Can Filipinos build their own rockets?

It’s not a question of ability. The Philippines produces a staggering figure in terms of brain power for engineering, science, IT, and mathematics. It’s really a question of why: why aren’t Filipinos building their own rockets? Well the simple answer is also the lazy rhetorical one: “Why make when you can buy?

And there again goes Pinoy national pride whirling down the drain as our ever-cheering kababayans would rather ride on the back of national treasure and sports hero Manny Pacquiao to keep  the nation’s “Feenoy Fried” way up high on the world stage.

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Just to give you a taste of Pinoy capacity and appetite for tech, according to a 2016 report

Recent data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) show that the number of graduates with engineering degrees rose by 10 percent to 72,000.

There really is no excuse for Filipinos not developing indigenous technological know-how.

Besides rocket science is not that difficult, when “it’s just a matter of lighting up the small open end of a combustible-gas tank to make it go shooting off into the sky like a cannonball.” Well that could be a bit too simplistic, since you have to do it in a precise controlled manner too. But if hunger-stricken North Korea can do it, why can’t Filipinos?

Getting back to basics, rocket science isn’t as daunting as most Filipinos think:

The rocket engine is a relatively simple device in which propellants are burned and the resulting high pressure gases are expanded through a specially shaped nozzle to produce thrust.

If rocket science was really that out-of-reach for Pinoy brains, why are some kids in Palawan fiddling around with it?

Imagine the benefits of developing home-grown rocket build and launch capabilities…

Military Applications

Just recently, the Philippine military congratulated itself for finally buying its own missiles from Israel (at 10M PHP a piece). And bravo – the Philippine navy got to test fire them and hit/sink the target too. According to Navy spokesman Zata

A Spike-ER missile was fired and accurately hit the designated target at approximately six kilometers away from the firing platform. The target was hit dead center even if the sea condition was moderately rough with waves at least one meter high but within the normal firing conditions of the missile.

We really deserve a pat on our backs for “shopping expertise” – yes?

In retrospect, weren’t Filipinos already making their own rockets back in the Marcos days? What happened to that? When we should already be exporting missiles and jets by now, here we are begging to buy helicopters. According to archives…

Bongbong1 was a Philippine liquid-propellant rocket developed under Project Santa Barbara. The rocket is an experimental system developed by the Philippine Navy and a group of scientists that could range up to 25–50 km.

Philippine Aerospace Industry

The Philippines can be home to a thriving aerospace industry. We just had Japan help us put next-generation Diwata-2 (our very own Pinoy-developed microsatellite) up in orbit recently. Why not take the next step to launch satellites ourselves?

According to one local article, the Philippines is one of the best rocket launch sites in the world. And in yet another article, Filipinos are getting more enlightened on the coolest side-benefits of space exploration.

Getting Rid of “Pronouncements of Incompetence”

I recall entering a provincial UP campus seeing the sign “This is a nuclear-free zone”, as if it was something to be proud of to have ZERO technological ability in a field of science/engineering that is in the realm of technological giants.

When will Filipinos grow up? You are a potentially powerful country, you just don’t know it.

 *  *  *

Silver-lining footnote: Well if the following report isn’t fake news of simply wishful thinking, maybe Pinoys are indeed starting to grow up…Philippine Indigenous Rocket Program Back on Track

27 Replies to “Can Filipinos build their own rockets?”

  1. We the Filipinos can’t build our own missiles because of our crab mentality, lack of quality education, brain drain effect, lack of discipline, too much politics on our country and Filipinos are soft heart (pusong mamon) that they rather follow what the golden values on the Holy Bible is being said than focusing more on intelligence, strength & survival for our country like building more bombs, cannons, tanks, missiles, aircraft carriers, etc. etc.

    And speaking of aircraft carrier, did you know that in our neighboring country & our ASEAN brother, Thailand build their own world’s smallest aircraft carrier?

    Yes, they have their OWN aircraft carrier that our country haven’t! And take note that both Thailand & Philippines are 3rd World countries but damn, we have zero aircraft carriers!!! No Pinoy made/owned aircraft carriers!!!

    Even worst, we don’t even have a Pinoy made/owned submarines for our navy that could guard our local waters unlike in Singapore in which they have their very own subs in spite that it’s a very small country unlike us:

    So if we couldn’t make our own or purchase missiles, submarines & aircraft carriers then maybe if we could help those illegal Chinese workers who are now living in our country right now, maybe they should make it for our own missiles, submarines, aircraft carriers, etc., etc. since those Chinese are way better than us especially that the Chinese are good on making gadgets & other inventions than the Filipinos & they’d done that since the time of the Imperial China:

    How’s that lazy Filipinos? This is a moral lesson to all of us.

    1. @mrericx: “they rather follow what the golden values on the Holy Bible is being said”

      LOL. Really? Are we talking about the same country?

      “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image” LOL
      “Thou shalt not kill” LOL
      “Thou shalt not commit adultery” LOL
      “Thou shalt not steal” LOL
      “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” LOL
      “Thou shalt not covet” LOL

      How about this bit:

      “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat’. We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”


      Your security is at risk not because you can’t build weapons to defend yourself but because you are weak in your heads. Countries like China – who are always hungry for land – think: hmmm, those oxygen thieves over there are a bit of a waste of space. We should just take what they’ve got and do something useful with it.

      1. Indeed. I’m an atheist (not proud, I just was never religious) and it makes me chuckle that I follow the commandments of the bible much more closely by common sense than most Filipinos who go to church every Sunday and think of themselves as “good Christians”.

  2. One big potential plus if Filipinos were to suddently get obsessed with rocket engines: a lot of them will blow themselves up, thus removing some dead wood from the gene pool.

    The theory may be simple, but the main engineering challenge with rocket engines is, in fact, to stop it blowing up.

    Seriously, zaxx, this is a country that fundamentally struggles with technology. You must have noticed that Filipinos break pretty much every gadget they touch because they have no idea how it works; it’s just a magic box.

    There are no shortcuts to technological development: the Philippines has to develop a culture that embodies the basic underpinnings of engineering (eg., having a plan). I can’t see this happening anytime soon.

    1. Sir, not only they, Filipinos, blow themselves up WHAT IF THEY SENT ROCKET TO SPACE AND IT COMES DOWN TO BEIJING? There will be W-A-R !!!!

      1. Oh, come on. How likely is that?

        A Filipino rocket would never get more than six inches off the ground. It would give a loud sigh, settle back on the launch pad, drink a bottle of Tanduay, and then fall over.

  3. We produce rockets in the form of “kwitis”…manufactured in Bucawe, Bulacan.

    We mistake , “Rockets”, for “Racket”…there are many “Racketeers”, in the Philippines !

  4. YES, FILIPINOS CAN !!! Remember University of the Philippines sent satellite to space? U.P. is not telling what that satellite can do. Of course, they sent it with the help of Japanese. And the rocket that delivered the payload satellite to space? There was no news just satellite.

    U.P. satellite was monitored by JPL Caltech at Pasadena … REALLY?

    1. A team of nine Filipino engineers from the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) and the University of the Philippines, dubbed the “Magnificent 9”, were responsible for the production of Diwata-1 and collaborated with scientists and engineers from the two Japanese universities. They were sent to Japan in October 2015.The assembly and testing of Diwata-1 was completed in December 2015.

      Diwata-1 was handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on January 13, 2016, at the Tsukuba Space Center in Tsukuba, Japan. On January 18, 2016,JAXA sent the satellite to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States after conducting final tests on the satellite.

      Component tests, first vibration tests, post-vibration electrical tests, off-gas test, and fit checking were conducted on the satellite. Continuous functionality test of modules and sensors and software optimization were also done on the satellite.

  5. Plain and simple. We cannot make our own never in the present, never in the future, and never in the next generation. Sorry for my harsh comment.

  6. LOL. As usual GRP misses the mark. Bashes Filipinos without identifying the root cause of the problem and basically having a conclusion of BELIEVE. DREAM. ACHIEVE.

    You guys must really like “the secret ” don’t you?!?!

    Now since Pinoys can’t do that, you naturally fall back on Oratio “shit-head” Imperata arguments that BROWN SKIN ARE BAD. Derp Derp Derp.

    Contrary to what Oratio “not really a white boi” Imperia would like you to believe, and what you fail to mention is that America’s rockets and satellites weren’t build by some loner in his mother’s basement. There is no Tony Stark who built a robot suit with a box of twigs in the middle of the desert.

    Those things cost BILLIONS. There are dedicated government programs specifically targeting that. So why isnt our government funding stuff like that? Coz it is WASTING billions with useless shit. And the politicians who suck the money out of everyone’s pockets. North Korea which is a poor shithole country has a missile program. The government can easily fund it if it wants.

    You want pinoys to build a rocket?!? Give our scientists the 1 BILLION stolen by comelec chair Andy Bautista as capital. Otherwise , stuff a bunch of kwitis up your ASS and shut it.

    1. Nice post you got there, but unfortunately, you began to miss the mark when you attack the author instead.

      You have to do better than that.

  7. Just in…
    House okays bill seeking PHL answer to NASA
    December 4, 2018

    “For every peso the Philippines would spend on a space program, the quantifiable return of investment would be about P2.50,” said Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, program leader of the National Space Development Program

    I wonder how the naysayers will react to this timely development.

    1. That’s hilarious. This is a country that can’t even build roads. Or wheels. Or, for that matter, feed itself.

      “For every peso the Philippines would spend on a space program, the quantifiable return of investment would be about P2.50”

      No it won’t. It’ll be one peso. Because every peso that goes into this project will be stolen, one way or another, by politicians. That’s the WHOLE PURPOSE of these projects. Remember that dumbass bill about “deuterium mining”? This will be more of the same.


        Filipinos cannot even keep retaining wall standing ….. how can they even blast a rocket to space … OK … after blasting rocket to space …. what happens after ?


      2. 1 peso in, 1 peso out – at least that’s not a net loss.

        Well, taunting a determined Filipino astrophysicist to the point of success just might actually work. Even Elon Musk had his crowd of naysayers back then.

        So keep up the great work guys.

        1. IF TAUNTING WORKED … Filipinos would have changed BUT THEY DO NOT …

          To prove the taunter wrong Filipinos do not change
          Because if Filipinos change it means the taunter is right.


        2. Ah yes. The Filipino definition of success: at least we didn’t lose all our money.

          Also worth pointing out that Musk used his OWN money to build rockets. It’s easy to spend other people’s money on your half-assed ideas, especially if you know nobody’s ever going to hold you accountable for the nice house and new BMW you’ve mysteriously acquired.

          Here’s the thing, zaxx: The Americans built rockets because they could afford it. The Russians built rockets knowing that they couldn’t. History offers some sobering lessons there. If Dr. Rogel Mari Sese is so damn clever, he should focus on getting Filipinos to nail down some basics first, eg., proper transport systems. When he’s proved he can tackle big practical engineering problems, maybe he’ll have earned the right to spend tax money on boondoggles.

          @ORATIO: you’re probably right about the taunting. I suppose it’s like teasing the retarded kid at school. You know it’s bad, but you just can’t help it.

    2. DR. MARI REGEL SESE, you’ll be the first passenger and the rest of U.P. graduate designers …. IF YOU PEOPLE DO NOT EVEN WANT TO BE PASSENGER OF YOUR DESIGNED SPACE AIRCRAFT ….. then it is not spaceworthy ….

      IF IT FLOPS ….. ALL OF UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES REGENT, DR. SESE AND U.P. GRADUATE SPACE ENGINEERS’ personal properties and their relatives properties shall be garnished …. then all of them shall stand before a wall and face THE PEOPLE and take turns flogging them to death.

      And …. of course, those congressmen, senators and president who approved the space agency should also be thrown to a pond of crocodiles …

    3. LOL. The program leader saying the program is really important. No conflict of interest there. That’s akin to going to a random employee and asking if they deserve a raise — “well of course sir, I deserve at least 10 times my current pay”.

      Maybe solve things like road networks and the massive pollution first. You don’t start building a car until you at least understand how a bicycle works.

      1. >> You don’t start building a car until you at least understand how a bicycle works.
        Exactly. But Filipinos are always looking for short-cuts and “it just might work” payoffs. They hate doing things the hard way.

  8. ROADS & BRIDGES FIRST BEFORE ROCKETS. That is not rocket science, obviously!


    PHILIPPINES is the sickest country in South East Asia whose only expertise is crookery and they are sending rocket to Mars? AHA! HA! HA!


  9. If anyone is interested, there’s an interview with the head honcho here:

    He seems like a smart guy, but he has no sensible answer to the question “why is Space research useful?”. It might be useful to developed countries, but it’s of no use whatsoever to the Philippines – not least because all the services he mentions can be easily purchased on the open market for reasonable sums of money. Suggesting it’s important for growing rice is just stupid.

    He would have been better off telling the truth: it’s no use at all, but it’s important for Pinoy Pride. Everyone would have bought that.


    It is not China was intimidated of Philippine Rockets with payload capabilities ….

    China is just telling U.P., like children, do not play with matches …. “IF YOU CANNOT PUT OUT FIRE IN METRO MANILA, DO NOT PLAY WITH FIRE”

    That is a slap on the pupils of U.P. I BELIEVE CHINA IS CORRECT.

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