Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ruins, Ruins, Ruins

Dr Abe V Rotor
Ruins through time (Castle ruins in Cairo, Egypt) Painting by AVR

Ruins through abandonment, Vigan Ilocos Sur
Ruin of a lost culture (Greco-Roman architecture), San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

Ruins of fire (Old Comelec building) Intramuros, Manila

Ruin of colonization. Sinking Tower of Laoag, Ilocos Norte

Ruin of industrialization giving way to modernization. Paco, Manila

Ruin of a watchtower, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Ruin of a convent, San Vicente Ilocos Sur

Ruin of a past industry - Indigo Vat for making indigo blue dye. San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

You treasure the past, history on your lap,
Noble and shame, proud and tame;
Tell to the tourists, it doesn't matter now;
Will the wind of change be the same?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Part 2: Practical Pest Control at Home

Frogs, such as this Green Pond Frog, are the most
common natural predators of pests in the field.

Abe V Rotor

Here are pest control techniques you can adopt at home.

1. To control furniture weevil and moths which destroy the felt and piano wood, place a teabag of well-dried and uncrushed black pepper in the piano chamber near the pedals. Paminta is a good repellant and has a pleasant smell.

2. Coconut trees whose shoots are destroyed by rhinoceros beetle (Oryctis rhinoceros) can be saved with ordinary sand. If the trees are low, sprinkle sand onto the leaf axils (angle between the leaf and axis from which it arises). Sand contains silica that penetrates the beetle’s conjunctiva, the soft part of the body where hard chitinous plates (hard outer membrane) are joined.

3. To control bean weevil (Callosobruchus maculatus), an insect that destroys stored beans, especially mungo, mix a little ash of rice hull (ipa’) and spread it in a way that sand kills the rhinoceros beetle.

4. To get rid of nematodes (microscopic elongated, cylindrical worms) in the soil, incorporate chopped or ground exoskeleton (skin) of shrimps into the soil, preferably mixing it with compost. Chitinase is formed which dissolves the cover of the egg and the body of the nematode. Use poultry dropping to reduce nematode population in farms and gardens.

5. To control the cucurbit (plants of the gourd family) fruit fly (Dacus cucurbitae), wrap the newly formed fruits of ampalaya and cucumber with paper bag. Bagging is also practiced on mango fruits. For ampalaya use newspaper (1/8 of the broadsheet) or used paper, bond size. Roll the paper into two inches in diameter and insert the young fruit, folding the top then stapling. Bagged fruits are clean, smooth and light green. Export quality mangoes were individually bagged on the tree.

6. To keep termites away from mud-plastered walls, incorporate termite soil (anthill or punso). To discourage goats from nibbling the trunk of trees, paint the base and trunk with manure slurry, preferably their own.

7. Raise ducks to eat snail pest (golden kuhol) on the farm. Chicken and birds are natural insect predators.

8. An extra large size mosquito net can be made into a mini greenhouse. Underneath, you can raise vegetables without spraying. You can conduct your own experiments such as studying the life cycle of butterflies.

9. Plants with repellant properties can be planted around the garden. Examples of these are lantana (Lantana camara), chrysanthemum, neem tree, eucalyptus, madre de cacao (Gliricida sepium), garlic, onions, and kinchai (Allium tuberosum).

10. To scare birds that compete for feeds in poultry houses, recycle old balls, plastic containers, styro and the like, by painting them with two large scary eyes (like those of owls). This is the reason why butterfly wings have “eyes” on them to scare away would-be predators. Hang these modern scarecrows in areas frequented by birds. To scare off birds in the field, dress up used mannequins. In some cases, the mannequin may be more effective than the T-scarecrow. Discarded cassette tape ribbon tied along the field borders scares maya and possibly other pests.


Part 1: Are there pesticide-free vegetables?

Abe V Rotor

This item was originally written as a response to queries about how certain we are that our vegetables are, indeed, safe from pesticides.

In general, leafy vegetables (e.g. pechay) and fruit (tomato) vegetables receive more chemical spraying than do root (potato) and seed (mungo) vegetables, but this is not always true as we will see later.

As far as our problem on pesticide is concerned, I would rather classify vegetables into two: those that do not need spraying at all, and those which can not be raised economically without the protection of chemicals.

For the first category, here is a list of 30 common vegetables in their common and scientific names. Farmers simply find them resistant to insects, mites, nematodes, snails, fungi, including weeds, rodents and birds. These vegetables may also be found in the wild, or in the open spaces.

1. Malunggay (Morinda oleracea)
2. Saluyot (Corchorus olitorius)
3. Wild ampalaya (Mamordica charantia)
4. Katuray (Sesbania grandiflora)
5. Batao (Dolichos lablab)
6. Patani (Phaseolus lunatus)
7. Sinkamas (Pachyrisus erosus)
8. Summer squash (Cucurbita maxima)
9. Native eggplant (round) - (Solanum melongena)
10. Native tomato (susong kalabaw) - (Lycopersicum esculentum)
11. Native sitao (short) – (Vigna sesquipedalis)
12.Seguidillas (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)
13.Alugbati (Basella rubra)
14.Talinum (Talinum triangulare)
15.Native spinach (Amaranthus sp.)
16.Gulasiman (Portulaca oleracea)
17.Sweet potato (tops and root) (Ipomea batatas)
18. Kangkong (Ipomea reptans)
19. Pepper or Sili (labuyo) (Capsicum frutescens)
20. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
21. Rimas or breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)
22. Sayote (Sechium edule)
23. Taro or gabi (Colocasia esculenta)
24. Kamoteng kahoy or cassava (Manihot esculenta)
25. Ubi (Dioscorea alta)
26. Tugui’ (Dioscora esculenta)
27. Kadios (Cajanus cajan)
28. Banana (Saba) (Musa paradisiaca)
29. Sampaloc (Tamarindus indica)
30. Kamias (Averrhoa bilimbi)

Most of these vegetables are native to our soil and climate. Consequently, they have natural resistance to pests and diseases that would not spare other introduced varieties, especially those of foreign origin.

Tinkering with the genes of indigenous species erodes natural resistance. Our native rice varieties for example, although they are not top producers, are resistant to pest, drought, flood, can compete with weeds, and do not need much care. Genetically “improved” rice varieties became pampered with fertilizers, water, planting distance, thorough soil cultivation, and most specially, spraying with insecticides and fungicides. They are likened to our present breeds of animals. Our poultry today can no longer thrive in the open, whereas our native fowls are “self-supporting”.

This is true with many vegetables. That is why commercial vegetables throughout their life cycle are provided with a “chemical blanket” to protect them from the onslaught of pests and diseases, many of them became destructive as a result of induced mutation. Indiscriminate chemical spraying has been found to build biological specialization so that certain insects and pathogens, which survive, carry on their acquired resistance to the next generation.

To the farmer this means more frequent sprayings at higher dosages, with elevated toxicities. This is what is happening today with many vegetables bought in the markets. The sector least heard of regarding this dilemma is the pesticide industry because it greatly benefits from it.

Pesticides are believed to be the most common source of poison that causes liver and kidney ailments. They affect our nervous system and impair our senses. They have long been tagged as a major cause of cancer, diabetes, allergy and other physiologic disorders. Because most of the pesticides today are synthetic chemicals, our body cannot readily degrade and excrete them. Instead, they tend to accumulate until a threshold level is reached that leads to many health problems.

Let us look at the second category of vegetables: those which are grown successfully only with the aid of pesticides. Without pesticides, they cannot survive the attack of pests and diseases.

The most sprayed vegetables are the crucifers – cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, mustard, celery, carrot, pechay, wonbok, and the like. The pesticides used on them are the most potent brands, leaving no chance to caterpillars ensconced in deep holes, mites in the roots, and aphids in leaf axils. The poison must be absorbed and distributed throughout the plant so that any insect that feeds on the sap is sure to get the poison and die. This is why such poisons are called systemic, which means that they are translocated in all parts of the plant from roots to tips of stems and leaves, to flowers and fruits. The sap carries them in the same way substances are carried and distributed by blood to all parts of our body.

Poisons of this kind are also used on cucurbits (melons, watermelons, cucumbers, upo, squash, patola and ampalaya). The principal enemy is the fruit fly (Dacus cucurbitae), which lays eggs on the young fruits. Mango growers also use systemic poison to protect the fruits from another species of fruit fly, Dacus dorsalis. Mango importing countries like Australia, Japan and the United States impose strict regulations against fruit flies, which also attack other fruits and vegetables, like oranges and bananas, endangering their local fruit industries.

There are vegetables that may have been sprayed long before they are harvested such as peanut (Arachis hypogea) and mungo (Phaseolus radiatus). Rice and corn are relatively safe from the pesticides sprayed on them during their growing period. It takes at least 20 days for the grains to set and mature, ready for harvesting. By this time, the sprayed chemical has leveled off safely. It is the protective spraying before and during the storage of the grains that must be strictly regulated as this can leave harmful residues.


Today's Environmental Revolution - 3 philosophies

Dr Abe V Rotor

Three philosophers have three formulas of an environmental revolution.

Rudolf Bahro,
author of The Alternative, claims East Europe’s non-capitalist road to industrialization has been shaped by the same growth ideals and methods as has Western capitalism, and that the working classes of both West and East have the exploitation of nature and the Third World as common. Defending their own societies’ privileged positions on the world market, both camps add to global inequity. For which Bahro calls for a new social movement – the environmental movement, a grand coalition of people’s forces, a rebuilding of society from the bottom upwards.

Ivan Illich on the other hand, criticizes modern society and its failure to cater to human needs. He believes that the privileged today are not those who consume most but those who can escape the negative by-products of industrialization – people who can commute outside the rush hours, be born and die at home, cure themselves when ill, breathe fresh air, and build their own dwellings. People must arm themselves with the self-confidence and the means to run their own lives as far as possible, especially as big institutions like schooling, medical care and transport today are creating more problems than they solve. Politics is no longer a simple Left-Right choice; man must have a choice of energy, technology, education, etc., he calls vernacular values.

According to Andre Gorz the ecology struggle not as an end in itself but as essential part of the large struggle against capitalism and techno fascism. He champions a civil society shifting power from the State and political parties to local community and the web of social relations that individuals establish amongst themselves. The State’s role is to encourage self-management among the citizens. He envisions a Utopian future where “the citizens can do more for less,” and the development of a rich, all-round personality.

Definitely, while we need a revolution to save our environment, any means that is contrary to peace and unity, is definitely unacceptable. And we would not adhere to the rule of force or violence just to be able to succeed.

It is said, that revolution starts in a small corner. It could start in each of us.

x x x

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Eight Fields of Intelligence - Self Evaluation (same post, transferred)

Dr. Abe V. Rotor

Assignment in Communicatuion and Socio-Cultural Change
(CA217, Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas. Ist Semester 2011-2012

What is the relevance of this exercise with the subject - Communication and Socio-Cultural Change?

Here is an exercise on Multiple Intelligence. Make three columns on a regular bond paper. On the left, list down the eight realms (copy from this article). On the middle column write your score for each of the 8 items.

Use the Likert Scale: 1 is very poor (VP); 2 is poor (P), 3 is fair (F), 4 is good (G), and 5 is very good (VG). On the right column write the rationale (explanation) of each of your score. This exercise may take 30 minutes to one hour. It requires concentration and objectivity. Author and guests at the former SPUQC Museum

The 8 Realms of Intelligence

1. Interpersonal (human relations) - Sometimes this is referred to as social intelligence. Leaders, advertising experts, politicians, teachers excel in this field. “They exude natural warmth, they wear disarming smile,” to quote an expert on human relations. Name your favorite characters. My models are Nelson Mandela, Condolezza Rice, Hilary Clinton, Henry Kissinger and our own, the late Carlos P. Romulo.

2. Intrapersonal (inner vision self-reflection and meditation) – Masters in this realm are priests, nuns, poets, yogi practitioners. St. Francis of Assisi is a genius in this domain. Pope John Paul II, Maximilian Kolby, Mother Teresa of Calcutta are unparalleled. Didn’t Beethoven compose music with his inner ear and Helen Keller “see” from an inner vision? Van Gogh founded the school of expressionism - self expression in art.

3. Kinesthetics (athletics, sports, body language, dance, gymnastics)- Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg excel in their respective sports. Now think of your idol in the sports world, or in the art of dance. Lisa Macuja Elizalde is still the country’s top ballet dancer. Paeng Nepomoceno, top tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Efren Bata Reyes and Manny Pacquiao top the local list.

4. Languages or linguistics - There are people who are regarded walking encyclopedia and dictionary. The gift of tongue in the true sense is in being multilingual like our very own Dr. Jose Rizal. Authors like Ernest Hewmingway, John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak, Miguel Cervantes, to name a few, represent this realm. How fast can you learn the dialect or language of a place?

5. Logic (dialectics, Mathematics) - Marxism is based on dialectics which is a tool in studying and learning philosophy. Likewise, this realm includes the intelligence of numbers – mathematics, geometry, accounting, actuarial science, etc. This is the key to many IQ tests. Einstein, Mendel, Newton, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, are popular figures who represent this realm. I saw "A Beautiful Mind," the story of Noble Prize winner John Nash who excelled in a new field of economics.

6. Music (auditory art) – Frederick Chopin, Nicanor Abelardo, Lucio San Pedro, Ryan Cayabyab, Lea Salonga, Charisse Pempengco – name your favorite. Josh Groban, Charlotte Church, Pavarotti, Boccelli, Steevi Wonder, Nat King Cole, Elvis Preistley, Michael Jackson, are great singers. Amadeus Mozart produced therapeutic musical compositions. Beethoven is perhaps the most celebrated composer of classical music. Surprisingly he could hardly keep pace with his steps when dancing. I like to listen to Pangkat Kawayan play Philippine music. Mabuhay Singers, Madrigal singers, the Las Piñas Boys, and the UST Choral Ensemble, have won international fame.

7. Spatial intelligence (drawing, and painting, sculpture, architecture, photography) - This is a story about Pablo Picasso. He was robbed in his studio. Hog-tied, he carefully studied the robber, the way an artist studies his model. After the incident he sketched the face of the robber and gave it to the police. The police made a hundred arrests without succeeding in pinpointing the culprit. Yet Picasso became one of the world's greatest contemporary artists. The sculptor Rodin wanted his subject to look as if it were melting, like clay softened by rain. What could be a better expression of poverty for his masterpiece, The Burghers of Calais? Juan Luna likened the Filipinos under Spain as Gladiators of Rome in his masterpiece, Spolarium. Fernando Amorsolo's paintings of rural scenes remain unequaled to this day.

8. Naturalism (Green Thumb, Relationship with the Natural World) - There are people who have “green thumb”. Their gardens are beautiful even with little care. There are those who can predict weather, fishermen who know when a fish bites, farmers who pick the reddest watermelon, fullest macapuno nuts, just by feel and sound. Good doctors, I am sure are not only good because of high scholastic records, but have the green thumb as well. Charles Darwin and Carolus Linnaeus are the world's top naturalists after Aristotle.

What are your top three realms? Can you draw out their interrelationships? Relate them with your personal strength. On the other hand, in what ways can you improve on the other realms? Now relate your score with your present studies or work, and with your relationship with your family and community.

Yes, everyone has a distinct intelligence - and spark of genius, too.~

People's Green Revolution: Agribusiness and Biotechnology on the Village Level

Dr Abe V Rotor
Welcome to Living with Nature - School on Blog

Assignment: Communication and Change (Socio-cultural, economic and environment) Faculty of UST Arts and Letters. After reading this article, what biotechnology product is found nearest your place, or in your hometown? How does this particular commodity relate to the thrust of our subject? Please summarize. (Handwritten on regular bond, one page only).

This is also a lesson on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's-School-on-Air) using the same article as guide. (DZRB 738 KHz AM Band, 8 to 9 o'clock in the evening, Monday to Friday

Mineral water is prepared by treating ordinary drinking water with malunggay seeds. Three or four crushed mature seeds are soaked for three hours to kill any germs and to allow particles to settle at the bottom. Transfer treated water into smaller bottles leaving behind the sediments. Place in ref to chill.

Home biotechnology products: padas (fish) bagoong,and peanut brittle. Manaoag, Pangasinan.

Home industry: rice cakes - patupat amd tupig (photos). Also suman, pinipig, tinubong, bucayo, bibingka. Natural yeast and other beneficial microorganisms extend shelf-life and improves taste. Vigan, Ilocos Sur

Basi table wine of the Ilocos Region sold in tourists shops. Basi is made from sugarcane, brewed and aged in earthen jars (burnay). San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

Cultured mushrooms: Shitake and Pleurotus. Tagaytay


Nature works silently through her invisible biological agents. We wake up to the fresh aroma of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, the cured taste of dried tapa, tinapa, ham and bacon – all these are products of a mysterious process we generally call fermentation. Aged wine is mellower, cured tobacco is more aromatic, naturally ripened fruits are sweeter, dried prunes, raisin and dates have higher sugar content and have longer shelf life. Why many foods taste better after allowing them to stand for sometime! Take suman, tupig, puto, bibingka, and the like. Thanks to the myriads of microorganisms working in our favor even while we are asleep.

The vast potential uses of microorganisms - bacteria, algae, fungi and the like - in providing food, medicine and better environment to supply the requirements of our fast growing population and standard of living are being tapped by biotechnology. Biotechnology hand in hand with genetic engineering will likely dominate the Green Revolution of this century – the fourth since Neolithic time. But will this be a Green Revolution for the people?

Biotechnology is not new

My father, a gentleman farmer, was a brewer. He inherited the trade from my grandfather and from previous generations. I still use today the good earthen jars in producing the same products – basi, the traditional Ilocos wine, and its by-product, natural vinegar - using the same indigenous formula.

The making of basi and vinegar, as well as a dozen other products of sugarcane, like panocha, pulitiput, kalamay, sinambong, and kinalti, is a traditional cottage industry in the Ilocos region which is traced back to the Pre-Hispanic era when hundreds of small independent brewers like my father lived comfortably on this once flourishing industry.

Things appeared simple then. But time has changed. We know that sugarcane has long been planted with rice, legumes and vegetables, but it sounds like new in modern parlance with terms like crop rotation or crop diversification. Making of wine, vinegar and confectionery products are under agro-industry. Because the process generates profit, we call this value-added advantage. So with the tax that is now slap manufactured products. To determine the business viability of a business we determine its internal rate of return (IIR) and its return on investment (ROI). Brewing today is agro-processing and an agribusiness. And my father would be called not just a proprietor or entrepreneur - but as a business partner since family members and relatives share in the operation of the business. Possibly his title today would be general manager or CEO.

Things in my father’s time have become outdated, shifting away from traditional to modern. But it is not only a matter of terminology; it is change in business structure and system.

Big business is name of the game

Like many other village industries, the local breweries bowed out to companies that now control the production of commercial and imported brands. The proliferation of many products and the inability of local products to keep up with the growing sophisticated market have further brought their doom. Definitely under such circumstances the small players under the business parameter of economics of scale find themselves at the losing end. Bigness is name of the game.

Monopolies and cartels now control much of the economy here and in other countries. Transnational companies have grown into giants, that one big company far outweighs the economy of a small country. Today agribusiness and biotechnology are corporate terms that are difficult to translate on the village level and by small entrepreneurs.

All these fit well into the present capitalistic system that is greatly under the influence of IMF-WB on borrower-countries, and terms of trade agreements imposed by GATT-WTO on its members, many of which reluctantly signed the its ratification. Under the capitalistic system there has been a shift of countryside industries into the hands of corporations, national and transnational. Take these examples.

Coffee is raised by millions of small farmers all over the world, but it is monopolized by such giant companies like Nestle and Consolidated Foods. Cacao is likewise a small farmer’s crop, but controlled by similar multinationals. So with tea, the world’s second most popular beverage.

Unfortunately this inequity in the sharing of the benefits of these industries is exacerbated by the absence of a strong and effective mass-based program that emphasizes countryside development through livelihood and employment opportunities. Multi-national monopolies thrive on such business climate and biased laws and program in their favor.

We import rice, corn, sugar, fruits, meat and poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables in both fresh and processed products, when in the sixties and seventies we were exporters of the same products. We were then second or third in ranking after Japan in terms of economic development.

“Small business is beautiful”

There must be something wrong somewhere. But while we diagnose our country’s ills, we should make references to our own successes, and even come to a point of looking on models within our reach and capability to emulate. There are “unsung heroes” in practically all fields from business, agriculture, manufacturing to folk medicine and leadership. Perhaps for us who belong to the older generation, it is good to feel whenever we recall old times when life was better – and better lived. For which, on the other side of the coin, we pose the present challenghe to the youth.

Let me cite particular areas of biotechnology in which small entrepreneurs play a vital role and which they have proven themselves successful in one way or the other.

The first group involves the production of alcoholic drinks and vinegar through fermentation.

These products are

Basi (sugarcane)
Lambanog (coconut)
Tuba (coconut)
Layaw (nipa)
Bahalina (coconut and tangal)
Fruit wine (kasoy, bignay, pineapple, etc.)
Vinegar (nipa, sugarcane, coconut, various fruits)

Vinegar from sugarcane brewed and seasoned in earthen jars or burnay. Bantay, Ilocos Sur

With readily available raw materials and simple tools used, brewing is a practical industry. More so, with the simplicity of fermentation itself which is the conversion of sugar into ethanol through fermentation with yeast. The brewed product is either consumed immediately or aged. Aging improves quality and lengthens the shelf life of the product. These home breweries are reminiscent of European vintages. It is said that the best wine in the world is not found in public bars and wine shops, but in private home cellars of Europe. It is true.

There, wine making is an art, and a personalized enterprise, with each cellar having a distinctive quality trademark. Bordeaux in France for example, is famous for brand, while the Scotch Whiskey remains a top grade liquor made from grains. Similarly we have Basi in Ilocos amd lambanog in Southern Tagalog, Bahalina in Eastern Visayas and Mindanao, Tapoy in the Cordilleras, which is Kampai in Japan. So with Apple cider compared to our own Sukang Iloko, or Sukang Paombong.

The second group of village biotechnology products are beverages, food condiments, tobacco and betel for chewing.

Kapeng barako (Batangas and Cavite)
Cacao (Batangas, Mindanao)
Vanilla (Mindanao)
Tsaa (Batangas)
Fruit puree (mango, guyabano, etc., Southern Tagalog, Mindanao)
Bagoong and patis (Navotas, Balayan, Dagupan)
Kesong Puti (Laguna)
Betel or Nganga (Cordillera, Laguna, Ilocos)
Ketsup (banana, tomato)
Rolled tobacco (Cagayan Valley, Ilocos)

Like in the first group, these products are area-specific which point out to their indigenous production and processing, so with their patronage. Rolled tobacco or pinadis, for example, has a special market for old people who are used to the product – and not to the younger generation. This is also true with betel or nganga.

On the other hand, bagoong and patis, which used to be a specialty among Ilocanos, are now marketed abroad. So with kapeng barako a local coffee which is mainly grown in the highlands of Batangas and Tagaytay. Fruit puree and fruit preserve, though relatively new, are amazingly growing fast, as people are shunning away from carbonated drinks. Because of high demand, these products became a boom to small growers, who recently are becoming mere conduits or raw products suppliers of big companies, instead of making and marketing the finished products themselves. Tea, coffee, fruit juice and chocolate, in this order, make up the world’s top beverages, thus pointing out the vast opportunities of biotechnology.

The third and largest group of village biotechnology products is in food.

Puto and Kutsinta or rice cake, very popular among Filipinos
Bibingka (rice)
Maja (corn grit)
Burong manggang paho, mustasa
Burong Isda (dalag and rice)
Hamon (manok, baboy, pato)
Tocino, longganisa
Itlog na pula and century egg
Balot and Penoy
Tokwa (bean curd)
Taosi (fermented black bean)
Talangka Paste
Pickles (papaya, carrot, ampalaya, onion, cucumber, etc.)
Toge (mungo sprout)
Cakes (banana, cassava)
Ripening of fruits (madre de cacao)

Food processing constitutes the bulk of village biotechnology in developing countries, on both domestic and commercial scales. Like in the other groups, these undertakings are seldom organized as formal establishments, but rather fall under the category of informal economics.

“The biggest piracy that is taking place today is not at sea and on the rich. It is stealing people’s resources – from herbal medicine to indigenous technology – stolen by rich countries and big corporations. Biopiracy and technopiracy constitute the greatest violation to human rights and social justice in that the people are not only deprived of their means of livelihood; they are forced to become dependent on those who robbed them.”

Informal or “underground” economy is the lifeblood of rural communities. They are the seat of tradition, rituals, barter and other informal transactions. They link the farm and the kitchen and the local market. They are versions of agro-processing and agribusiness on the scale of proprietorship and family business. They strengthen family and community ties.

Development Models on the Grassroots

It is for this reason that the NACIDA – National Cottage Industry Development Authority – was organized. And truly, it brought economic prosperity to thousands of entrepreneurs and families in the fifties to sixties. This concern for the common tao made Ramon Magsaysay the most loved president of the Philippines.

South Korea for one in the late sixties, saw our PRRM and NACIDA models and improved on them with their SAEMAUL UNDONG development program which ultimately brought tremendous progress in its war-torn countryside.

In Tanzania, one can glimpse similarities of our program with LAEDZA BATANI (Wake up, it’s time to get moving), a rural development program. The Philippines stood as an international model, recognized by the WB and ADB, for our countryside development – cottage industries, farmers’ associations, electric cooperatives, rice and corn production program, which made us agriculturally self-sufficient and net exporter of rice.

We developed biotechnology in farm waste utilization through composting with the use of Trichoderma inoculation, and in natural rice farming by growing Azolla in lieu of urea and ammonium nitrate. Another area of biotechnology is in the retting of maguey fiber, which is a work of decomposing bacteria. These and many other people-based approaches to development projected the image of then President Ferdinand Marcos among greatest nation builders like Mao Tse Tung, Chiang Kai Shek, Park Chung Hee, Dr Mahathir, Sukarno, Lee Kuan Yu, among others in the Western hemisphere - leaders who brought their respective countries out of the Thir World syndrome. There is but one abnd common denominator of progress in these countries, and that is development at the grassroots, or the so-called bottom-up development.

Today there are many opportunities of biotechnology that can be tapped and packaged for small and medium size businesses and organized groups of entrepreneurs and farmers. These opportunities also pose a big challenge to the academe and to enterprising researchers in government and private institutions.

Cultured tainga ng daga (Auricularia). It is a giant compared to the native species growing in the wild.

Important organisms for biotechnology

Spirulina (blue-green alga or Eubacterium) - high protein, elixir.
Chlorella (green alga) – vegetable, oxygen generator
Pleurotus and Volvariella (fungi, mushroom) – anti-cancer food.
Azolla-Anabaena (eubacterium with fern)– natural fertilizer
Porphyra, red seaweed, high-value food (“food of the gods”)
Hormophysa (brown alga) – antibiotics
Eucheuma (red alga) – source of carageenan, food conditioner
Gracillaria (brown alga) – source of agar, alginate
Sargassum (brown alga) – fertilizer and fodder
Saccharomyces (fungus, yeast) – fermentation
Aspergillus (fungus) – medicine, fermentation
Penicillium (fungus) – antibiotics
Caulerpa (green alga) – salad
Leuconostoc (bacterium) – nata de coco, fermentation of vegetables
Acetobacter (bacterium) – acetic acid manufacture
Rhizobium (bacterium) – Nitrogen fixer for soil fertility
Nostoc (BGA or Eubacterium) – bio-fertilizer
Ganoderma (tree fungus) – food supplement, reducer
Halobacterium and Halococcus (bacteria)- bagoong and patis making
Lactobacillus (bacterium) lactic fermentation, yogurt making
Candida (yeast) – source of lysine, vitamins, lipids and inveratse
Torulopsis (yeast) – leavening of puto and banana cake
Trichoderma (fungus) – innoculant to accelerate composting time.
Rhizobium resides inside these nodules attached to the roots of leguminous plants. This bacterium fixes inert N2 gas into soluble NO3 or nitrate which is then absorbed and used by plants.

Before I go proceed allow me to present a background of biotechnology in relation with the history of agriculture.

Three Green Revolutions

The First Green Revolution took place when man turned hunter to farmer, which also marked the birth of human settlement, in the Fertile Crescent, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers where the present war in Iraq is taking place.

The Second Green Revolution is characterized by the improvement of farming techniques and the expansion of agricultural frontiers, resulting in the conversion of millions of hectares of land into agriculture all over the world. This era lasted for some three hundred years, and marched with the advent of modern science and technology, which gave rise to Industrial Revolution. Its momentum however, was interrupted by two world wars.

Then in the second part of the last century, a Third Green Revolution was born. With the strides of science and technology, agricultural production tremendously increased. Economic prosperity followed specially among post-colonial nations - the Third World - which took the cudgels of self rule, earning respect in the international community, and gaining the status of Newly Industrialized Nations (NICs) one after another.

Towards the end of the last century, the age of biotechnology and genetic engineering arrived. Here the conventions of agriculture have been radically changed. For example, desirable traits are transferred through gene splicing so that trans-generic – even trans-kingdom – trait combination are now possible. Bt Corn, a genetically modified corn that carries the caterpillar-repelling gene of a bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, exemplifies such case. Penicillin-producing microorganisms are not only screened from among naturally existing species and strains; they are genetically engineered with super genes from other organisms known for their superior production efficiency.

Biotechnology for people and environment

The need for food and other commodities is ever increasing. Together with conventional agriculture, biotechnology will be contributing significantly to the production of food, medicine, raw materials for the industry, and in keeping a balanced ecology. This indeed will offer relief to the following scenarios:

1. World’s population increases from today’s 8 billion to 10 billion well within 20 years.

2. Agricultural frontiers have virtually reached dead end.

3. Farmlands continue to shrink, giving way to settlements and industry,
while facing the onslaught of erosion and desertification

4. Pollution is getting worse in air, land and water.

5. Global warming is not only a threat; it is a real issue to deal with.

These scenarios seem to revive the Apocalyptic Malthusian theory, which haunts many poor countries - and even industrialized countries where population density is high. We are faced with the problem on how to cope up with a crisis brought about by the population-technology-environment tandem that has started showing its fangs at the close of the 20th century.

Now we talk in terms of quality life, health and longevity, adequate food supply and proper nutrition - other human development index (HDI), notwithstanding.


As scientists open the new avenue of genetic engineering to produce genetically modified organisms (GMO) for food, medicine and industry, entrepreneurs are shaping up a different kind of Green Revolution on the old country road – the employment of veritable, beneficial microorganisms to answer the basic needs of the vast majority of the world’s population.


Green Revolution for the masses

This Green Revolution has to be addressed to the masses. The thrust in biotechnology development must have a strong social objective. This must include the integration of the mass-based enterprises with research and development (R&D). Like the defunct NACIDA, a program for today should be cottage-based, not only corporate-based. Genetic engineering should be explored not for scientific reasons or for profit motives alone, but purposely for social objectives that could spur socio-economic growth on the countryside, and the improvement the lives of millions of people.

Alternative Food

These lowly organisms will be farmed like conventional crops. In fact, today mushroom growing is among the high-tech agricultural industries, from spawn culture to canning.

Spirulina, a cyanobacterium, has been grown for food since ancient times by the Aztecs in Mexico and in early civilizations in the Middle East. Its culture is being revived on estuaries and lakes, and even in small scale, in tanks and ponds. Today the product is sold as “vegetablet.”

Seaweeds, on the other hand, are being grown extensively and involving many species, from Caulerpa to Nori. Seaweed farming has caught worldwide attention in this last two decades, not only because it offers a good source of food, but also industrial products like carageenan and agar.

Environmental Rehabilitation

In the remote case that a nuclear explosion occurs, how possible is it to produce food and other needs in the bomb shelters deep underground? Fiction as it may seem, the lowly microorganisms have an important role. For one, mushrooms do not need sunlight to grow. Take it from the mushroom-growing termites. Another potential crop is Chlorella. While it produces fresh biomass as food it is also an excellent oxygen generator, oxygen being the by-product of photosynthesis. But where will Chlorella get light? Unlike higher plants, this green alga can make use of light and heat energy from an artificial source like fluorescent lamp.

Sewage treatment with the use of algae is now common in the outskirts of big cities like New York and Tokyo. From the air the open sewer is a series of reservoirs through which the sewage is treated until the spent material is released. The sludge is converted into organic fertilizer and soil conditioner, while the water is safely released into the natural environment such as a lake or river.

Marine seaweeds are known to grow in clean water. Their culture necessitates maintenance of the marine environment. Surprisingly seaweeds help in maintaining a clean environment, since they trap particles and detritus, and increase dissolved Oxygen and reduce dissolved CO2 level in water.

Bacteria being decomposers return organic substances to nature. So with algae and fungi. Fermentation is in fact, a process of converting organic materials into inorganic forms for the use of the next generation of organisms. In the process, man makes use of the intermediate products like ethyl alcohol, acetic acid, nata de coco, lactic acid, and the like.

Speaking of sustainable agriculture, take it from Nature’s biofertilizers like Nostoc and other Eubacteria. These BGAs form green matting on rice fields. Farmers in India and China gather this biomass, and use it as natural fertilizer. Another is Rhizobium, a bacterium that fixes atmospheric Nitrogen into NO3, the form of N plants directly absorb and utilize. Its fungal counterpart, Mycorrhiza, converts Nitrogen in the same way, except that this microorganism thrives in the roots of orchard and forest trees.

Let me cite the success of growing Azolla-Anabaena on ricefields in Asian countries. This is another biofertilizer, and discriminating consumers are willing to pay premium price for rice grown without chemical fertilizer - only with organic and bio-fertilizers.

At one time a good friend, a medical doctor and gentleman farmer, Dr. P. Parra, invited me to his Azolla farm in Iloilo. What I saw was a model of natural farming, employing biotechnology in his integrated farm –

Azolla for rice,
• Biogas from piggery,
Rhizobia innoculation for peanuts and mungbeans,
Trichoderma for composting.
• Food processing (fruit wine and vinegar)

His market for his natural farm products are people as far as Manila who are conscious of their health, and willing to pay the premium price for naturally grown food.

Genetic Engineering

It is true that man has succeeded in splicing the DNA, in like manner that he harnessed the atom through fission. and Hydrogen through fusion. Genetic engineering is a kind of accelerated and guided evolution, and while it helps man screen and develop new breeds and varieties, it has yet to offer the answer to the declining productivity of farms and agriculture, in general, particularly in developing countries. Besides, genetically engineered products have yet to earn a respectable place in the market and household.

Genetic engineering of beneficial organisms is the subject of research institutions all over the world. I had a chance to visit the Biotechnology Center in Taipei and saw various experiments conducted by Chinese scientists particularly on antibiotics production. But biotechnology has also its danger. One example is the case of the “suicide seeds”. These are hybrid seeds which carry a trigger enzyme which destroys the embryo soon after harvest so that the farmers will be forced to buy again seeds from the same supplier come next cropping season. It is similar to self-destruct diskettes, or implanted viruses in computers. This is how an international company Monsanto, the inventor of suicide seeds, is creating an empire built at the expense of millions of poor farmers over the world.

Medicine and Natural Food

As resistance of pests and pathogens continue to increase and become immune to drugs, man is corollarily searching for more potent and safe kinds and formulations. He has resorted to looking into the vast medicinal potentials of these lowly organisms, as well as their value as natural food. Here are some popular examples.

1. Nori or gamet (Porphyra, a red alga) – elixir,
claimed to be more potent than Viagra

2. Edible seaweeds - rich in iodine, vegetable substitute.
There is no known poisonous seaweed.

3. Seaweeds as source of natural antibiotics, much safer than conventional antibiotics.

4. Mushrooms have anti-cancer properties.

6. Cyanobacteria prolongs life, restores youthfulness.

7. Yeast is a health food

8. Yogurt is bacteria-fermented milk, health drink.

9. Carica and Mamordica extracts for medicine and health food

10. Organically grown food (without the use of chemical pesticide and fertilizer)

Dr. Domingo Tapiador, a retired UN expert on agriculture and fisheries, helped initiate the introduction of Spirulina in the country. He showed me the capsule preparation produced in Japan. “Why can’t we grow Spirulina locally?” he asked.

Today a year after, there are successful pilot projects. Spirulina is not only good as human food but feeds as well. Professor Johnny Ching of De la Salle University Dasmariñas found out that Spirulina added to the feed ration of bangus improves growth rate. (MS Biology, UST) Similar studies point out to the beneficial effects of Spirulina on the daily weight gain in poultry and livestock. Earlier studies also discovered Azolla, an aquatic fern with a blue-green alga symbiont – Anabaena, as a valuable feed supplement to farm animals.

These lowly groups of organisms which cannot even qualify as plants, but instead protists with which protozoa are their kin, biologically speaking that is, are after all “giants.”

They hold the promise in providing food, medicine, clean environment, and as a whole, a better quality of human life for the people today and the coming generations.

x x x

The Living with Nature Handbook, AVR-UST

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pioneers in Biology in the Philippines

By Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Dr Domingo Tapiador (left), UN-FAO biologist, father of Spirulina, a one-celled protein, with veteran journalist Dell H Grecia, and the author. 

This article was written soon after the completion of the Human Genome Project (HGP) was announced by then US President Bill Clinton. Which in part, I said

"While the world celebrates the greatest discovery of the new millennium - the cracking of the genetic code - let us turn our thoughts to our own biologists. May their pioneering spirit in the development of biology in the Philippines be brought closer to our youth for them to look into the great potentials of biology as a career."

Updating this article will come a long way, and may not suffice, much less complete. Nonetheless it is a humble effort to give our due respects and honor for the achievements of great Filipinos.

More so today that we are facing a crisis in food, among other problems worldwide and locally, mainly the result of runaway population, environmental degradation exacerbated by climate change, and rising affluence of living. Governance is changing its face and conduct as shown in the current Arab Spring, worldwide low employment, global warming, increasing incidents of natural and man-made disasters.

To remember these great men and women of our own race - were they alive today - we would not hesitate to ask how they can possibly help? We ask the same to the living, and we pose it as a challenge to our youth today.

Our situation in the Philippines is a lament. It is irony because we have the resources - physical and human, yet we lag behind in food production on one hand, and the preservation of the environment, on the long term. Maybe the next thing we ask is when will we be able to keep up with our neighbors, and with the world.

Originally these are the scientists mentioned in the original article posted in this Blog in 2009.

Eduardo Quisumbing
is author of Medicinal Plants of the Philippines, still the most popular reference in this field. It is dubbed the “bible of medicinal plants.” It is used in schools, barangay and at home.

Leon Ma. Guerrero (1853-1935), the father of botany in the Philippines and one of the first Filipino pharmacists, formulated medicine and drugs from 174 plants in place of synthetic drugs which were not available then. When President Emilio Aguinaldo ran out of ammunition, he formulated an explosive derived from plants. It proved to be a good substitute of gunpowder. It was later named Guerrero Powder. One of the ingredients the author discovered is the hard seed coat of cashew (Canarium luzonicum).

Maria Y Orosa (1893- 1945) is well known in the field of food preservation. She introduced innovations in salting, marinating, and pickling, and the like, and made home economics and food technology household terms. So simple are her techniques that they can be adopted at the grassroots. They are also friendly to health and the environment.

Hilarion Lara (1994-1987), an epidemiologist, advocated environmental sanitation in the control of cholera, typhoid, measles, dysentery and diphtheria, and was awarded the title of National Scientist. His fame , but his fame gained international acclaim.

Manuel Ma. Guerrero (1877-1919) succeeded in controlling infantile beri-beri together with Dr. Juan Salcedo (1904-1988), then chairman of the National Science Development Board, who formulated a special vitamin against beri-beri for all ages. Their works contributed to saving millions of children all over the world down especially at the village level from this scourge.

Alfredo Santos (1900-1979), one of the founders of the National Academy of Science, and national scientist, discovered paheantharine from plants as treatment of high blood pressure.

Candido M. Africa (1895-1945) succeeded in determining the causes of heart failure and how it can be prevented.

Arturo B. Rotor (1908-1993), is the first Filipino allergist. He served as Executive Secretary of President Manuel L. Quezon, and President Sergio Osmena. Dr. Rotor discovered a rare disease of the renal system which was named Rotor Syndrome, now recognized in all medical schools and hospitals here and abroad. Dr. Rotor also wrote a column, “Confidentially Yours, Doctor,” written in simple and plain English for people to understand the doctor’s lingo. A number of orchids he discovered were named after him.

Antonio Ejercito spearheaded malaria control, while Sixto A. Francisco (1890-1959) fought tuberculosis with a method he developed with the use of BCG vaccine.

Anastacia Giron
Tupas (1890-1972) upgraded the nursing profession. She is our own Florence Nightingale, the founder of the nursing profession.

Fe del Mundo
(1907- ) institutionalized the treatment of children. Among her inventions are an incubator for babies, and a devise in relieving jaundice.

Nemesio Mendiola (1890-1983) is the country’s counterpart of the American “plant wizzard,” Luther Burbank. He was responsible in breeding high yielding rice, corn, sugar cane, and a host of horticultural crops, including fancy plants. Have you seen kamote (sweet potato) varieties with yellow, violet and blue tubers? He bred the spineless kenaf from the wild thorny native variety and became the source of fiber for commercial jute sacks.

Deogracias Villadolid was professor in zoology and served as critic of the author’s masteral thesis in freshwater ecology. Dr. Villadolid, a marine and fresh water biologist, is best remembered for introducing tilapia (Tilapia mozambica and T. nilotica) into the Philippines in the fifties. The fish became adapted to local conditions and is now the most popular fish, surpassing bangus, our national fish.

Julian A. Banzon (1908-1988) developed alternative fuel from coconut and sugarcane. With millions of cars running on alcogas in other countries, we have yet to tap Dr. Banzon’s formula for our local cars.

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

Angel S. Arguelles (1888-1988?) developed fertilizers and pesticides to increase plant yield. These alternative farm inputs can save the country of precious dollars that is otherwise spent on imported farm chemicals, which by the way, are deleterious to health and the environment. His formulations set the foundation of organic farming.

Gregorio Velasquez is the father of phycology, the study of algae, which include the seaweeds. Today the culture of certain seaweeds, like Eucheuma, Gracillaria and Caulerpa, constitutes a multi-million industry. Seaweeds are used as food and raw materials in medicine and industries. Micro-algae like Spirulina and Chlorella are among today’s growing health food.

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

Dioscoro L. Umali (1922-1992) was dean of then UP College of Agriculture, before he assumed one of the highest posts occupied by a Filipino in the UN as regional head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for Asia and Pacific. His works in plant breeding, education and research won him the National Scientist award.

Salvador M. Africa, a chemist, made glass from sugarcane bagasse.
Anacleto del Rosario discovered natural mineral water, better than the manufactured mineral water we use today.

Of course, we recognize the greatest Filipino who ever lived, the hero of our race, Jose P. Rizal. Rizal was a biologist, agriculturist and wildlife conservationist, even while he was in exile in Dapitan. Among his discoveries is a winged tree lizard, which was later named after him, Draco rizali.

Here is a list from the Internet our National Scientists affiliated with UPLB.

Eduardo Quisumbing published the first ever book on medicinal plants in the Philippines and authored more than 129 scientific articles published here and abroad. While director of the National Museum, Quisumbing undertook restoration of the Herbarium which was completely destroyed during World War II.

Dioscoro Umali specialized in rice, corn, abaca and mussaenda breeding. His research paved the way for the launching of programs of rainfed and upland agriculture, social forestry, environment conservation and rural poverty. He was appointed dean of the College of Agriculture in 1959. National Scientist.

Francisco Fronda helped develop Asia's poultry industry, devoting over six decades of his life to teaching, research and extension. In recognition of his pioneering contributions, he was cited as the "Father of Poultry Science in the Philippines" by the Philippine Association of Animal Science in 1980 and "Father of Thai Poultry Industry" by the Crown Princess of Thailand in 1982.

Julian Banzon was among the first to do research on coconut as a renewable source of fuel and chemicals. He also devised novel processes, noteworthy among these is the extraction of residual coconut oil by chemical, rather than by physical processes.

Clare Baltazar discovered eight types and one subgenus of Hymenoptera. She also published the first authoritative book on Philippine insects which laid the groundwork for future biological control in the country.

Benito Vergara is a rice scientist and author of "Farmer's Primer on Growing Rice" which has been translated in over 40 languages. He also developed IRRI’s Rice World Museum during his term as director for Administration.

Bienvenido Juliano authored or co-authored over 370 scientific papers on rice chemistry and quality and edited and contributed to several chapters of the 2nd edition of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC) monograph "Rice Chemistry and Technology" in 1985, wrote "Rice Chemistry and Quality" for PhilRice in 2003, "Rice in Human Nutrition" for FAO in 1993, and compiled IRRI quality data on world rice. He is the only Filipino on Thomson/ISI's list of highly cited researchers.

Carmen Velasquez discovered thirty-two new species and one new genus of digenetic trematodes from Philippine food fishes, two from birds and five from mammals; nine life cycles of trematodes of the family Transversotrematidae, Echinostromatidae, Notocotylidae (2), Plagiorchidae, Heterophyidae (2), Microphallidae and Philophtalmidae. She also discovered two new species of nematodes from Philippine fishes and a new species of Capillaria from the intestine of man, as well as a new species of parasitic copepod in Glossogobius giurus (Goby). Her works are archived at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dolores Ramirez is known for her work on the genetic systems controlling the makapuno endosperm of coconut, the genetics of chemical resistance factors against Cercospora kex leaf spot and the cytogenetics of the hybrids of rice with related wild species.

Jose Velasco did research on various areas of plant physiology such as mineral nutrition, photoperiodism, chemical weed control and plant growth in general, which served as the basis of crop production management practices and has set the direction for future research. He is also known for his research on cadang-cadang disease of coconuts.

• Pedro Escuro helped develop, isolate and release nine Seed Board rice varieties: Milpal 4, HBD-2, Azmil 26 and C-22 (upland) and C-18, C4-63, C4-137, C-168 and C-12 (lowland).

Gregorio Velasquez, known as the "father of Philippine phycology", made the first intensive study of the local Myxophyceae or the bluegreen algae and devoted at least 30 years of productive work in the study of Philippine algae.

Ricardo Lantican's research on southern leaf blight saved the American corn industry in 1969. He also helped develop a new plant architecture in mungbean combined with resistance to Cercospora leaf spot, which increased yield levels in Asian farming systems and initiated varietal improvement of legumes in the Philippines in the 1960s, producing more than 20 varieties of mungbean (CES and Pag-asa series), soybean and peanut, some of which are commercially planted and used as parental types in international breeding programs.

Asuncion Raymundo conducted studies on microbial genetics and implemented numerous research projects or studies funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, UNIDO and the Australian Centre for International Agriculture. She has published over a hundred technical articles in refereed journals and proceedings, both local and international. She is currently dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Teodulo Topacio, Jr. did research on leptospiral disease of domesticated animals, which may provide the foundation for institutional control measures for these ailments. His studies on the transmission of the disease from pigs to humans have enabled veterinarians to produce antibiotic therapy that also reduced spontaneous abortion caused by the disease among pregnant pigs.

The author had the opportunity working or knowing the following scientists who belong to the "old school." It is indeed a rare and distinct privelege.

  • Fernando de Peralta – Botany
  • Fortunato T. Basilio – Animal Science
  • Juan P. Torres - Agriculture
  • Santiago R. Cruz – Agriculture
  • Jose Capinpin - Agriculture
  • 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
  • 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
  • Gavino Trono - Agriculture and Phycology
  • Juanito Reyes - Agronomy
  • Fortunato Basilio - Veterinary Science
  • Vicente Villegas- Animal nutrition
The author also expresses his admiration to the following Filipino scientists in the academe, research institutions and in the field. Together with other scientists, they belong to the “contemporary school of biology.” Among them are Reynaldo A. Tabbada (botany), Paciente Cordero (marine biology), Romualdo M. del Rosario (Botany), Ruben Umaly (Genetics), Crisanto Escaño (agriculture), Carmen Kanapi (Genetics), Mamerta R. Rocero (ethnobotany), Alice Claustro (Botany), Anselmo S. Cabigan (Biology), Irineo Dogma (Microbiology) and Lydia Joson (microbiology), Delia Ontengco (microbiologist) Lilian J Sison (chemistry), Peter Ng (medical doctor and biologist), Carlos Garcia (chemistry). The author likewise expresses recognition to scientists in the other fields of natural science, particularly in chemistry and physics.

These ten major biological research areas pose a challenge to the youth of today who may take interest in becoming scientists mainly in the field of biology.

1. Biotechnology
2. Marine biology
3. Climatology
4. Human longevity
5. Effects of pollution
6. Endangered ecosystems and species
7. Exobiology and Space biology
8. Natural food and medicine
9. Pandemic human diseases
10. Gene therapy

Now that the genetic code has been broken, we are embarking into new fields of science and technology heretofore unknown to man - and into the mystery of life itself, a subject that has long defied man’s knowledge.

The mapping of the 46 chromosomes of the human species and the 50,000 or so genes that they hold may have taken us a leap forward into knowing the key to life. But even if we shall have finally identified the specific role of each gene in relation to health, behavior and intrinsic qualities, we would still be in quandary whether this discovery will make life any better, happier and well-lived.

As we look back, our pioneer biologists may not have cracked the gene, but definitely they have in their own quiet and humble ways brought honors to their race and profession. Most important of all, they have improved the lives of millions of not only Filipinos but other people around the world through their genius, efforts, dedication – and selflessness.

May this article serve as a simple expression of our respect and gratitude to these and many other great Filipinos who equally deserve recognition.

x x x

NOTE: We'll be happy to receive more names of famous Filipino biologists. AVR