MANILA – Giving Filipino youth the chance to see their artwork on the Google Philippines homepage, the Google 4 Doodle competition has launched in the country for the first time. 

The competition calls on young Filipinos to innovate creatively by designing a Google Doodle that shows how they think they can contribute to nation building while making use of the letters of the Google logo. Google Doodles commemorate holidays and significant events in history and current events, from the FIFA World Cup to elections, and even a user’s own birthday.

According to Google Philippines country marketing manager Ryan Morales, by bringing the Doodle 4 Google competition to the country, they hope to inspire the youth with their passion for art and culture, as well as offer a platform to showcase their talent.

Marking another first in the competition’s history, Google has opened the Philippine competition not only to students, but to those without formal schooling. 

With the theme ‘What can I do for the Philippines?’, the competition seeks to spark the spirit of selflessness and service. “The Philippines has been through a lot, and we are one of the most resilient in the world despite the fact that we’ve been through social, political, cultural and even natural difficulties. Filipinos have a way of always being happy, always fighting through, always banding together and we’re also one of the most expressive and emotional people so we thought it would  be the perfect theme,” Morales said during the launch on July 10.

Morales said the theme would encourage children to get inspired to create their own stories about what their ideas are about improving the nation. “Who knows, maybe some of those ideas that come from the youth can actually inspire those of us who are older to be actually be able to improve our nation,” he said. 

The competition is open to students and learners aged five to 17, currently enrolled in public or private schools, or enlisted in an alternative learning system under the Department of Education. “That’s actually a first for Google worldwide and we’re proud that it’s in the Philippines where it first starts,” said Morales. 

According to National Youth Commission  Assistant Secretary Jose Sixto “Dingdong” Dantes III, there are over 4 million out-of- school-youth in the country. “With this initiative, they reiterated that everyone is included. Walang maiiwan, no one will be left behind,” he said.

“I believe that if we harness the talent of the youth we can come up with so many solutions,” said Dantes, adding that the competition is also an innovative and creative way to find out what the youth’s sentiments are. 

“This drives home the point that anyone, regardless of their stature in life, rich or poor, young or old, has the capacity to contribute to building the nation,” said Patrick Salamat, director of communications at the Department of Education, in behalf of DepEd assistant secretary Reynaldo Laguda.

To help spread word about the competition, Google will be holding roadshows across the country, where program partner WeeWillDoodle will hold doodling workshops.

“It’s sort of like drawing, but not really thinking about it. Doodles are the things you do when you’re talking to a person, and you have this piece of paper and you’re not thinking about what you’re drawing. It could be a character, it could be a monster, it could be a superhero and it’s growing, but anything goes,” said WeeWillDoodle founder Nelz Yumul.

For the launch, WeeWillDoodle held a workshop with kids from Virlanie Foundation, and a live art session where they made their own Google Doodle. 

To select the winners, Google put together a diverse group of judges: TBWA\Santiago Mangada Puno senior art director CJ De Silva, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year Efren Peñaflorida, PLDT-Smart Foundation president Ma. Esther Santos, BPI Foundation executive director Fidelina A. Corcuera, and Google Doodler Katy Wu. “We wanted people who actually have a heart for drawing, but of course we would like to give some honor to those who are helping us with this entire competition,” said Google Philippines communications manager Gail Tan.

Rules and prizes

Entries to the competition are classified according to four age groups: 5 to 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14, and 15 to 17. The student or learner must be a Filipino citizen residing in the Philippines at the time of submission. Entries will be accepted from July 10 to September 19.

From all the submissions, the best 400 doodles will receive Doodle 4 Google certificates. 40 finalists will receive a Doodle 4 Google goody bag, and will be invited to attend the awarding ceremony wearing a shirt with his or her own doodle printed on it.

The four age group winners will each receive gift certificates worth P5,000 from National Book Store, a 3D doodling pen, and a Nexus 7 tablet.

The overall winner will get a Google Trophy, a P400,000 educational grant from BPI Foundation for any school or college in the Philippines of his or her choice, an art kit from National Book Store, Acer C720 Chromebook, and a P350,000 connectivity grant from PLDT-Smart Foundation for the school or learning center of the winner. 

The overall winner’s doodle will be displayed on the Google Philippines homepage for 24 hours in November 2014.

For more details, visit the Doodle 4 Google page