Edgardo ‘Gary’ Vazquez, a 65-year-old inventor and entrepreneur, tinkers with big, innovative ideas to resolve perennial problems in the country, such as how to protect Filipinos from tropical heat, how to resolve the country’s huge housing backlog or how to ease the heavy traffic congestion along Edsa.
He is always in search of solutions to such problems—a habit formed through the years of being an inventor in a country where some people tend to shoot down big ideas. “We shoot down good products invented or developed by Filipinos,” he says.
He recalls that when he introduced a cooling solution in the Philippines, he met cynics who claimed that the innovation would only cause ‘pneumonia’.
“Instead of asking positive things about the invention, the first comment was that people would only become sick because of that. Why were they looking at it negatively? Why don’t we first develop the product, make it better and see what the effects are. But [some] were already working on the principle of negative thinking. Instead of encouraging the inventor, they are putting him down. When can we ever learn to appreciate and help one another, the Filipino way, the ‘bayanihan’ way?” Vazquez says in an interview at his home.
Vazquez’s home in Makati City reflects how much he loves innovation. His big house was erected using his patented Vazbuilt modular housing and fencing technology. Solar panels are installed on his rooftop, supplying half of his power requirements. His patio is cooler by about 5-degrees, compared to outdoor atmosphere in Metro Manila, because it uses a patented cooling solution called Misty Kool.
Vazquez can also watch his house from anywhere in the world and control the camera, appliances and gadgets in his kitchen using a smartphone and an automated home technology. Soon, Vazquez and a big Chinese company will introduce smart home in the country.
Vazquez now regularly flies between the Philippines and China, where he sees his big ideas come to life. He developed the prototype of an outdoor cooling solution with a timer in Guangzhou where young technical experts helped him find the necessary components such as high-pressure pumps, fine nozzles, switches, monitors, timer, automatic shut-off mechanism, hose and water tank.
Now, Misty Kool is the only outdoor cooling solution with a timer, which is crucial in order to conserve water, reduce wetness on the surface and ensure the smooth operation of the misting system.
Vazquez obtained a patent in the Philippines for Misty Kool which can lower outdoor temperature by 3 to 5-degree Celsius. He offers the technology in two forms—a line machine and electric fan-type unit that can produce Baguio-like breeze instantly. “It is the first of its kind in the Philippines,” he says.
A company in the Philippines, however, is contesting his use of the Misty Kool brand name. In response, Vazquez says the name was derived from the misting process, or flash point cooling system which forces water, by means of a high-pressure pump, through misting nozzles, to create a mist of ultra fine water droplets with an average size of less than 10 microns. These water droplets absorb the heat in the environment and evaporate, becoming water vapor in the process.
The misting system can cool off different open areas, porches, backyards, gardens and patios.
The Philippine Arena complex in Bulacan uses the line system of Misty Kool to reduce temperature along its open walkway. The technology will also be used in the country’s largest greenhouse which is being constructed in the same area.
Vazquez says other products in the market do not employ the high-pressure mist system, but only provide evaporative cooling, which happens when water is distributed by a submersible pump to a porous material. By gravity, water and air flows through the material, thus cooling the air that passes through.
Another type of cooling system is the centrifugal cooler, which pumps water from the source to a fast rotating impeller blades with a porous material in between to induce flow or raise pressure of liquid. Water droplets are created by directing a flow of water onto a spinning disc.
Vazquez says unlike these products, Misty Kool produces mist, which evaporates into the air, and this is sometimes called “flash evaporation” because it happens “quickly as a flash” and gives a stronger cooling effect. He says the air is cooled evenly and feels more like a fog.
He says Misty Kool conserves energy while offering an air-cooling effect and repels flying insects, dust, smoke and pollen. Vazquez says Misty Kool is also different from other misting products because its mist machine has an oil monitor and programmable timer.
Vazquez is also developing other cooling solutions such as an indoor sonic cooler, which uses vibration to create vapor, with a programmable timer and a turbo cooling and dust removal technology for industrial use. He is designing the new technologies in China where there are adequate components and technical skills that will help him put his ideas to work.
On why he chooses to develop the prototype in China, Vazquez says: “In other countries, they encourage you, they are supportive, they come in as a group and they end up as a big mass of support in developing one product,” he says.
“Here, I am not appreciated. Whenever I present some things, what I hear from fellow Filipinos is negative. In China, when I sit down with people in science and technology, we talk about how it is going to work, how it will look good, how it can be mass produced, then we create the prototype at once,” says Vazquez.
“I am not a Chinese, but when it comes to science, they are very receptive. When I go there, they are there waiting for me at the airport. I am given a driver, an interpreter and I always talk to people in the universities who are mostly young people. Here, I receive nothing, but insults and lawsuits,” he says.
Vazquez says this is the problem affecting science and technology in the Philippines. “We are a country with less in life, but more in imagination. That’s what you need in invention—imagination. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. People who have less in life have more imagination. So we are very rich with imagination. We are very rich with what we can do for the better, but we are very poor in helping one another,” says Vazquez.
“This is the situation of science and technology in our country. What we have to develop here are more incubation places. When you fund science, that is a risk initially, because you don’t know if it is going to fly or not. But if it does not fly, you do not sue the inventor. You encourage him more, because the principle is already there. If you infuse more, he will reinvent it to make it work,” says Vazquez.
Vazquez mentions the case of the late inventor Daniel Dingel whom he knew personally. Dingel developed a “hydrogen reactor” that was able to power a water-fueled car, but the invention was dismissed as a hoax by many people in the Philippine science community.
“I know Daniel Dingel, the guy who developed hydrogen-powered cars using water. He was not appreciated here, so he sold his technology to Japanese and German car manufacturers. And they are now applying that technology. I don’t know why we are like this,” says Vazquez.
Vazquez says despite the challenges of being an inventor in the Philippines, he will continue to work on his ideas and train and encourage more Filipinos to develop new products that will help the nation.
Vazquez’s favorite quote is: “If you are buying an invention, you are buying more than an object. You’re buying hundreds of hours of error and experimentation. You’re buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You’re not buying just the invention, you’re buying a piece of the heart.”
“I hope that we Filipinos will rediscover ‘bayanihan’ in our hearts. If this happens, we as a nation will be very strong,” says Vazquez.