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about Carl

A letter of reference for Carl in the third person. The letter should refer to the specific achievements and experiences. It may also comment on any weaknesses.
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Carl is a self-driven, high-performing student who goes above and beyond in every endeavor. In the last two years, I have witnessed Carl grow from someone who shoulders every workload on his own because of his high standards to being a likable leader who gives equal care and attention to his group members.

Even during junior high school, he has proven himself passionate by attending Science Fairs yearly. It is rare to witness the same student voluntarily come back with novel concepts, as research is a task despised by students in his community. It is the same story for Carl's yearly endeavors in the World Robotics Olympiad. His team has always been at the bottom of the list, but in his final year, he led his team and topped the nationals, representing the Philippines in Hungary.

Outside of academics is where Carl shines the brightest. He garners wisdom by joining one hackathon to another. His telemedicine project "Stat" won multiple awards such as the Philippines' National Science and Engineering Fair. Leading a team to alleviate poverty by gamifying financial education with Plutus - The Money Game. Even during quarantine, Carl developed six innovations. Because of this, he gave a talk to the country's Department of Education. Carl also won the hearts of Singapore with his trash mapping innovation called Dump.Waste and Segue MediRecords, an Electronic Medical Record for small-scale physicians to aid them during the pandemic for free.

Carl's personal qualities are also well-honed. To cope with stress, he plays with art. To give back to the community, Carl has volunteered in and founded initiatives, namely One Gadget One Child, and Padayun.Ko, to help with education and a more equal access to it. I think Carl is a holistic individual with the potential to better the world's way of life.

What qualities did you develop through your quarantine productivity? How do you think they may have helped to prepare you for an Engineering course? Feel free to comment on how your community engagement may have been different than expected as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Diving head-first into a pit full of sharks is an experience I have gotten comfortable with. Except the sharks were competitions like the World Robotics Olympiad (WRO) and Science Investigatory Projects (SIPs)—and I have successfully tamed my sharks, driving me further into success. This unlocked my innate passion for Science and Technology and desire to be a pioneer in life. Initially, my enthusiasm was not immediately met by success: I was responsible for the team who was always last during the WRO trials; I was the "researcher" who copy-paste Wikipedia links in the bibliography of my paper.

Fast forward in the pandemic setting, where I have turned into a self-driven and multi-awarded problem solver who goes beyond classroom academics and actively seeks hackathons and problems to solve thanks to the 24/7 access to my desktop. These experiences led me to holistically navigate life as a now product designer of Symph, a tech company in Cebu, where I regularly communicate with clients and deliver quality project outputs. All while giving back to my community with One Gadget One Child, where we give gadgets to marginalized students to continue their education. Who knew a band of volunteers could impact the lives of 70 families?

Despite realizing the obstacles an idea has to undergo before actualization—and very rarely, success, I still want to develop new ones and pioneer with them. Let the University of Toronto witness my new dive as I finish Engineering Sciences and become a Research Scientist on Emerging Tech.

Please describe a topic that is of importance to you, and how it is a reflection of who you are. Why is this topic important to you?

I love being first. Not a first-placer-on-a-competition sense, but being the first to try out new things; being the first to explore an area with my friends; trying out a new kind of food for the first time. I am a pioneer by nature because curiosity compels me to try out new things. While that sounds like a nice and optimistic life, the main driving force I fail to acknowledge is boredom. I hate being bored, but boredom helped me move, it was and is essential for my growth.

I am keen on using "boredom": a word usually paired up with negative meanings, as the topic that reflects my being. This is because I am a product of its potential. For instance: I was bored during quarantine, so I joined hackathons to keep myself busy—this gave me the skills and opportunities I needed to start pursuing my career in product design and development.

Being bored means getting time on your hands to explore and finally realize your true passion. The best part is: this phenomenon happens to everybody. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to reflect and work on self-development—or they could turn to Netflix.

Though a double-edged blade, boredom and its potential to change your lives with deliberate decision-making can help people find their true calling. I know it did with mine.

What does community mean to you? How do you contribute to the well-being of your community?

I believe everyone should be given easy access to quality education. Reality, however, advocates for otherwise; it has opened a wider chasm between students who can afford, and students who can only afford to dream. Fortunately, I am surrounded by selfless individuals who bear the same beliefs as I do. The community I strongly resonate with is the volunteers I work with to ensure that students—especially the impoverished ones—successfully achieve their goals in life.

Actions speak louder than words. I am involved with two pro-access-to-education initiatives. The first is called One Gadget One Child where I volunteered to be the creative marketing lead. It involved donating gadgets to select students according to financial need. During the initiative’s wrap-up, me and my fellow volunteers could not help but tear up when we received multiple handwritten letters from our dependents. We helped 70 families continue their studies during the pandemic.

Inspired by One Gadget One Child, the second initiative--now founded by yours truly--is a platform that curates ongoing scholarships for Filipinos in a website. It lists the major details such as the qualifications, requirements, and benefits. With the site, are three teams of volunteers I have put together. Currently, the site is live and is constantly being updated while I look for opportunities to spread the word. We get an average of 40 visitors per day.

I aspire to embody the saying of Mother Teresa, "When you cannot help many, help one.". Apart from initiatives, I have also raised funds totaling approximately $2,500 for a student raising his siblings after the recent loss of both of his parents. These were examples of how I contributed to the well-being of disadvantaged students with my community. Not for, nor to, but with. I hope to continue creating ripples of change.

How do you envision your chosen program of study (Engineering Physics) helping you reach your long-term career and personal goals? What drives you to achieve your goals?

My technology skills have exposed me to the world of computers and startups at a young age. It has taught me to love research and the creation of new technologies to solve the problems of today. One thing I have noticed with years of experience, however, is how most startups and hackathons only result in band-aid solutions. This led me to a realization: to progress, humanity must work closely together with Science and target the root of the problem at a foundational level. Thus, my desire to study Engineering Physics was born.

Studying at the University of British Columbia would make up for the lack of manpower, experience, and facilities in the Philippines. My experience during the World Robotics Olympiad 2019 taught me this: even without the right resources, my team managed to self-learn and apply a calculus concept—P.I.D. Control Systems—and land a spot in the worldwide competition; imagine the possibilities if we were given access to proper parts and education.

I wish to enter UBC so that I may contribute to the world, and show other equally-talented, but restricted students that this attainment is possible, by being a self-driven research scientist in emerging technologies.

Tell us which activity, award, or achievement was the most meaningful and why.

One Gadget One Child sent me emotional waves of relief and a peace of mind. Knowing how we managed to help 70 families breath easier inspired me to do more for the world. However, getting to the international stage after being the team always at the bottom of the list every year in the Robotic Olympiads is closer to my heart. It was growth in action. The efforts involved in multiple tries, retries, and iterations will always be a core memory. It showed me that humanity can achieve anything if they put their heart and mind inside of it.

Who are you? How would your family, friends, and/or members of your community describe you?

I am known to go beyond textbooks and identify problems affecting people—then I would solve it. Throughout every endeavour, I played different roles: I was the leader, the engineer, the photographer, the artist, the researcher, and more. These skills were learned out of sheer curiosity fuelled by a strong motivation: deadlines.

In the eyes of the people I have made an impression on, I am an enterprising and passionate pioneer. During junior high school, I was praised for being the captain of the first-generation Lego EV3 players who carried the Philippine Flag in the World Robotics Olympiad despite a lack of coaching and financial resources. During my time at a tech company in Cebu, I made myself an indispensable developer/designer by advocating for no-code tools to create websites. Presently, four major projects are using the said tool.

When I look at myself in the mirror, I see a problem solver. A "conveniator" or someone who makes things convenient for efficiency. This is how I built my reputation as an innovator—I share my solutions with the world to help others with the same difficulties. From a health reminder extension to combating climate change by utilizing our smartphone and social media addiction.

I innovate, be it at home, work, or school. I solve my problems and share my solutions to the world. These are usually made with the help of new concepts, methods, and tools. This is why I dub myself as "The Pioneer".

What is important to you? And why?

The ideal person works with his heart and his mind—both figuratively and literally. As an aspiring research scientist, I find three things important: value, passion, and most importantly, smiling.

Whether it is about thinking, learning, or speaking, being passionate about helping people with research taught me about people and ideas. Life has taught me that every word and action bears underlying value, especially in ideas from those who are usually belittled. This thinking moved my attitude away from doing everything alone, to me happily sharing the load.

There are also times where I share resources to help a person with their growth, only to be dismayed upon finding out that they did not do anything about what they are seemingly passionate about. This is why I particularly value passion, it supercharges individuals to go above and beyond. An invisible force. Passion has carried me from being a regular student to being someone who seizes the opportunity to help in every encounter.

Lastly, I love smiling. It helps me regain my humanity after working on ideas day after day. Seeing smiles motivates me to do even better things for the world. The smiles I have received from seeing the less privileged receive their gadgets with the help of One Gadget One Child, an initiative I was involved with, pushes me to become an even brighter beacon of light.

Acknowledging the underlying value in every expended effort, especially by those with a smile motivates me to continue pursuing my goals passionately. With hopes of being the medium that enables others to do the same as well.

Describe a personal life experience that has had particular significance for you and highlight the reason(s) it was significant, whether it had an impact on others, and any insights or understandings you gained from it.

I am known for leading the flag of a small high school in the Philippines to the World Robotics Olympiad in Hungary. However, the challenges behind this success included embarrassing my school by always being in last place, as well as learning a lot of calculus too advanced for my level, then convincing people for financial support. This essay will cover the story of how I led my team to the international stage through years of trial and error with a stroke of bold, last-minute decisions.

My first year in Marigondon National High School (MNHS) also happened to be the time when the school of 5,000 junior high school students received their first Lego EV3 kit. Though I was only a freshman with zero experience, I was delegated to be the team captain and algorithm engineer due to my experience in web development—which was self-taught—and major interest in what I called "learnable robotics". In my first competition, the First Lego League (FLL), I broke down and cried. Then, for the next three years, our robot would continue to be the last placer on the leaderboard.

September 5, 2019. Hoops Dome Arena at Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. I could already foresee our loss in the regular category, so as the team captain, I made a wild decision: I convinced the organizers to switch categories; from the robot obstacle course to robot soccer. We broke down the robot we spent months perfecting, and, with our passion reignited by hope and confidence thanks to experience, rebuilt it to fit a completely new world. We were only given five minutes to build and code on the spot for the new category, as the matches were already starting. We won 3rd place that day and qualified for the nationals.

Long story short, in the nationals, my team was banned from playing until we modified our build. We did not have the appropriate sensors. The parts used in our robots were compromised, since our school was not financially capable enough to provide us with the proper sensor to detect the infrared ball. We, however, carried on with unorthodox methods, utilizing the other sensors allowed in. Like Iron Man making the clunky first version of his suit. Surprisingly, we made it to the semi-finals and represented the Philippines in the WRO 2018 Invitationals. The following year, we continued the same path and thankfully made it to the nationals again. The only difference was the community in Lapu-Lapu lent us parts. We also tapped into an engineer for guidance. He played a significant role in our success by somehow managing to introduce us to the P.I.D. Control System: a self-correcting algorithm, two days before the nationals. I vividly remember the night in Manila before the competition proper: two timid grade 10 students studying a few college-level engineering concepts in hopes of getting into the internationals taking place at Györ, Hungary. During the contest proper, we prayed, played, made a few friends from the Claret School of Quezon, prayed and played with said new friends, then we managed to score a goal—both metaphorically and literally—by getting 3rd place, securing my team a spot in the internationals.

Before the glorious nights in Europe, we were faced with yet another financial dilemma: the money needed to fund our flight and stay in Hungary. We knocked on many doors, hoping for kind hearts to open up. It was a long but rewarding journey. In the end, the mayor of Lapu-Lapu City, Hon. Ahong Chan came to our aid. A core memory that will forever inspire me and my team. As I waved the Philippine flag in glory at the stages of Edutus University, I could not help but be grateful to God, my family, my educators, and myself for not giving up. Cliché, as it may be, failure and experience really are life's greatest teachers. It may be hard, but it is not impossible.

Tell us more about one or two activities listed above that are most important to you.


When a mother and her daughter were immobilized from setting foot in a physical clinic, I knew I had to step in. Ever since junior high, I loved solving problems with technology. Proven by my yearly participation in science fairs; I learn by making. COVID-19 discouraged physical projects, and so I turned to apps for a solution.

Later down the road, SFTech started a UX Contest. I entered with my telemedicine idea. However, my only experience was graphic design in Canva, I had to learn the ropes in product development. From user research to building and testing the usability of the app prototype. The deadline helped me produce a prototype, complete with the feedback of doctors and I.T. professionals within one week. Research was vital since it helped me choose between which features to include for maximum efficiency.

Stat was named champion of the SFTech UX Contest, the National Science and Engineering Fair, and the Social Innovation for Health Initiative award. It also opened doors for my first job as a product designer at Symph. However, what made me happy was the discovery of the mother and daughter's safety as they used a live telemedicine app as inspired by Stat.


Two months before September, the commencement of Online Distance Learning was announced by the department of education. It made cellphones and the internet a requirement, this worsened the divide in the access to equal education.

As soon as I saw 1G1C's announcement of how they were starting an initiative donating gadgets to students, I wanted to help. I realized that they could grab more attention with better graphics, I messaged the leader despite being not that confident with my skills. I was made in charge of the branding and all multimedia.

It was a meaningful and wholesome experience. Reading the letters written by the recipients made me feel so grateful—thankful that I was about to use my talent this way. As we wrapped up our initiative almost one year later, I could only cry as I was shown the 70 families who received a gadget.

Extracurricular activities
and/or community involvement

Overwatch SEA | Designers Prize & Master Prize

June 2020 - Awarded by Blizzard Entertainment SEA

First-time photo manipulation piece Simala Sanctuary de Cebu bagged the skill-based Designers Prize (6th place) & popularity-based Master Prize (3rd place) in the Overwatch SEA Map Design Contest by Blizzard.

During the event, I organized a group with my friends to help me promote. I was featured in the country's biggest news outlets and newspapers. As a result, I was told stories of how I inspired the youth to pursue the arts.

Grand Champion for Science Research

November 2020 - Awarded by National Science and Engineering Fair Philippines (NSEF PH)

When my classmate and her mother could not physically tend to their diseases because of COVID-19, Stat: Your Virtual Clinic created.

Stat was my first app concept. It introduced and gave me a career in product design. Stat has won multiple awards like the National Science and Engineering Fair PH. It also gave me a job as a product designer at Symph, a tech company in Cebu.

The Financial Literacy Innovation Challenge | Challenge Winners - Student Track

May 2021 - Awarded by PhilDev and Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation

The Financial Literacy Innovation Challenge by PhilDev and Cebuana Lhuillier Foundation challenged innovators across the country to answer the question, “How might we increase the level of financial literacy in underserved communities in the Philippines?”

I led Team Centavion, composed of six students, to ideate, develop, and publish Plutus: The Money Game. An offline game based on Dumb Ways to Die but for financial literacy. This game will raise financial literacy and awareness with the help of four concepts: earning, spending, saving, and donating.

Padayun.Ko - Scholarships for Filipinos

Educational Initiative - Founded November 2021 (< 5 hours/week)

Founded and organized Padayun,Ko, a website containing curated scholarships in 2021 for Filipinos. The name comes from the Visayan expression "I will continue".

This initiative was born to break the culture of students needing to rummage through the internet search of up-to-date opportunities.

Currently, I spend time to plan, update, and improve the quality of the site. I also seek partnerships with education platforms.

One Gadget One Child

Educational initiative - Joined June 2020, ended March 2021 (<5 hours/week)

One Gadget One Child was an initiative by a group of volunteers in Cebu aiding students to transition to online learning by acquiring pre-loved devices and giving them to those deemed deserving.

I was the marketing creative who was in charge of the branding, posts, and videos. The initiative was featured in multiple news outlets. We helped 70 families receive gadgets for online learning.

PH Representatives | World Robotics Olympiad

Sports (Robotics) - Pioneered August 2016, ended November 2019 (est. 264 hours/year)

Leader and pioneer of Marigondon National High School's (A secondary institution of 5,000 students) robotics team. Started with zero knowledge and at the bottom of the ranking list in 2016, successfully led the team and represented the Philippines during the World Robotics Olympiad 2019 in Hungary.

I was the team captain and programmer of the team. To make it to the nationals, me and my members self-learned the P.I.D. control system and the usage of omniwheels.

Carl's actually done a lot! Luckily, he documents his endeavours in Notion.

Visit Carl's achievement tracker