MANILA, Philippines -The title of Gian Carlo Dapul’s speech not only sounded odd to London judges in the recently concluded English Speaking Union’s (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition, but it also made sense.
The sixteen-year-old incoming Philippine Science High School senior didn’t falter in his curiously-titled speech, ‘Fish mucus and Foot Fungus,’ a five minute-speech that dished out scientific researches that have helped mankind live better.
“They noticed how natural I was while I was talking. I [talked about how] research is a tool in unlocking new frontiers and new horizons which is basically the theme of the competition,” Dapul told GMANews Friday when he arrived at the airport.
Greeted by his banner-waving relatives, Dapul’s nonchalant swagger at the airport emphasizes the fact that he bested 57 participants from 35 countries in the annual speaking competition last May 9.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Dapul, the second Filipino to have won the ESU competition, confessed about his win.
TV host and columnist, Patricia Evangelista was the first Filipino to have won the contest in 2004. Evangelista was a college student at the University of the Philippines when she received competed in London.
Dapul will formally receive his award on November at the Buckingham Palace.
During the question and answer portion following each of the delegates’ speeches, Dapul was asked about his stand on the morality of genetic research particularly stem cell.
He replied: “I believe that the challenges that morality presents is a bit dubious depending on your point of view. For example, what is better to not conduct stem cell research which would save lives or to conduct stem cell research which can cure cancer, Parkinson’s and many other diseases.”
“Controversy is caused by differing opinions it depends on where those opinions can meet in the middle because there is such a thing as ethical research. And this research can be pursued if ethics dictates that other types of research should not be pursued,” he added.
Dapul’s father, Santi beamed how his son was able to beat other countries in the competition.
“His success in London was really his [own] success. In the end it was his ability to convince the judges that made him win,” Santi said.
Despite detailing the scientific breakthroughs over the decades which have marked a new frontier in the world, Dapul’s speech hardly bored the judges with his humorous banters.
“If only we could make science fairs and contests as popular as the thriving ‘Pop Idol’ franchise. Although I’m not sure if Simon Cowell’s sardonic comments will sit well with my peers,” he said in his speech. -Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV