Best friends and young scientists Rey Pelayo and Rafael Tallador from Iloilo didn't have to look far for an abundant and affordable source for their research -- nipa palm. With their innovation, cancer prevention can be part of one's diet.
So common that they're sometimes thrown away, Pelayo and Tallador took nipa palm for their research: how to extract lactic acid bacteria and use it as an anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial agent.
Anti-oxidants and anti-bacterials fight cancer-causing free radicals and the duo wants to fight one of the Philippines' leading causes of mortaility by stopping it at the source. In 2018 alone, official data showed cancer killed some 60,000 Filipinos.
"I wasn't into research at first. It molded me to become a person, to be deeply passionate, as a life-long learner, I want to pursue research and get to the world or the community," Pelayo said.
The duo was among the winners of the 2020 Gokongwei Brother's Foundation's annual search for young scientists, who will get full college scholarships.
The 12 students who won this year are "champions of change" said the foundation's general manager, Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng. The foundation hopes to create solutions sustainable and innovative solutions to the country's problems.
"We at the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation are firm believers that strengthening our STEM education is the driving force for maintaining sustainable national development, which means Filipinos innovating and establishing new Filipino business," she said.