Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Carmen Velasquez

Carmen Velasquez (August 7, 1913-October 16, 1994) is a National Scientist in the Philippines known for her pioneer studies of tropical fish parasitology in the Philippines.

Career and Contributions

Dr. Velasquez discovered 32 species and one genus of digenetic trematodes in 13 families from Philippine food fishes; two from birds and three from mammals; three species and a genus of Monogenea from marine fishes eight life cycles of Digenea in seven families and three of nematodes from fresh water and marine fishes. In addition, she found Capillaria philippinensis inside the intestine of a Filipino man, which was the first of its kind in the entire world. She also published "Digenetic Trematodes of Philippine Fishes," which became a valuable regional reference to fish parasitology and aquaculture management.

Dr. Velasquez is recipient to numerous academic honors and Presidential awards. She is listed in the American Men and Women of Science, International Scholars Directory, International Who's Who of Intellectuals and World Who's Who of Women. In 1983 she was conferred as a National Scientist by Former President Ferdinand Marcos.


  • BS (Zoology) - University of the Philippines, 1934
  • MS (Zoology) - University of Michigan, 1937
  • Ph.D. (Parasitology) - University of the Philippines, 1957

Antonio Luna

Antonio Luna y Novicio (
October 29, 1866 - June 5, 1899) was a Filipino pharmacist and general who fought in the Philippine-American War. He founded the Philippines's first military academy.

Family background

Antonio Luna was born in Urbiztondo, Binondo, Manila. He was the youngest of seven children of Joaquin Luna and spanish mestiza Laureana Novicio, both from wealthy families of Badoc, Ilocos Norte. His father was a traveling salesman of the products of government monopolies, who later became a prosperous merchant in Binondo. His older brother, Juan Luna, was an accomplished, prize-winning painter who studied in the Madrid Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Two other brothers, Jose, became a doctor and Joaquin a governor and later senator.

He was the youngest of the brood of Laureana Novicio, a Spanish mestiza, and Joaquin Luna of Zambales and Ilocos Norte, Antonio went to the Ateneo Municipal, like the two other brothers, Manuel and Juan who later traveled to Europe to learn music and painting, respectively. Still in Manila, Antonio studied


His early schooling was at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1881. He went on to study literature and chemistry at the University of Santo Tomas, where he won first prize for a paper in chemistry titled Two Fundamental Bodies of Chemistry. Aside from chemistry, he also studied pharmacy, swordsmanship, fencing, military tactics, and became a sharp-shooter. On the invitation of his brother Juan, Antonio was sent by his doting parents to Spain, to acquire a licentiate and doctorate in Pharmacy. He obtained the degree of Licentiate in Pharmacy from the University of Barcelona. He pursued further studies and in 1890 obtained the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy from the Universidad Central de Madrid.

Reform propagandist

In Spain, he became one of the Filipino expats who mounted the “Propaganda Movement” and wrote for La Solidaridad, published by the reformist movement of the elite Filipino students in Spain. He wrote a piece titled Impressions which dealt with Spanish customs and idiosyncrasies under the pen-name "Taga-ilog". He fought duels with Spanish writers who wrote insultingly of Filipinos. He was rumored to be a ladies’ man. In Europe, Luna and José Rizal once quarreled over their interest in the same girl, a French mestiza.

Luna was active as researcher in the scientific community in Spain, and wrote a scientific treatise on malaria titled El Hematozoario del Paludismo (Malaria), which was favorably received in the scientific community. He then went to Belgium and France, and worked as assistant to Dr. Latteaux and Dr. Laffen. In recognition of his ability, he was appointed commissioner by the Spanish government to study tropical and communicable diseases.

In 1894, he went back to the Philippines where he took the competitive examination for chief chemist of the Municipal Laboratory of Manila, came in first and won the position. He also opened a sala de armas, a fencing club, and learned of the underground societies that were planning a revolution, and was asked to join. Like and other leaders, he was in favor of reforms rather than independence as goal to be attained. His answer, that of an ill-informed ilustrado, he regretted all the rest of his life was: “And what shall we fight with? With these?” (baring his strong, white teeth). He considered an armed uprising a premature adventure which would deteriorate into an “armed riot” because “you cannot get two Filipino to agree on one opinion.”[1]

Nevertheless, after the Spanish authorities discovered the Katipunan in August 1896, Antonio, Jose and Juan Luna were arrested and jailed in Fort Santiago for their participation in the reform movement. Months later Jose and Juan were freed. But Antonio was exiled to Spain in 1987, where he was imprisoned at the Carcel Modelo in Madrid.

His more famous and controversial brother Juan, who had been pardoned by the Spanish Queen Regent herself, left for Spain to use his internationally acclaimed, prize-winning artist’s prestige to intercede for Antonio. With Juan's influence working, Antonio's case was dismissed by the Military Supreme Court and was released.

Antonio prepared himself for the revolutionary war he had decided to join. First, he went to Madrid and other cities in Germany and Belgium, studied field fortifications, guerrilla warfare, organization, and other aspects of military science. He studied military tactics and strategy under General Gerard Leman in Beligium.

In Hong Kong, he was given a letter of recommendation to Emilio Aguinaldo by the Filipino Junta. He returned to the Philippines in July 1898, his head filled with suspicions of American treachery.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jose R. Velasco

Jose R. Velasco (February 4, 1916January 24, 2007) was a Filipino plant physiologist and agricultural chemist noted for his research on soil and plant nutrition and on coconut diseases. In 1998, he was recognized as a National Scientist of the Philippines.

Early life and education
Velasco was born in
Imus, Cavite. After nearly flunking out of a vocational high school, he transferred to an agricultural high school (now the Central Luzon State University), where he graduated salutatorian.Velasco enrolled in what was then the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (now the University of the Philippines, Los Baños) in Laguna. He graduated at the top of his class in 1940 with a degree in Agriculture, major in Agriculture Chemistry.Upon graduation, Velasco joined the faculty of the University of the Philippines and remained there for the duration of World War II, during which he endured a brief period of incarceration by the Japanese army.After the war, Velasco pursued graduate studies in the United States and obtained a Ph.D in plant physiology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1949. He rejoined the faculty of the University of the Philippines and remained there until 1967.

[edit] Contributions to agricultural science
World War II, Velasco conducted research on the photoperiodism of the rice plant. Among his findings, which were published only after the end of the war, was that the Elon-elon variety flowered during short days when there was less than 12 hours of light.
Velasco was also noted for his research on the physiology of the
coconut, a common crop in the Philippines. He studied the mineral nutrition of areas planted to coconut, the development and utilization of coconut products, and the nature and cause of cadang-cadang, a disease that plagued the crop of small coconut farmers throughout the country. With respect to cadang-cadang, Velasco was skeptical of the still-prevalent view that the disease was viral in nature, and devoted considerable effort to prove his thesis that it was caused by an element in the soil that was toxic to the coconut plant.

[edit] Citations
In 1967, Velasco was appointed Commissioner of the National Institute of Science and Technology, a position he held for 10 years. Even though his duties were administrative in nature, he continued to work on various research projects using the NIST laboratories.
In 1998, Velasco was named a National Scientist of the Philippines by
President Fidel Ramos. His official citation acknowledged, among others, his research in photoperiodism and on the physiology of the coconut plant.