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MRP Building, Mola Corner Pasong Tirad Streets, Brgy La Paz, Makati City

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UP BCS holds annual BCS Week with the theme ‘HAYKAPNAYAN 2024’

For the first time in almost four years, the University of the Philippines Biochemistry Society (UP BCS) held its annual Biochemistry Week in full face-to-face set-up, inviting high schools from all over the country in a week-long series of events from January 29 to February 2, 2024 at the University of the Philippines Manila, with the theme “Haykapnayan: Paghuhubog ng Mga
Bagong Siyentista ng Bayan.”

BCS Week

UP BCS Vice President for Internal Affairs Patrice del Rosario shared in an interview that“ everything the organization has accomplished since the beginning of the academic year has been leading up to this,” all to “revive the pre-pandemic org culture, and launch new events for BCS members and high school students,” making Biochemistry more recognized and appreciated not just by its students, but also the general public.

Joining UP BCS at the opening ceremony of Haykapnayan 2024 last January 29, and enlightening the audience with their innovation stories are Filipino scientists and esteemed speakers Ms. Shea Tan, a registered chemist and cosmetic formulator, and Mr. Jeremy De Leon, the inventor of Make-roscope–a single-lens handheld keychain microscope. “Had so much fun meeting the future leaders of biochemistry,” and a “solid conversation,” wrote Ms. Tan and Mr. De Leon, respectively, as they each posted in their Facebook accounts.

BCS Week

Continuing the excitement is the kick-off of one of five sub-events hosted by UP BCS–Bugso: A Chemazing Race, where BCS members are met with fun challenges spread out at different stations within UP Manila prepared by the Biochemistry seniors.
Juliana Chiong of Team Buendia, the winning team of Bugso, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs of UP BCS, shared how this race tested their skills and knowledge in the different fields of Chemistry, saying “our team gave our best, showcasing our collaboration skills and determination to pass each challenge.”

Donning a fresh name as one of the highly anticipated events of BCS Week is Tatak Biochem!, a platform for BS Biochemistry alumni to share their life and work experiences in their respective careers in the academe, medicine, research, and industry, held last January 30.

Four outstanding alumni took to stage some of their works: Dr. Harold Henrison Chiu of Batch 2010 on associations of metabolic syndrome and albuminuria, Ms. Melissa Borlagdan of Batch 2008 on functional foods research, Mr. Andrian Gajigan of Batch 2012 on molecular biology of giant virus infections, and Mrs. Everlyn Tamayo-Araneta of Batch 2010 on understanding air

Setting this year’s BCS Week apart from its earlier iterations is the inaugural launch of the National Biochemistry Quiz Bee (NBQB), Tuklas: A Research Conference, and Likha: A SciComm Poster Making Contest, where 10 participating high schools nationwide face each other to showcase their talents and proficiency in the field of biochemistry.

By the end of the NBQB, bringing home the prizes were Philippine Science High School-Western Visayas Campus (PSHS-WVC) Team B composed of Patric Maestral, Carl Rampola and Ellen Yabut who emerged as the champion, PSHS-WVC Team A with Nea Enim, Carlos Eusoya and Maria Rentino as first runner-up, and Philippine Science High School-Central Mindanao Campus (PSHS-CMC) Team B with Marco Balhan, Khaleel Boransing and Andrea Buenaventura as second runner-up.

“We had a clear goal. To win,” said one of the NBQB participants, also expressing how this was a team effort and that they wanted to make their institution and teachers proud.

Showcasing their creativity in the Likha poster-making contest, Ronnie Odang II of Emmanuel Resurreccion Congressional Integrated High School bagged the champion title, followed by Reah Gaspar of Holy Spirit Academy of Malolos as the first runner-up, and Vianca Guiyab of National University Nazareth School as the second runner-up. In the Tuklas research conference, Marie Arianna Mangiliin of Paref Woodrose School presented their work on the stoichiometry calculator, and three UP BCS members discussed their previous high school science projects as well: Bryan Dela Cruz on the isolation of bacteria from agricultural soil, Jesusa Ferrer on a mobile diabetes monitoring app, and Carl San Juan on molecular docking analysis.

The champion team of NBQB said, “we really do not know what to expect this Haykapnayan 2024 because it focused more on Biochemistry ideas and concepts compared to the previous years,” but they also highlighted how joining in this event was a very fun and fulfilling experience.

“As much as possible, we want it to be a great, meaningful experience for the high school students,” said del Rosario. “We want it to be worth it,” she added. Expressing their sentiments for the recently concluded BCS Week, the winners from PSHS-WVC thanked UP BCS “for conducting a meaningful event that was able to further promote the Biochemistry program of UPM.”

“If I knew Biochem was this fun, I would’ve chosen it but I’ve submitted my forms already,” said a graduating high school student-participant when asked about college applications, after which they quickly added that the next batches will surely be back to join more events by the UP Biochemistry Society, or even possibly join as a member of the organization itself, as it was an
opportunity for them to grow and meet new people. Haykapnayan 2024 is really about making science fun and accessible, instilling a sense of fulfillment and belongingness to the BCS members, and igniting the passion of the youth in Biochemistry.

“It’s not just to be a great student or a great scientist in the future, but also a scientist and a learner that gives back to the country and always has a commitment to service and nation building,” del Rosario stated as she revealed that the remaining events of UP BCS for this academic year will focus more on science communication and service-oriented projects.

Ending the week-long event is a hopeful message by one of the high school participants saying, “to fellow aspiring scientists, we’ll get there. If we put our heart into it, we’ll be able to bring science that is for the people, by the people, and of the people.”

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