There’s more to the Philippines than its white sand beaches, verdant mountains, and rich marine ecosystem. Apart from these resources, the country boasts of its people who are known to be hardworking, hospitable, and talented. In fact, one of the celebrated heroes of the country, Dr. Jose Rizal is not just a patriot, but a teacher, scientist, and inventor as well.
When it comes to the international scene, the names Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Efren Reyes, Catriona Gray often come to mind when asked about the Philippines. But aside from them, there are so many unappreciated geniuses in the country that have made great contributions not only locally but also worldwide.
10 Filipino Inventions that You Have to Know
Here are some of the inventions utilized worldwide that were actually made by Filipinos.
- Solar Window
In 2020, the 27-year-old BS Electrical Engineering student, Carvey Ehren Maigue, of Mapua University came up with a brilliant idea of converting crop wastes – such as fruits and vegetables – into solar windows that would absorb UV lights and convert them into electricity. His invention, theAuREUS, bested all the other 1,800 from all around the world and bagged the Global Sustainability Prize at the James Dyson Award.
- Medical Incubator
Dr. Fe del Mundo was the first person of Asian descent to be admitted to the esteemed Harvard University School of Medicine. Knowing how scarce our medical resources are, she invented a bamboo incubator in 1941 to help families in rural communities that don’t have electricity yet. According to the biographical reports, the physician improvised a makeshift incubator consisting of two native laundry baskets made of bamboo. Warmth was provided by placing hot water bottles between and around the two baskets. By doing this, the body temperature of newborn babies is regulated even without the use of electricity.
- Mango Flowering
As one of the world’s suppliers of mangoes, it is easy to think that the country is able to harvest mangoes all year round. What most people don’t know is that these fruit-bearing trees are seasonal—meaning, they only bear flowers during a specific time within the year. For quite some time, Filipinos have relied on smudging to keep up with the demands. However, a national scientist, Ramon Barba, came up with a cheaper alternative: spraying potassium nitrate dissolved in water. By doing this, mango growers were able to double – and even triple – their usual production.
- Banana Ketchup
Yes, that condiment that we often use for dips or to add taste to Filipino dishes is a brainchild of the Filipina food technologist Maria Orosa-Ylagan. As per records, the recipe for banana ketchup was created and experimented with foods that are native to the Philippines. Apart from being a scientist, she was also a humanitarian, and war hero. During World War II, she fought alongside the Americans against the Japanese. She managed to come up with a plan to smuggle Soyalac and Darac into Japanese-run detention camps wrapped in bamboo. By doing so, the prisoners did not suffer malnutrition and saved countless POWs and civilians.
- 16-Bit Microchip
How big is the data capacity of your gadget? Did you know that the first single chip, 16-bit microprocessor-based calculator was designed by a Filipino? Yes, Diosdado Banatao (more popularly known as Dado Banatao) is an engineer working in high-tech industry who developed the first 10-Mbit Ethernet CMOS with silicon coupler data-link control and transreceiver chip. Along with the local bus idea and the first Windows Graphics accelerator chip for personal computers, he is also credited with creating the first system logic chip set for IBM’s PC-XT and PC-AT.
- COVID-Test Kits
Before lockdowns in 2020 were implemented, Dr. Raul Destura and his team from the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) had already created a low-cost COVID-19 rRT-PCR Detection Kit. It became the first locally-developed COVID-19 test kit that received approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which was already approved to be utilized for commercial purposes.
- Pili Sealant
In 2021, the recipient of the James Dyson Award was still a Filipino. Mark Kennedy Bantugo, a farmer’s son, successfully developed a sustainable material that can be utilized as a sealant for aircraft integral fuel tanks – to avoid fuel leakage. The BS in Aeronautical Engineering graduate made use of his learning by creating a sealant made from the resin waste of pili trees.
Despite the pandemic, many of us are still able to work remotely thanks to videoconferencing applications like Skype and Zoom. But did you know that this complex videotelephony was first conceptualized by a Filipino? In 1955, Filipino physicist and engineer, Gregorio Zara developed a two-way television-telephone which was patented as a “photo phone signal separator network”.
Been using this antibiotic? Well, this was first discovered by Dr. Abelardo B. Aguilar who was working as a researcher for the international pharmaceutical firm, Eli Lilly and Company. This antibiotic was first submitted in 1949 to his superiors and was then identified as one that could help treat bacterial illnesses.
- GINHAWA (Low-cost ventilator)
We can’t deny that in terms of medical equipment, there is a sure lack of it in many of our hospitals. With a lot of patients admitted because of COVID-19, a research team of pulmonologists and biomedical engineers led by Dr. Abundio Balgos of UP Manila developed a low-cost, compact, and effective ventilator that can be safely used by both children and adults. GINHAWA is 42% cheaper compared to the ventilators used in many ICUs, emergency rooms, and ambulances. Aside from its functions, it is also embedded with software protocols for self-diagnosis and patient data analytics.