Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



In July 2016, two high school students in the Philippine team garnered gold at the 57th International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) in Hong Kong, capping a three-decade long quest for the top prize in the most prestigious high school math competition in the world. The four other team members also brought home honors, boosting our country to its highest rank ever, 17th out of 109 countries. This article discusses the history of the Philippine participation in the IMO, and examines the critical factors that have led to the victory. For Philippine team participants in general, these include: institutionalized and refined search for and training of potential participants, early exposure to problem solving from family and/or school, mental toughness of the students. Additional factors exist for Filipino-Chinese contestants, including the Confucian tradition of learning, scholastic role models, pattern similarities between math and the Chinese language, and more time spent learning math.