. 

Beating 17 other schools in the National Water-boosted Rocket Competition held at Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan, PSHS-Central Visayas students Mary Dorothy Dinampo and Weand Ybanez landed their rocket 2.4 meters away from the target placed 70 meters away from them. 

Coached by Jovanie Bajenting, the three returns to Cebu with a P10,000 cash prize and the honor of being the Philippine contingent to the APRSAF-WRC. 

The PSHS-Central Visayas duo is seconded by Catmon High School as their rocket landed 9.7 meters and placing third is Rizal Science National HS with their rocket landing 11.7 meters. 

Science Education Institute (SEI) Officer-in-Charge Elizabeth Fontanilla said the competition is an annual activity conducted to inspire students to be space scientists in the future. 

“It is a good feeling to make water rockets out of soda bottles and other light materials and then seeing them fly afar. We believe that this ‘good feeling’ can ultimately serve as a motivation for our kids to make bigger things through science and technology in the future,” said Fontanilla. 

The activity was part of the 2013 World Space Week (WSW) celebrations organized by the Department of Science and Technology through SEI under its Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP). From October 4 to 10 of each year, the WSW is commemorated to provide a venue for students and educators to learn more about space science and its benefits to humankind as declared by the UN General Assembly in 1999.

Another highlight of the event is the On-the-Spot Poster Making Contest which involved 14 elementary students from public schools in Metro Manila. It was done under the theme "Space and me". 

Among the contestants, 11-year old Gwen Michael Magayac of Plaridel Elementary School came out with the best poster bringing bring home a P3,000 cash prize. Finishing second and third place are 11-year old Matthew Louis A. Tambong of M.L. Quezon Elementary School and 10-year old Janna Marie P. Borja of Andres Bonifacio Elementary School. Their entries will be sent to the APRSAF to compete with 40 other countries. 

Other activities held throughout the week hands-on activities about the layers of the earth and the craters of mars, and lecture on astronomy for teachers as facilitated by PSSEP Focal Person Dr. Rogel Mari Sese and the University of the Philippines Los Baños Astrophysics Laboratory. Dr. Sese also gave a talk on the Canned Satellite or CanSat as a device for space science education and research. 

The WSW also paved way for a Star Party, a gathering of astronomy enthusiasts giving the public a chance to view the night sky with their telescopes. Filipino astrophysicist and DOST scholar Dr. Reinabelle Reyes provided an inspirational talk to the participants during the Closing and Awarding ceremonies. (30)