What's been up in Adelaide









Forty seven teams from 23 countries arrived at Hindmarsh Square Adelaide for the finish of the World Solar Car Race from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide over a 3020 kilometre distance through bush country.

As early as 8 Am, the square was a beehive of activity as solar cars of various styles and shaped took their slots under the sprawling marquee that dominated the whole of the square. At the western side of the marquee, were the early finishers from the Challenger class where the flying Dutch entry Nuna 7 of Netherlands Team Nuon has proudly taken the slot for the first finisher. This was the fourth time that the Dutch team won the event, re-taking the position away from the Japanese Tokai University Team that snatched it away from them in 2009 and retaining it under their belt in 2011.

It was the third time that the Philippines participated in the event. Joining for the first time in 2007, with their entry named SINAG, the La Salle University Team of engineering professors and students fielded in their entry to the Wold Solar Race with the help and partnership of Ford Group Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, Motolite, Shell, Sunpower, Philippine Airlines and Ventus. The body of the vehicle was of carbon fiber and aramid fibre Nomex. Sinag pulled a surprise in finishing 12th amongst 40 participants from various highly industrialized countries.

In 2011, the same De La Salle Solar Car team built Sikat II, a modified version of a solar car – Sikat 1 that the team built for country road show in 2009 in preparation for the World Solar Car Race of 2011. The car was almost one half lighter than its predecessor and with improved aerodynamic. The car was capable of running at a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour for 5 hours even while using only its reserve battery for power. It was also capable of running on 4 kilowatt hour lithium –ion battery and solar array power at a speed of 85 kph covering a distance of up to 800 kilometres. It had one fault and it was that it cannot be driven under heavy downpour. The car finished the race but not without electrical problems earlier in the race that caused them points. Nonetheless, they did well enough to convince the sponsors of that year’s Solar Team Philippines to prepare for the next world Solar Car Race this year.

The 2013 World Solar Challenge has three race classes: Challenger, Cruiser class and Adventure Under this year’s World Solar Car Race, Sikat II which was the recycled but modified and improved Sikat II solar car of 2011, entered under the Adventure Category and finishing third in that class.

Earlier on, Sikat II, took the grid position in the Adventure Class and finished in 29th position during the first day, besting the time of other entries in the Challenger class.

Sikat II’s grid position number 1 was based on dynamic scrutineering tests held the week before the start of the race with the Philippine solar car clocking a lap time of 2:30.53 to earn the number 1 spot at the start of race. Australia’s Aurora Evolution took the second grid position. The vehicle was driven alternately by Carl Mamawal, a DLSU IT faculty member who was a former driver of the vehicle’s earlier version Sikat II of 2011 and Elijah Romey – a graduating Bachelor of Science in Engineering student of DLSU.




The Challenger class was where the most competitive of the solar car team entered and this included 2011 Challenger title holder Tokai Challenger of Tokai (Japan) University and previous events’ champions from the United States and Netherlands. The Japanese team won the title in 2009 and 2011.

The Adventure Class, was primarily “to allow teams with solar cars built for previous events to return, usually with new team members, for the adventure of crossing the continent on the silent power of nature.”

Australia has five entries: University NSW Solar Team Sunswift’s eVe, TAFE SA’s Solar Spirit 111, University of Western Sydney’s Solace, Queensland Team Arrow’s Arrow 1, and Melbourne Team Aurora’s Evolution.

Participants in the week-long 3,000 km raced through the Stuart Highway and travelling through the control check points at Katherine, Dunmarra, Tennant Creek, Ti Tree, Alice Springs, Kulgera, Coober Pedy, Glendambo and Port Augusta.

First Finisher Nuna 7 arrived at Angle Vale finish line after traveling 3020 kms at a speed of 90.70 per km on Wednesday 10:30 AM.

Sikat II arrived at the finish line Friday afternoon after having started off from Glendambo for their last leg earlier on that day.

The Philippines’ Sikat II travelled a total of 2,487 solar kilometres, beating Hong Kong, Turkey, USA, and two teams from Japan. Australia’s Aurora Evolution placed first while Chile’s Antakari landed second place in the same category. (A solar kilometre is the distance travelled by a vehicle relying solely on the sun’s energy.) Sikat Solar Challenge Foundation, composed of representatives from First Phil Holdings, First Gen, Energy Development Corporation, Sunpower, Ufreight, Shell, and Motolite supported the development of Sikat II.

In a correspondence sent by Jingo, the team’s PR coordinator, he reported:
“I feel so proud of the Sikat Solar Team for their accomplishments in spite of the limited resources and their hectic schedules. All the hard work and sleepless nights paid off in the form their third place finish,” says Project Manager Richard Li.

Team manager Dr. Alvin Culaba attributes the top finish to the dedication of the people behind Sikat II. “The race is more than getting to the finish line the fastest. The completion of this cross-continent journey is a demonstration of the team’s physical fitness and mental strength.”

The Filipino community of Adelaide under the leadership of ConGen Dr. Reynaldo G. Juanta, OAM in cooperation with 5EBI FM and Ethnic Radyo Pilipino, Inc. held a reception for the team at the EBI Auditorium in the afternoon of Saturday.

The 15-member team of Sikat II comprises of six faculty members, two staff and seven students – all from the De La Salle University.

Dr Alvin Culaba – Team Manager
Jack Catalan – Head, Electrical Team & Race Strategist
Isidro Marfori III – Mechanical Team Adviser
Leonard Ambata – Battery Safety Officer and First Aid Officer
Conrad Pantua – Safety Officer
Carl Mamawal – Primary Solar Car Driver, Logistics

Jingo Badillo – PR & Media Officer
Richard Li – Project Manager at DLSU
Karlo Matriano – Wiring, auxiliary electronics, back-up driver
Kenneth Navarro – Solar Array, back-up driver
Elijah Romey – Solar Car Driver
Ferdyn Ranosa – Scout driver and Logistics Assistant
Francis Pulmano – Battery Management
Samuel Gavinio – Telemetry, electronics asset
John Anthony Jose – Telemetry, Weather monitor, inventory assistant



In an article that I came across with, it is somewhat thought provoking how relevant the subject was to the current psyche of Filipinos. The explosion of the pork barrel scam bomb shell exposed more than revealed perfidy in a most atrocious connivance yet of the most improbable people to be involved. In the following article on “ARISTOCRACY” which was written in 1910 (!), one can see that the feudalistic thinking of the old Spanish ‘aristocracy’ has not changed. It flourishes today. It is in much worse manner in the hands of Pinoy politicians with in-depth disability of deep-rooted inferiority complex against other nationalities. They cover this up with bluster and false bravado. Their bluster emanates from security blanket of amassed wealth and their false bravado is from having guns and paid hit men to do their cowardly dirty work.



“An aristocracy represents a survival of the fittest—not necessarily the ideally fit, but the fittest to meet the conditions under which it must prove a survivor.

The conditions which Spain created here to mould Filipino character were mediæval, monarchical, and reactionary. The aristocracy is a land-holding one, untrained in the responsibilities of land-holders who grow up a legitimate part of the body politic of their country.

Previous to American occupation the aristocracy was excluded from any share in the government, and the Spaniards were exceedingly jealous of any pretensions to knowledge or culture on its part. The aristocracy which could survive such conditions had to do so by indirectness and courtier-like flattery, by blandishment and deceit.

The aristocrats learned to despise the poor and the weak; for the more extravagant the alms-giving, the more arrogant the secret attitude of the giver. They trusted less to their own strength than to others’ weakness. They relied less on their own knowledge than on others’ ignorance.

Whatever solidarity the aristocracy had and has to-day is of a class nature rather than of a racial. In the insurrection against Spain it allied itself with its lower-class brethren simply because Spain forced it to do so.

Had the friars made concessions to the aristocracy as a class, and permitted them a voice in Filipino affairs, there would have been no insurrection against Spain, nor would the entrance of a Filipino governing class have made large changes in the conditions of the great mass of the Filipino people.”


Mary Helen Fee
A Woman’s Impression of the Philippines
A.C. McClurge & Co., 1910


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