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Davao City, Philippines

Davaoeño students win big in STEAM Int’l Robothon

November 30, 2019 - Saturday 5:11 PM by Kenneth Paul Senarillos

Article Banner Image WINNERS ALL. Joshua Comia, Rustom Olaso, and Niel Roy Enriquez of the team Robo Aces Bravo together with DK Rophe Paniamogan, Jan Seanne Phillip Galos, and Onyxa Luiz Asuncion of team Robo Aces Alpha--the SIC 2019 victors.

DAVAO CITY – Out of 91 competing teams from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, two teams from Brokenshire College Toril (BCT) here triumphed in the Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. Mathematics. (STEAM) International Challenge or SIC on November 24, 2019 in Guangzhou, China.

SIC is an annual robotics competition that aims to consolidate primary and secondary students of Asia to be involved in STEAM through programming and robotics engineering.

BCT’s team Robo Aces Alpha, composed of Grade 5 student DK Rophe Paniamogan and Grade 6 students Jan Seanne Phillip Galos and Onyxa Luiz Asuncion, bagged the Distinction Award and emerged as the fourth placer in the competition’s high elementary VEX IQ category.

Meanwhile, team Robo Aces Bravo aced all their competitors and emerged as the overall champion in the high secondary VEX IQ category. The winning team is composed of Grade 10 students Niel Roy Enriquez and Rustom Olaso and Grade 11 student Joshua Comia.

ROBOTICS CHAMP. Team Robo Aces Bravo proudly carries the Philippine flag and the BCT banner as they accept the SIC 2019 championship trophy. BROKENSHIRE COLLEGE TORIL

Road to robotics

Brokenshire College-Toril is one of the pioneer schools in Davao City to integrate the robotics course in their curriculum.The school started teaching robotics in 2018.

Ang robotics kasi dito is depende sa grade level. Sa elementary, basic programming. Sa high school, more complex programming,” BCT robotics facilitator and coach Harold Verbal said.

(The way we teach robotics here varies on the grade level. In the elementary level, we teach basic programming while we do complex ones in high school.)

First Eduspec, Inc. provides BCT with the VEX IQ robotics curriculum.

According to Verbal, the students are taught robotics for an hour a week. The sessions allow the students to become familiar with the hardware and software structures of robots.

He said there are two general types of robots: the physical and the virtual. Physical robots are tangible while the virtual robots are the simulated ones seen on computer screens.

Not to be confused with animated robot characters seen on TV and computer screens, virtual robots, according to Magnos Technology director Anil Gupta, are computer generated graphics programmed to perform specific tasks that can simulate real-life concepts “without depending on the actual machine, thus saving cost and time.”

Robotics classes include the building of physical robots using VEX IQ materials and programming of physical and virtual robots — for them to be automated — through the Robotc software.

The SIC was a physical robotics competition.

YOUNG GENIUS. The team Robo Aces Alpha poses for the camera as they accept their Distinction Award during the SIC 2019. BROKENSHIRE COLLEGE TORIL

On winning and setbacks

On September 28, 33 students of BCT participated in the Philippine Robothon 2019 -- a national competition of designing, building, and programming robots -- at the Mapúa University in Manila.

Their strength in numbers did not translate to winning any award but seeing their potential, the event organizers invited BCT to compete in the SIC 2019 in Guangzhou, China.

DK, Jan, and Onyxa of team Robo Aces Alpha together with their high school counterpart Niel, Rustom, and Joshua of team Robo Aces Bravo spent long hours in the BCT Robotics laboratory under the guidance of coach Verbal to hone their skills.

The big day

The theme of the SIC 2019 was the “2050 Food Effect.” The participants were tasked to build and program a farming robot that can perform different missions on a 4 by 8 rectangular field track which was designed like a mini-farm.

The track was divided into different terminals where the automated robots of the participants could perform the designated missions of the competitions.

The farming missions included collecting faulty farming machines and delivering it to the service center; harvesting fruits and hay bales and delivering it to the payload area; and collecting seeds and planting them in designated chambers. Each accomplished mission had its corresponding points.


All the competing teams were given an hour to build their programmed robots and two minutes to run it on the field track. The challenge consisted of two rounds.

On the first round, the team Robo Aces Alpha failed to accomplish any task while team Robo Aces Bravo struggled on building a firm and consistent robot structure.

“In round one, zero points ang elementary; sige lang gyud mi ug pray kay all things are possible. Na-build ang school with faith…ang mga facilities with faith, so I think we can win with faith din,” BCT school director Cherrie Paniamogan said.

(In round one, the elementary got zero points. We really prayed during that time because we believe that all things are possible. The school and its facilities were built in faith, so I think we can win with faith also.)

“Trial and error lang gyud. Gibalik-balik namo siya ug play and modify. Tapos, gina-analyze gyud namo per movement sa robot para mas consistent gyud siya pag i-play na siya sa competition,” Rustom Olaso of team Robo Aces Bravo shared.

(We used the trial and error method to modify our robot. We analyzed all its movements to improve its consistency and performance during the competition.)

During the second round, the teams’ robot performances improved. That was also the time they knew that they would at least have a place in the competition.

Wala mi nag-expect na ma-champion. Nadaog ang mga bata because of their determination and goal na mudaog. At the same time, inapply talaga nila lahat ng tinuro ni coach” Paniamogan said.

(We did not really expect to become the champion. The kids won because of their determination. They really applied all the lessons taught by their coach.)

Robotics is more than building robots, according to Paniamogan. The high technology craft has affected the students of BCT in a positive way.

Hindi lang Math and Science ang tinatamaan ng robotics. Mabi-build talaga ang attitude and character ng mga bata…may discipline kasi siya and teamwork,” she said.

(Robotics is not just about Math and Science. It builds the attitude and character of the children through discipline and teamwork.)