Isaiah Leobrera and Fernando Cabuang Jr. bagged gold and silver medals, respectively, in the Ateneo Mathematics Society’s Sipnayan, an inter-school competition, held last November 24 to 27, 2020.

“I was very surprised and delighted because I did not expect to be a silver awardee in this contest. I was already intimidated by the fact that this contest invited all the aces in Mathematics from different places in the Philippines. I was very excited and happy after I received the news,” Cabuang shared.

Meanwhile, Leobrera said that he was beyond shocked when he found out he was a gold awardee.

“[To] be among the top 5%, one should have a high score and be fast in submitting. It truly shocked me [to be a gold awardee],” Leobrera said.

The two grade 11 students prepared for the competition by going through their reviewers from last year’s Philippine Mathematics Olympiad. They also shared other materials and taught each other in preparation for the competition.

“I [was] motivated by the fact that I [carried] the name of Marist School in an inter-school competition. I get to bring pride to the school,” Leobrera, who was their batch silver medalist in the grade 10 moving-up ceremony, shared.

Aside from carrying the school’s name, Cabuang shared that he had another motivation throughout the competition.

“I thought about my family and close friends in competing for the event,” Cabuang added.

Both faced difficulties during the competition as Cabuang found the questions with binomial theorem and modulus to be difficult. He said that he only got through them by reevaluating the information he learned from lectures and reviewers.

Leobrera, on the other hand, found the timeframe of the event to be difficult.

The problems were posted at night so he could not solve the problems continuously. He also had a hard time answering two items.

He realized that the solutions to these were simple, and advanced concepts were not required.
From this experience, the two learned that sometimes the most puzzling and intimidating problems only require simple solutions. Andrew James Cepe

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