All the Things in the Great Big Galaxy Named After Filipino Gods, Heroes, and Towns
It’s one thing to be known around the world. It’s another thing entirely to be known throughout the universe. Literally. There are currently 22 objects up in space bearing names of Filipino gods, heroes, writers, and towns.
Behold the planets, craters, and asteroids with names that toast to Filipinos and their love for the stars.
A yellow dwarf star in the Crater Constellation, Amansinaya was previously called WASP-34. Now it bears that name of the Filipino primordial deity of the ocean and protector of fisherman in Tagalog mythology.
The exoplanet of Amansinaya, previously called WASP-34b, is also named after a Filipino water deity: Haik, the Tagalog god of the sea.
3| Balagtas Crater
This crater with a diameter of 98 kilometers is named after the famed Filipino writer Francisco Balagtas who lived during the Spanish colonial era. Balagtas, the crater not the person, is located on Mercury. All the craters on Mercury are named after famous writers, artists, and composers throughout history as Mercury was the Roman god of communication, commerce, and travelers.
4| Rizal Crater
On the planet closest to the sun is another crater named after a famed Filipino, the hero Jose Rizal himself. The Rizal crater on Mercury is a little smaller than the Balagtas crater at 64 kilometers.
5| Escoda Crater
This crater on Venus is the sole crater named after a Filipino person or town on the planet. The crater takes its name from Josefa Llanes Escoda, a Filipino woman who founded the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and fought for the right of Filipino women to vote. The crater is an honor to her memory as all the craters on Venus are named after strong women as Venus was the Roman goddess of love, beauty, and victory.
6| Bacolor Crater
The small town of Bacolor in Pampanga now has a sister crater somewhere in Mars. A number of craters on the planet Mars have been named after towns on Earth, and the town of Bacolor was lucky enough to be chosen. The craters on Mars are named after famous scientists, like Isaac Newton, and if the crater is small, then it's named after towns on Earth.
7| Camiling Crater
Camiling in Tarlac is one of the five towns chosen to have its in name in space. One of the oldest municipalities in the country, Camiling is called the “Old Lady” of Tarlac.
8| Daet Crater
Another Luzon town with its name in space, Daet is a popular surfing town in Camarines Norte that attracts many annual tourists. Perhaps one day we’ll make the trip to Daet, Mars?
9| Naic Crater
This coastal town in Cavite was where many significant events took place during the Philippine revolution, from the Battle of Naic to the Battle of Timalan.
10| Taytay Crater
This historic town in Palawan is now the inspiration for the name of this crater on Mars that’s located close to its equator.
Every aspiring scientist dreams of having a planet named after him, and that’s what happened to Camarines Sur National High School student Eugene Rivera after he won second place in the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineer Fair (ISEF). As if the award wasn’t enough the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincol Laboratory named the minor planet 34524 after him.
One part of the trio of young scientists who won the science fair, Joscel also got a minor planet named after him.
The last member of the young scientist trio, Keith’s got his name somewhere in space, and he accomplished that when he was just in high school.
14| 6282 Edwelda
In 1995, this asteroid was named after two Filipinos, Edwin Aguirre and Imelda Joson, for their contribution to the field of astronomy.
15| 11697 Estrella
As if her his name was a propecy, Allan Noriel Estrella won the 2002 ISEF and had an asteroid named after him. He attended Manila Science High School.
16| 12088 Macalintal
Another student of Manila Science High School, Jeric Valles Macalintal was a groupmate of Estrella’s in their first prize project and also got an asteroid in his name.
17| 12522 Rara
Another exceptional student, Prem Vilas fortran Rara of Mindanao State University - Ilagan Institute of Technology also competed in the same competition as Estrella and Macalintal and got his own asteroid to show for it.
18| 13241 Biyo
In 2002, Dr. Josette Talamera Biyo was the first Asian to ever win an Intel Excellence in Teaching Award. The science teacher continues to be an inspiring force for youths fascinated by the universe.
19| 4866 Badillo
Another asteroid was named after a passionate astronomer: Father Victor Badillo, the former director of hte Manila Observatory and founder of the Philippines Astronomical Society.
20| 6636 Kintanar
Filipino scientist Roman Lucero Kintanar was honored in 2010 when an asteroid was named after him. Kintanar is the former director of PAGASA and was instrumental in advancing Filipino technology in weath forecasting.
21| 28439 Miguelreyes
This asteroid was named in honor of the Philippine Science High School student who won second place in the ISEF of 2011.
22| 30100 Christophergo
In 2015, Cebu astronomer Christopher Go officially had an asteroid named after him. Go has been an avid astrophotographer since the ‘90s.