Tuesday, December 09, 2003

planet biyo

Sometimes, the best of us, those who are able to inspire others towards greater things, are actually recognized. Too often is it the case that deeds that silently help others are kept in the shadows. And I do not mean the “regular” acts of philanthropy, where donors who contribute vast sums request anonymity.

I’m talking about educators, like the Iloilo teacher honored a few months back.

Dr. Josette Biyo is a public school teacher who won the Intel Excellence in Teaching award in the US, besting 4,000 candidates from all around the world. During the final deliberations of merit at a prestigious competition that compared teaching methodologies, her opponents came with their high-tech computers, translators, minders and support crew. China put up a hell of a show, along with the US. The Filipino teacher came with acetates and a white board marker (as back up), alone. She didn't even a laptop computer.

She was the first Filipino to win, and the first Asian at that, beating the home team on their home turf. Subsequently, one of the smaller newly discovered planets (or planetisimals, I suppose) was named after her by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory in Boston. Planet Biyo revolves around the sun between Mars and Jupiter.

She joins the two Filipino boys, who, through their efforts in another international scientific competition, showed the world that the story of the Filipino is not wholly mired in heartbreaking politics. These two students have two pieces of stellar real estate with their names now.

So if you think that all news regarding our misbegotten country is depressing, look towards the night sky. With a little imagination, you can see markers of Filipino achievement pondering the vastness of the cosmos.

Be proud.

"I dreamt of stars; I was given a planet." - Josette Biyo


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