Saturday, August 12, 2017

Davao Math whiz wins in India

 “Davao math whiz wins in India”
Sun.Star Davao, August 12, 2017

In the recent India International Mathematics Competition (InIMC), Team Philippines comprised of 34 students from different public and private schools impressively bagged a total of 26 medals.
With one gold, eight silver and seventeen bronze medals, including ten merit certificates, Dr. Simon L. Chua, the chief operating officer and co-founder of the non-government organization Mathematics Trainers’ Guild (MTG) Philippines and delegation head, praised the Filipino math geniuses for their commendable performance.

"With your achievement, you made not only your respective families and schools but also your country proud. It likewise reaffirmed that Filipino math wizards rank among the best in the world," Dr. Chua says in an interview.
The other participating countries included Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and host India.  

MTG has been in the forefront in promoting excellence in math education and training and was responsible for preparing Team Philippines in the prestigious competition.
The country's lone gold medal in the InIMC came from the Philippines’ Team C members Enzo Rafael Chan of Bayanihan Institute; Kristen Steffi Teh of Grace Christian College; Sean Matthew Tan of Jubilee Christian Academy and Cassidy Kyler Lao Tan of Davao Christian High School.
GOLD MEDALISTS at the India International Mathematics Competition (InIMC). (From left) Team Philippines’ Cassidy Kyler Tan (Davao Christian High School), Kristen Steffi Teh (Grace Christian College), Enzo Rafael Chan (Bayanihan Institute), and Sean Matthew Tan (Jubilee Christian Academy).

Aside from his team’s gold medal victory, twelve-year old Dabawenyo Kyler who is currently a Grade 7 student won a bronze medal in the individual category.
Kyler is no newbie in clinching top spots in international competitions. Aside from his local and national math medal hauls, he has previously competed and won in math tilts in Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. In addition, the batch valedictorian was a perfect scorer and prize awardee during the 2016 Australian Mathematics Competition.

It was Kyler’s DCHS teacher Rosnie Buenaventura who first discovered his extraordinary gift in math. “When I was in Grade 1, I enjoyed doing math puzzles and riddles. Ma’am Rosnie saw my interest and would give me math problems to solve at the back of my notebook. She encouraged me to do math trainings to hone my skills.  And, since then, math became a part of my life”, Kyler recalls.

 “I trained at the Rigid Math Training Center every Saturday.  I also joined Mathematics Trainers’ Guild Philippines’ programs and activities”, shares Kyler who enjoys swimming, biking, music and playing drums and computer games. 

The future scientist/businessman credits his achievements to God’s guidance and his interest in math. “I also owe it to my intensive trainings, hard work and determination. And, of course, the relentless support of my parents, trainers, teachers, and friends”, he adds.

“Math is fun. It is used daily in our life.  Like what Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. Math just needs practice.  Like any other sports, practice makes perfect”, the bubbly Kyler discloses.  

It’s not only about winning

If you think that Kyler is the only math whiz in the family, then, you are in for a big surprise. His two other younger sisters, Chloe Kimberly (10 y.o.) and Chelsea Kristanna (8 y.o.) also won gold and silver medals, respectively, at the 2017 International Mathematics Wizard Challenge in Xiamen, China last summer.

Besides their innate talents in math and perseverance, a significant part of the siblings’ success is the all-out support of their parents, Kenneth Mark and Cristy Tan.

 “I have to manage my time to be with them during their trainings and competition. I drive them every day during their trainings in Manila and maximize the summer by planning road and food trips during weekends. I also study and research on the places and countries they have to go to, to ensure their safety”, details Kenneth. 

But, all these sacrifices are well worth it when Kenneth sees his kids enjoying themselves while learning. “It’s not always the winning that is the most important, as long as I know that they did their best in the competition”, he intimates.

What is the Tans’ secret in raising kids who love math?

“Show math as something fun and useful.  Support your children and motivate them. You should have focus just like driving. There are many roads, detours or alternate routes that will lead you to your destination and like math, there are many solutions to solve a puzzle or reach a correct answer. The fun there is if you discover the shortcuts!”, the hands-on dad smiles.

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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Travel-all-you-can with Davao's Team Juanton

"Travel-all-you-can with Davao’s Team Juanton"
Sun.Star Davao, July 29, 2017

Five teams. Seven days. One-year unlimited travel.

Cebu Pacific’s Juan for Fun (JFF) Backpacker Challenge 2017 recently gathered five intrepid teams from Bacolod, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, and Davao City, for an adventure of a lifetime – an unforgettable trip exploring the Philippines’ breathtaking destinations for seven thrilling days.

After a week of non-stop escapade ably equipped with gadgets from Oppo; data plans from Smart; travel gear from Jake Bros; PhP 40,000 in pocket money; and Cebu Pacific tickets, Davao’s very own Team Juanton triumphantly emerged as JFF’s over-all champion for 2017.

JUAN FOR FUN 2017 WINNERS: Davao's Team Juanton (from left) Christian Dominic Ang,
Chyn Ira Crisostomo and Gloria Andrea 'Geia' Mendoza
Team Juanton is composed of Davao Christian High School alumni Chyn Ira Crisostomo, currently a Manufacturing Engineering and Management (with specialization in Mechatronics and Robotics Engineering) student from De La Salle University-Manila; Gloria Andrea ‘Geia’ Mendoza and Christian Dominic ‘Dom’ Ang taking up Mass Communication (minor in Psychology) and Accountancy, respectively, both from Ateneo de Davao University.

Aside from clinching the top spot, the three Dabawenyos bagged PhP 60,000 during the Chippy Kada Jumpshots Challenge; and were awarded Instax cameras and a GoPro for their winning 30-second Smart Communications video entry. What a sweep!

In this Q and A, let’s hear from these youthful wanderlusts as they reveal how gallivanting around our beautiful country became a barkada trip they will endlessly treasure!

Why do you think traveling is important?
“We think traveling is important because we get to step out of our comfort zones and explore places that we’ll never be able to see if we only stayed in one place. By traveling, we get to meet strangers who are kind and will even get out of their way to help us; eat food and delicacies that may sometimes taste weird but are really great; and try new things that will push us to our limits. Traveling with each other as friends also makes our bond stronger. We get to know what each person likes/dislikes and how they are with things.”

When did you start traveling as a barkada?
“Our first trip was when we were in 4th year high school. We attended a Hillsong concert together in Manila. After that, we traveled to different places either by land, boat or plane. We would go on road trips to Mati or Samal, fly together to Bacolod and Manila and basically, anywhere we could think of”.

What made you decide to join the Juan for Fun (JFF) Backpacker Challenge?
“It was just something that we wanted to try and didn’t really expect to get into. It was fun making the audition video and we just waited and see what would happen from there.”

Why did you name your group Team Juanton?

“We were just thinking of possible team names that can have the word “Juan”. Our choices included Juanted (Wanted) and Juanton (Wanton) but we went with the latter. After thinking of Juanton, we realized that since we all had Chinese blood, Juanton (Wanton) was a perfect fit!”

What were the activities during the JFF?
“The top 10 teams had to go the Juan for Fun Academy in Manila where different speakers talked about vlogging, blogging, itinerary creation, etc. During the “Manila Challenge”, we were assigned to different locations in Manila. Within the day, we uploaded photos and a video on social media.

Then, the Top 5 teams were given a PhP40,000 budget for 7 days. Our team went to Dumaguete for 3 days (Valencia, Siquijor and Apo Island); Cebu for 2 days; and Legazpi for 2 days. We listed down all the activities we did each day, including the expenses. The more activities, the better.


The organizers also required us to upload photos on our Instagram with the hashtags #JuanForFun2017 and #JFFTeamJuanton. In addition, we were given various challenges that were written in a booklet. For example, “Climb a mountain and take a panorama view” or “Create a vlog doing a local craft”.”

What do you think made you qualify as one of the top five teams?
“We had creative concepts for our photos and videos and were energetic to go to different places and do many activities for points. Most importantly, we didn’t stop praying so God was always on our side.”

 What were the most memorable experiences of this adventure?
“Swimming with the turtles in Apo Island; seeing Mt. Mayon for the first time; driving a habal-habal around Dumaguete because it was Dom's first time to drive one; and of course, receiving the award as the ultimate backpacker for 2017.”


What were the challenges you encountered along the way?  
“Waking up early. Most of the time, we needed to stay up late to plan for our next day's itinerary and we had a very early call time at 5:30am. Also, budgeting was a problem. We started with 40k and we thought it was a big amount but along the journey, even paid comfort rooms were expensive so we really had a hard time allocating and budgeting our money to survive the 7-day challenge.”

Do you have any target number of cities that you wish to visit in one year? (I read that the last winner had 70 trips!)
“If it's possible, we would like to beat him! No, just joking! The former winner was actually our ‘content’ (the person who took our photos that became the property of Cebu Pacific) during the contest and we became really close. Since we're students, we’ll try and travel every weekend. Hopefully, we'll be able to maximize the unlimited flights for a year.”

What cities would you like to visit for one year?
“First, we are going to travel together back to Legazpi to thank the people who helped us like our tour guide/driver, Kuya John, and to the ATV operators who gave us a big discount. And we are planning to go to Bali, Indonesia together but I think there are future flights where we are going to travel individually.”

What is your message for next year’s Juan for Fun (Year 7) contestants?
“Don't be afraid to try, test your limits, push yourself and always pray!”

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