UPLB Team's HEAL-PH Wins in FLExPHD Competition

THE HEAL-PH mobile application developed by Team M1R4G3 from the University of the Philippines-Los Baños won the top prize in the Food is Life Exemplified: Planetary Health Diet app development competition.

Designed to cultivate healthy eating habits, the HEAL-PH app uses innovative features to assist students in making informed dietary choices. By using image recognition technology, the app accurately identifies food items and assigns health points, empowering the users to evaluate their selections.

The exceptional capabilities of HEAL-PH secured for the team a prize of P500,000, which will be used to further develop the app into a downloadable version to be launched in October 2023.

Val Randolf Madrid, representing the six members of Team M1R4G3, said, "It was really, really fun. As a tech guy, I was just very happy that we were able to run a lightweight AI model on a cellphone offline."

Team MAPA from the Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas Campus placed second and won P200,000 for their creation of the VICTU app. This innovative application streamlines cafeteria management to offer healthful food options.

Tying for third place were AskEdi! and Sustainsia apps, each receiving a prize of P50,000. AskEdi! by Team Ediscape from Western Visayas provides locally sourced, planet-friendly personalized meal plans delivered directly to consumers' doorsteps. Meanwhile, Sustainsia, developed by Team PlanEATarians from Luzon, offers an engaging and enjoyable gamified experience that supports individuals in their journey towards adopting the PHD.

The event was co-organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, the National Academy of Science and Technology and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development.

Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, Executive Director of DOST-PCAARRD, urged the FLExPHD finalists to make their apps accessible to the public, thereby reaching a wider audience.

Ebora stressed the importance of collaborative efforts in realizing the vision of a food system that prioritizes the well-being of people and the planet, adapts to environmental changes, and embraces the diversity of food culture.