While it is true that teens in this day and age are becoming too obsessed on Pokémon Go and similar products of “Generation Me,” there are still young people who create an impact in the community.

Meet this team of Cebu City National Science High School students who created a buzz with their innovative, eco-friendly flashlight project and triumphed in the recently concluded ABS-CBN Central Visayas Eco-Patrol Competition.

Young Minds Academy (YMA) scholars Marc Carlo Pocong, Katriel Gantalao, and Stephanie Tamayo’s Project Pa-S.I.G.A (Suga nga Isakto ang Gamit sa Asin) utilizes common table salt or even seawater in coming up with an improvised source of light, which is of great use for disaster preparedness.

Project Pa-S.I.G.A. also supports the use of recycled materials and is, therefore, environment-friendly. Because it is just simple, anybody can create a similar project.

Young Minds Academy

(Left) An organizer that contains the necessary materials in creating the improvised flashlight. (Right, Top to Bottom) Preparing the copper, aluminum, cloth and cotton to create the flashlight component. The improvised flashlight component chain is being secured to a popsicle stick. The copper of the core of the improvised flashlight is wrapped loth and cotton.

“It was a very fulfilling experience. We were really able to apply our YMA learning even after our season. We felt very happy that we were given the opportunity to upscale our project and to improve our previous prototypes,” Pocong said on joining the competition.

YMA is a program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.–Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center, where chosen students undergo an eight-month leadership and citizenship development training. The graduates undergo learning sessions, community exposures, and project development anchored on an annual theme.  

Pocong, Gantalao, and Tamayo were YMA Season 9 (2015) scholars. It was during that experience when the idea of creating a saltwater light source was created. Although Pa-S.I.G.A started as a mere concept, they were able to develop a prototype whose light astonishingly lasts up to 36 hours.

Cebu City National Science High School

(Left to right) Cebu City Science High School (CCNSHS) students Katriel Gantalao, Marc Carlo Pocong, and Stephanie Tamayo with their Investigatory Project/ Research adviser Irene P. Lopez (third from left) and ABS-CBN Central Visayas’ Jaworski Alipon (left).

Since its inception in 2006, YMA has trained close to a thousand young leaders who graduated with enhanced competence, strengthened character, and more active citizenship engagement.  

Pocong said the Eco-Patrol competition was a memorable experience for them, and that receiving the award made them even more inspired to keep on thinking of more innovative ways to help the community and the environment. / by John Nicko M. Coyoca