A little learning is a dangerous thing. With all the technological strides the West is making, it’s easy to fall into the thinking Filipinos are laggingbehind as a race. Not until you come across certified Pinoy inventions.
Creativity is a gift of the gods, true. Wire-haired Einstein put it most aptly: “Imagination is more powerful than reality.” Take away creativity and we could be back in the Stone Age in no time. One with the saber-toothed tigers and those “terrible lizards” called dinosaurs. No fun stuff indeed. But with creativity anything’s possible. You can take a block ofmarble, put it in the hands of a Michelangelo and out comes themost-sought after statue in the whole world: the iconic “David”. Or take the usual Walk Man, put in the genius of Steve Jobs and you got a revolution called the iPod. Amazing!
However, creativity and its brilliance is not beholden to a single race – no matter what our conquering Spaniards used to say. Filipinos can lay claim to some of the best creative products the human race have seen.
Gentlemen, every Juan, it’s with a touch of pride and distinction that I present to you the Top 10 craziest inventions and innovation of True Blue Filipinos.
Early on, our ancestors already distinguished themselves with being creative. You may think yoyo as that harmless device where your kids can practice their “walk the dog” and double-spin tricks. But no. In the early days 400 years ago to be exact, our beloved ancestors used the yoyo as a deadly weapon. Yes, you heard us right. Read that one: To protect and kill another human.
Of course, that yoyo they employed – which became the frontrunner of our modern yoyo that comes with all the lights and glitz – was large equipped with sharp edges and studs. Added to this it was attached to a 20-feet long rope. Imagine that.
How about a public utility vehicle (PUV) that’s devoid of noise and environmentally-friendly too as it’s devoid of harmful emissions? Before Elon Musk strut his stuff and displayed his e-cars on any U.S sales window, Philippines was already making headlines with the electric jeepney geared for public use. How’s that for a change?
#8: Medical Incubator
Credit it to Fe del Mundo, the first ever Asian to enter the Harvard University’s prestigious School of Medicine. That alone is a feat of incredible proportions. But Dr. del Mundo did not waste her precious knowledge. She designed an incubator for the poor using easily-found home materials: 2 native laundry baskets (of different sizes), hot water bottles. Add a makeshift hood and voila!
Now who says you can’t have an incubator without electricity?
Now, this is one powerful antibiotic available in the market today. To give you an idea how useful is the treatment WHO has listed it as part of the List of Essential Medicines. Guess who was ingenious enough to come up with such a powerful drug? Yes, you got it right. A Filipino doctor by the name of Dr. Abelardo B. Aguilar. He could have become super-rich had he patented it. But no! The good Ilonggo, after discovering the strain in his province sent it to his U.S. employer, Eli Lilli Co., who as you guessed made a killing out of the drug. For a detailed read, look here.
Lesson of the story: Opportunity knocks but once.
#6: Banana Catsup
When was the last time you’ve used banana catsup? No, you don’t have to be a monkey to use one. And certainly you don’t have to do it on top of the tallest building of the world like those latest selfie craze.
Yes, banana catsup is an amazing product of Filipino ingenuity, specifically that of a great food technologist, Maria Orosa y Ylagan (1893-1945). And if you think the good lady stopped there, think again. Her mind created some more: powdered calamansi for calamansi juice, Soyalac (powdered soya-beans). That last original concoction Soyalac was instrumental in saving thousands of lives – Filipinos and Americans – held in various concentration camps during the Japanese occupation.
#5: Anticancer Cream
Here’s one for the books. For his distinct invention, Rolando dela Cruz won the gold medal at the prestigious International Inventor’s Forum in 2005. The invention: “DeBBC” anti-cancer cream. Now, talk about besting the whole world with over 1,500 entries. The winning product – a combination of cashew nuts and local herbs – treats basal skin carcinoma – the most common skin cancer worldwide.
#4: SMS Reader for the Blind
How’s this for a change? Four engineering students from De La Salle made their mark coming up with such a useful invention. Steve Jobs would be proud.
#3: Mole Remover
Another winner from great Filipino inventor Rolando dela Cruz. Got a mole or a wart that has been pestering your face all our life? Never fear for Rolando is here. Again from local herbs (e.g., cashew nut) came a instant mole remover that leaves no mark and most importantly is painless.
And because of Mr. dela Cruz’ genius, his formula won him another gold medal in another global competition: International Invention, Innovation, Industrial Design and Technology Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur in September 2000.
#2: Quink Ink
Tired of blotting pens? Thank God for Francisco Quisumbing. His innovative quink ink not only was quick dry, it’s water-resistant too, non-blotting and non-clogging. So you can enjoy writing at your most comfortable.
#1: 16-Bit Microchip
And now, for our Top Dog. Our “Steve Jobs” of the Philippines himself. This is top choice invention because it has created a revolution that affected every Juan, in fact, everybody on Planet Earth. With this invention, computers became even faster. And the inventor is certified Filipino and certified coming from a poor family. How poor? Think: He had to walk barefoot to elementary school every day. But today he’s one of the richest sons of our Filipino nation has produced. He’s in the U.S. now but has equipped his now-famous Malabbac Elementary School with the most advanced computer system.
His name: Diosdado Banatao, His invention: first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator
There you have it, folks. Hope that one went down well. Like a flask of coconut wine or “tuba”. Do drop me a line or two in the comments section below, should you feel like it.
And please join our Club Noveau for a Better Philippines. No, we’re not into anti or pro Charter Change campaign. Share this article and you’d have done your fellow Pinoya favor – certainly no disservice there.
Show some love brother. With the world being shaken by shootings, we owe the Michael Browns of this world some prayer. Especially with so much hate. ISIS, including.
I believe it was Stephen Covey who said it best, “Leaders are not problem-oriented, they’re solution-oriented.” Got to hit the sack!