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A bumpy ride for young engineers
Miguel Reyes has two passions: photography and cars. He almost had to sacrifice both last year when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, taking thousands of lives and causing destruction.
- Team name: TEAM PUP-MANILA
- Average age: 20
- Car name: Tanglaw
- Class: Prototype
- Fuel: Petrol
- Unique features: Car body made from banana plant fibre
- Years in the competition: 2
- Records to beat: No recorded attempt
Miguel, aged 19, captains a team from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines that is designing an ultra-energy-efficient car to compete in Shell Eco-marathon.
Miguel Reyes hopes his team’s energy-efficient car will make his country proud
The team opted to use acaber fibre from banana plants for the car body, keeping down costs as well as the weight of the car. Work was in full flow when, in November last year, a typhoon struck the country. Progress on the car halted. Wanting to help, Miguel donated money he’d been saving for a new camera towards relief efforts.
We were horrified,” says Miguel. “I wanted to do all I could.”
Miguel’s university is in the capital Manila, which was virtually untouched by the typhoon. But he and his team knew people in affected areas. Team secretary Kristine Joy L. Resurreccion had been raising funds to build the car. Suddenly her full focus was on her grandmother who lived in Tacloban city, more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) from Manila.
“We lost contact when the city was destroyed,” says Kristine. “My family was frantic.”
The entire team rallied round Kristine. Miguel and team mate Sonny Aurellano helped wider efforts by sorting donations of clothes and tinned food in the city. Two weeks later Kristine finally received news that her grandmother was doing well. Work resumed on the car and now the team is making final preparations.
“We are looking forward to the competition,” says Miguel. “We want to show the world that visitors should still come to our country – and we want to make our country proud of us!”