2018 marks the 21st year since SIHAY first started its advocacy by shaping the future of biology through the Filipino youth. Its inception began as a modest idea of providing an avenue for high school students to shine in the biological arena, and throughout the years its undeviating intent did not waver.
On February 8, 1997, the flagship activity of the organization made its debut at the D.L. Umali Hall. Initially a biology quiz contest, the event was called SIHAY, from the union of si- (silid) and -hay (na may buhay), the Filipino translation for “cell”. On that day forward, SIHAY effectively became the crowning glory of the organization’s week-long celebration of Cell Week.
Throughout time, SIHAY has developed progressively. It included other activities such as laboratory techniques demonstration, poster-making and essay-writing contests then being called, the SIHAY Biology Competition. In 2006, the first ever SIHAY Biology Congress was held, with wider sets of activities that included workshops, seminar series, and research competition. Eventually, the target audience widened: from being a regional activity, it became Luzon-wide and then nationwide in 2016.
Last 2017, on its 20th year, SIHAY was dubbed as an Olympiad like the Greek’s quadrennial culmination of athleticism through their Olympic games. The similarity ends in that the organization was triumphantly commemorating instead, a fifth quadrennial anniversary of immense revolutions in biology, especially cell biology in the Philippines; two glorious decades of awakening the inner biologists in the Filipino Youth through this event, hence giving rise to today’s visionaries in biology. In other words, the organization is culminating the realization of the visions through which this event was built upon – which is, to shape the future of biology in our country, one student at a time.
This year, SIHAY continues to evolve by catering to a more monumental demand. It now includes impromptu speaking and teacher’s biotechniques workshop. Impromptu speaking contest was added to this year’s Olympiad to showcase the knowledge and ability of the students in voicing out their stands and outlooks regarding the current issues in the scientific community. Meanwhile, biotechniques workshop for the teachers or coaches were also added to immerse the educators on the recent advancement in the field of biotechnology, which plays a vital role in biological research.
SIHAY will constantly aim to inculcate among its participants the biological and holistic excellence (exemplified by competitions such as poster-making, feature-writing, research competition, and quiz contest); academic scholarship (through symposia and techniques demonstration); most importantly, camaraderie and harmony (through the SIHAY Amazing Race)— the same virtues upon which the organization was founded.