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Some 57 students and teachers from 19 S&T Oriented High Schools in Regions 4A, 4B and 5 got a taste of the country’s rich marine life as they become junior marine scientists during the 2012 Marine Science Camp last 14-18 April at the UP Marine Science Laboratory in Bolinao, Pangasinan. 

With this year’s theme iSea: Peek. Plunge. Peer. “Immersing to the depths of the sea, emerging to take the lead in the science community”, the Camp challenged the incoming fourth-year students with their mentors through lectures and hands-on laboratory and on-site field activities in hopes of motivating them to pursue science and technology (S&T) careers. 

The Department of Science and Technology’s Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) in cooperation with the University of the Philippines’ Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) organized the event as an offshoot of its success in the past two years. In 2010 & 2011, the Science Camps focused on Biology and Marine Science, respectively. 

DOST-SEI Director Dr. Filma G. Brawner expressed gratitude to UP-MSI for its continued support for the Camp and letting its Bolinao Marine Laboratory (BML)—their official research base and the center for coastal-based resource management activities of Bolinao and its adjacent areas—serve as the venue, providing the perfect setting for the scheduled activities throughout the four-day Camp. 

“Together with the MSI, the Marine Science Camp seeks to expose students to real-life science by letting them experience what scientists do in the field with the vision of enticing them to pursue careers in the sciences, hopefully in marine science,” she said. 

DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Prof. Fortunato T. De la Peña hoped that the participants’ will be moved by the activities to soon become part of the science community and help ensure that the stream of scientists, engineers, and science teachers run incessantly. 

“Our country remains to be in need of scientists, engineers, and science teachers who will bankroll our research and development agenda through pioneering researches in areas that meet the need of the Filipino people,” he said. “We believe in the talent of the Filipino people. We know that our countrymen possess the needed skills, intellect and attitude to fuel our R&D agenda.” 

The Camp featured a series of lectures on general introduction to marine science, sea safety and survival knots, rope management, and underwater photography and video documentary. Participants were also given field activities to view sea grass, coral reefs, and giant clams. Other activities include community observation and interviews, of which participants were asked to report at the end of the camp. 

Participating schools consist of Batangas Province High School, Batangas National HS, Sangley Point National HS, Cavite National Science HS, Cavite National HS, Angono National HS, Quezon National HS, J. Leido Jr. Memorial National HS, Marinduque National HS, Occidental Mindoro National HS, Romblon National HS, Puerto Princesa City National HS, Palawan National HS, Philippine Science HS - Bicol Campus, Vinzon's Pilot HS, Catanduanes National HS, Donsol National Comprehensive HS, Masbate National Comprehensive HS, and Pili National HS. 

DOST Undersecretary for Regional Operations Dr. Carol M. Yorobe congratulated the camp’s participants for successfully completing the activities. “[T]he challenge now… is bringing all you have learned… to the next level. We hope that you will turn your learning to yearning, yearning to become a part of the science community in the future,” she said. 

Yorobe, likewise, encouraged the participants to pursue careers in science and pay it forward to their respective regions. She also commended the program’s conscious effort of reaching the regions and engaging young talents from outside the national capital. 

“Serve your people. We need you to be in the regions to boost up research and development that strikes at the heart of the needs that arise in your respective provinces,” she said. (30)