Grace Christian College (GCC) Team Gracean Whiz topped the maiden year of the Philippines’ first and only varsity type robotic competition for high school students, Tagisang Robotics, organized by the Science Education Institute, the country’s science and technology human resource development agency. 

In partnership with SM Prime Holdings and Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center together with Alexan, Felta Multimedia Inc., Jollibee Foundation, National Instruments, Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology, and Thinklab, Tagisang Robotics seeks to help high school students discover how interesting and rewarding the life of engineers and researchers can be. 

Graceans outdid 21 other high schools from Metro Manila and nearby provinces netting the highest seed after the elimination round, winning the Best Team award with a cash prize of P100,000, a trophy and gold medals. Their coach, Warren OngPe, took home P30,000 as cash prize for their winning. 

Graceans also won the Best Alliance Award together with Dr. Yanga’s College Inc. Team DYCI Trojans and Rizal National Science High School Team R11 Mekanismo beating the alliance of Makati-based schools Tibagan High School Team Masonry, Makati Science High School Team Maksci Roboccaneers and Bangkal High School Team Robotes Amables in the Final Round. 

The Best Alliance awardees got P150,000 cash prize, their coaches, P30,000, their schools trophies and silver medals. 

Special Awards were given as well to the other schools who joined Tagisang Robotics. Muntinlupa Science High School Team Munsci Jailbreakers got the Thinklab Best Blog Award. 

Caloocan High School Team Mechanical High won both the Felta Most Popular Robot Award and the Alexan Most Popular Team Award, after their robot and team picture obtained the most number of Facebook likes at the end of the elimination round. 

Philippine Science High School Main Campus Team Liyab, on the other hand, secured the National Instruments Best Robot Engineering Design. 

Schools locked horned over Sikaran 2011, a mixture of football and basketball, two of the hottest games in the country with the objective of scoring the most milon and pakwan balls to their opponent’s goal. 

A match begins with a random selection of alliances from the Tagisang Robotics participants, composed of 10 students per team from each school. 

The teams are grouped into Red and Blue alliances, three teams per alliance, at each match with each team represented by two students. One of the students will be driving their robot, another plays either as a shooter or the alliance commander. 

Each shooter is given five milon balls, each worth two points, which they shoot to the opponent’s goal upon commencement of the game. Robots of each alliance also try to score by pushing the milon balls to the opponent’s goal. The commander is the chief strategist of each alliance, guiding the drivers and the shooters in the match. 

At the last 30 seconds of each match, an alliance can capture an opponent’s milon ball, bring it to their shooter who then exchanges it for a pakwan ball. Scoring a pakwan ball merits the alliance 10 points. 

Alliances change at each match until the top four teams emerge. At the semi-finals, each of the top four teams chooses two other teams to be their allies who will be with them until they reach the finals. 

SEI Director Dr. Filma Brawner said Tagisang Robotics has brought into the country a brand new spectrum into Philippine robotics fueled by dynamism, enthusiasm and team spirit. 

“Tagisang Robotics: Design, Build, and Play Competition has opened a brand new way of robotics learning that can be integrated into the curricular programs of schools. As a field, robotics is a perfect example of a convergence of various disciplines emerging from basic and applied sciences, building and controlling robots that perform, certain tasks are not just the goals of this competition, but rather, the development of skills and values that will be useful in running tomorrow’s technology-driven industry,” she said. 

Brawner urged student participants to take on careers in science in the future and hone their skills in critical and creative thinking, teamwork, interpersonal communication and problem solving, despite being on a highly competitive environment. 

“We are optimistic that in the future our students will take on careers in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering. Moreover, we hope that they will share with their classmates and family members the zeal they have acquired during the conduct of the competition,” she said. (30)