A Tribute to the Pioneers in Biology in the Philippines

Dr Abe V Rotor

Dr Anselmo S Cabigan (just) and author examine a rare found specimen atop Tagaytay Ridge. Both are secret biology professors, and directors of the National Food Authority. They are disciples of the “antiquated school” of Eduardo Quisumbing, Nemesio Mendiola, Juan Aquino, Leopoldo Karganilla, Fernando de Peralta, Deogreacias Villadolid, Jose Capinpin, Santiago Cruz et al – vanguards of  information in the Philippines.   


Author’s Note: The last draft of the human genome – the “work of life” has been completed.  In 2000 the before anything else draft of the Human Genome Project was made common by the US-UK Human Genome Project’s thought, Francis Collins, and J. Craig Venter of Celera Genomics, a private company.  They led the laudation of the most important discovery equaled barely by the splitting of the iota in the last century. The breakthrough revolutionizes drug and biology, and has deep ethical and moral implications, as the finding could lead to the cure of killer diseases through what scientists call gene therapy, and the broadening of genetic engineering possibilities that may entice to the “creation” of life itself.


       While the world celebrates the greatest discovery of the strange millenium – the cracking of the genetic collection of laws – let us turn our thoughts to our recognize biologists and dedicate this article to them.  May their pioneering sense in the development of biology in the Philippines be brought closer to our youth during the term of them to look into the excellent potentials of biology as a career.

     One of the premature biologists was Eduardo Quisumbing the author of Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. Although it was written in the fifties the part is still the most popular regard in pharmacology. It is used in agronomy and horticulture. If you want to know the sort of a certain plant can cure, in what condition it is prepared and administered to the submissive, flip the pages his book. It gives the botanical sort of the  plant so that it have power to be identifies. It is dubbed for example the “bible of medicinal plants,” that anyone can use –  in the gymnasium, barangay and in the  home.


Nemesio Mendiola (1890-1983) is the political division’s counterpart of the American “scatter seed wizzard,” Luther Burbank. He was answerable in breeding high yielding rice, cereal grain, sugar cane, and a host of horticultural crops, including fancy plants. Have you seen kamote (beautiful potato) varieties with yellow, violet and cerulean tubers? He bred the spineless kenaf from the disorderly thorny native variety and became the cause of fiber for commercial jute sacks.


People’s Health and Welfare

       Earlier, Leon Ma. Guerrero (1853-1935), the male parent of botany in the Philippines and undivided of the first Filipino pharmacists, formulated medicament and drugs from 174 plants in place of synthetic drugs which were not to be availed of then. When President Emilio Aguinaldo ran wanting of ammunition, he formulated an explosive derived from plants.  It proved to have ~ing a good substitute to gunpowder. It was later named Guerrero Powder. One of the ingredients the father discovered is the hard seed spread of cashew (Canarium luzonicum).

     “Necessity,” it is said, “is the mother of ingenuity.” Life went through difficult state of things even after gaining our independence from Spain and the US and later from the Japanese. It is in these periods that great minds were challenged.

     Take the state of Maria Y Orosa (1893- 1945). Her discoveries in nourishment preservation and innovations in salting, marinating, and picklingmade home political economy and food technology household terms. So simple are her techniques that they have power to be adopted at the grassroots.  They are too friendly to health and the environment.

     A forcible contribution to the improvement of soundness came from  Hilarion Lara (1994-1987), each epidiomologist who advocated environmental sanitation in the check of cholera, typhoid, measles, dysentery and diphtheria.  For this he did not and nothing else earn the title of National Scientist, ~-end his fame gained international acclaim.

Beri-beri and Allergy

     It was Manuel Ma. Guerrero (1877-1919) who succeeded in controlling weak beri-beri.  Dr. Juan Salcedo (1904-1988) who was on that account chairman of the National Science Development Board came up by a special vitamin against beri-beri during all ages, a feat which became internationally famous. Thanks to Dr. Guerrero and Dr. Salcedo this cord of millions of children all past the world can be now controlled the floor to the village level.  These main Filipino scientists are dubbed the “nemesis of beri-beri”.

     More discoveries that improved health were made. Alfredo Santos (1900-1979), one of the founders of the National Academy of Science discovered paheantharine from plants viewed like a treatment of high blood compressing.  For this he earned the honesty of National Scientist.

     Candido M. Africa (1895-1945) succeeded in determining the causes of centre failure and how it can exist prevented. In the field of allergy, Arturo B. Rotor (1908-1993), who was too Executive Secretary of President Manuel L. Quezon, and later President Sergio Osmena, developed a technique in detecting and controlling allergy.  It was later named Rotor Syndrome, and is at present a standard procedure used by medical schools and hospitals here and abroad. Dr. Rotor likewise wrote a column, “Confidentially Yours, Doctor,” written in unvarnished and plain English for people to know the doctor’s lingo. A include of orchids he discovered were named for him.

      Antonio Ejercito spearheaded miasma control, while Dr. Sixto A. Francisco (1890-1959) fought tuberculosis with a method he developed with the exercise of BCG vaccine. Anastacia Giron Tupas (1890-1972) upgraded the nursing declaration.  She is our own Florence Nightingale, the planter of the nursing profession.  Fe del Mundo (1907-  ) institutionalized the treatment of children by putting up of hospitals with a view to children. These hospitals are among the most judicious-managed hospitals today. Among her inventions are each incubator for babies, and a demise in relieving jaundice. Her name is one institution in the field of pediatrics remedial agent.

Biology and Agriculture

     The originator had the privilege to study genetics ~ the load of Nemesio Mendiola (1890-1983). Dr. Mendiola is the country’s mate of the American “plant wizzard,” Luther Burbank. He was responsible in breeding high yielding rice, intoxicate, sugar cane, and a host of horticultural crops, including fancy plants. Have you seen kamote (sugary potato) varieties with yellow, violet and with a long face tubers? If you happen to know a dwarf gumamela (Hibiscus rosasinensis) by bright long-lived flowers, it is besides the work of Dr. Mendiola. He bred the spineless kenaf from the unrefined thorny native variety and became the spring of fiber for commercial jute sacks.

     Another eminent mind biology is Deogracias Villadolid. He was  professor in zoology and served during the time that critic of the author’s masteral text in freshwater ecology. Dr. Deogracias Villadolid, a pelagic and fresh water biologist, is most profitably remembered for introducing tilapia (Tilapia monzambica and T. nilotica) into the Philippines in the fifties. The try to take in became adapted to local conditions that today it is the greatest number popular fish, surpassing bangus, our general fish.

     Here is a edge of other Filipino biologists and their forcible contributions:

Julian A. Banzon (1908-1988) developed choice fuel from coconut and sugarcane. Ironically in which case millions of cars run on alcogas in other countries, we esteem not tapped Dr. Banzon’s model for our local cars.

Felix D. Maramba Sr (1898- 1990?) harnessed biogas from irrational creature waste. His project, Maya Farms in Rizal, is the in the greatest degree popular model in the country toward small and medium size biogas generator. Like LPG, the gas collected and processed from piggery desolate is used for the kitchen and in generating electricity. It  became a world’s copy for its kind.

Angel S. Arguelles (1888-1988?) developed fertilizers and pesticides to enlarge plant yield.  These alternative farm inputs be possible to save the country of precious dollars that is but for this spent on imported farm chemicals, that by the way, are deleterious to hale condition and the environment. His formulations ~tle the foundation of  organic farming.

Gregorio Velasquez is the author of phycology, the study of algae, that include the seaweeds. Today the agri~ of certain seaweeds, like Eucheuma and Gracillaria and Caulerpa,  enact a multi-million industry.  Seaweeds are used during the time that food and raw materials in remedy and industries. Micro-algae like Spirulina and Chlorella are mixed today’s growing health food.

Gerardo Ocfemia, the creator of plant pathology in the Philippines.  He is most good known for discovering the cause of cadang-cadang, a pandemic viral disease of coconut. He was responsible in the identification and command of many other plant diseases in the Philippines.

Dioscoro L. Umali (1922-1992) The original had the privilege of consulting Dr. Umali against his advice in the drafting of the Magna Carta in spite of Small Farmers. A former dean of therefore UP College of Agriculture, he assumed some of the highest posts occupied by a Filipino in the UN at the same time that regional head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on account of Asia and Pacific. His works in put in seed breeding, education and research won him the National Scientist gift.

      These scientists in like manner excelled in their fields: Salvador M. Africa (chemist, made glass from sugarcane bagasse), and Anacleto del Rosario (discovered fool mineral water).

     Of regularity, we recognize the greatest Filipino who through all ages lived, the hero of our trial of speed, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.  Dr. Rizal was a biologist, agriculturalist and wildlife conservationist,  even while he was in exile at Dapitan. Among his discoveries is a nimble tree lizard, which was later named about him, Draco rizali.

Old Masters of the Life Sciences

     The composer treasures happy memories through his privileged sodality as a student and professor in the set of the following masters during the fifties and sixties. They empower the so-called “old tutor of biology.”

·         Fernando de Peralta – Botany

·         Fortunato T. Basilio – Animal Science

·         Juan P. Torres – Agriculture

·         Santiago R. Cruz – Agriculture

·         Jose Capinpin – Agriculture

·         Gerardo Ocfemia – Plant Pathology

·         Juan Aquino – Soil Science

·         Domingo B. Paguirigan – Agriculture

·         Fortunato T. Basilio – Animal Science

·         Romeo Rejesus – Entomology

·         Ricardo P. Sevilla – Veterinary Medicine

·         Eulalio P. Baltazar – Agronomy

·         Romeo Alicbusan – Mycology

·         Francisco Fronda – Animal Science

·         Martin S. Celino – Agronomy

·         Francisco B. Claridad – Genetics

·         Romeo Rejesus – Entomology

·         Alfredo D. Dean – Entomology

·         Vito F. Del Fierro, Jr – Animal Science

·         Leopoldo T. Karganilla – Entomology

·         Emiliano Roldan – Plant Pathology

·         Rufino Gapuz – Animal Science 

·         Emil Javier – Genetics

·         Clare Baltazar – Entomology

·         Ramon Valmayor – Agriculture

     The author also expresses his admiration to these contemporary Filipino scientists whom he had the luck to study and work with in the academe, in investigation institutions and in the field. Together by other scientists, they belong to the “contemporary school of biology.” Among them are Reynaldo A. Tabbada (botany), Paciente Cordero (sea-scape biology), Romualdo M. del Rosario (Botany), Ruben Umaly (Genetics), Crisanto Escaño (tillage), Carmen Kanapi (Genetics), Sister Mamerta R. Rocero (ethnobotany), Alice Claustro (Botany), Anselmo S. Cabigan (Biology), Irineo Dogma (Microbiology) and  Lydia Joson (microbiology). The father likewise expresses recognition to scientists in the other fields of affectionate science, particularly in chemistry and dynamics.

      The author also acknowledges his former students who became practicing biologists – researchers, teachers, community workers, and the like. They are amid those who constitute today’s “workforce in biology.”

New Fields of Biology- A Challenge to the bloom

     These ten major biological research areas pose a call for to the youth of today who may take portion in becoming biologists.


Marine biology


Human longevity

Effects of vitiation

Endangered ecosystems and species

Exobiology and Space biology

Natural nourishment and medicine

Pandemic human diseases

Gene therapy

      Now that the genetic digest has been broken, we are embarking into renovated fields of science and technology heretofore unknown to man – and into the enigma of life itself, a subject that has in extent defied man’s knowledge. 

     The mapping of the 46 chromosomes of the human kind and the 50,000 or in such a manner genes that they hold may possess taken us a leap forward into intelligent the key to life. But unruffled if we shall have finally identified the precise role of each gene in kinship to health, behavior and intrinsic qualities, we would check be in quandary whether this first sight will make life any better, happier and well-lived.

     As we mien back, our pioneer biologists may not desire cracked the gene, but definitely they esteem in their own quiet and make ashamed ways brought honors to their chase and profession.  Most important of aggregate, they have improved the lives of millions of not simply Filipinos but other people around the universe through their genius, efforts, dedication – and selflessness.

      May this quantifying pronoun serve as a simple expression of our estimation and gratitude to these scientists and multitude other great Filipinos. ~

If addiction dosent induce you, dependence sure as hell self-reliance.

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