Friday, July 21, 2006

Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz: Pioneer in the Study of Tiger Prawn in the Philippines


Melchor F. Cichon
July 13, 2006

Do you know that one of the earliest Filipinos to study the biology and culture of tiger prawn or sugpo (Penaeus monodon Fabricius) was Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz together with D. V. Villadolid?

As early as 1951 these two Filipino scientists published an article in The Philippine Journal of Fisheries entitled " The cultivation of Sugpo, Penaeus monodon Fabricius in the Philippines". Here they described the morphological structure of sugpo. They also described sugpo’s feeding habits, the migration of sugpo fry, the sugpo fry fishery, and the cultivation of sugpo.

Before that, sugpo were being caught in the wild. At times though, sugpo were harvested in the fishponds but only as a secondary product.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, sugpo was the highest Philippine fisheries export amounting to millions of pesos. But when other countries like Thailand and Indonesia started to produce sugpo and with the onset of luminous bacteria, sugpo’s production started to dive.

Today, sugpo production is at its lowest level.

What could be one of the reasons for the increase of sugpo production in the Philippines in the 1980s?

When SEAFDEC-AQD was being established, the SEAFDEC Council members decided that the focus of this Department would be the production of sugpo, or Penaeus monodon Fabricius.

At that time, Dean Villaluz was experimenting on artificial propagation of this species in Mindanao, where he was the Dean of the College of Fisheries of Mindanao State University in Marawi City.

Before that Dean Villaluz had published a series of articles on sugpo. In 1953, he published a book entitled: Fish farming in the Philippines. In this book, he devoted one chapter on the cultivation of sugpo.

And so the SEAFDEC Council decided to appoint Dean Villaluz as its first Chief of SEAFDEC-AQD in 1973. He stayed in SEAFDEC-AQD until July 7, 1979.

Here is a report from SEAFDEC-AQD how Dean Villaluz was chosen as its first chief: "When SEAFDEC established the AQD in 1973, the Council decided to make tiger shrimp the main R&D focus and appointed Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz of the Mindanao State University the first AQD chief in recognation of his track record in shrimp research. In 1938, Dean Villaluz and F. J. Arriola published a paper on Penaeus taxonomy in Philippine Journal of Science (vol 66, pp. 35-41). In 1950, at the Second Meeting of the Indo-Pacific fisheries Council in Sydney, D. V. Villadolid and D. K. Villaluz presented the paper " The cultivation of Sugpo Penaeus monodn Fabricius in the Philippines. Dean Villaluz was working on the artificial propogation of tiger shrimp at the MSU-Naawan campus at about the same time that Dr. Liao was doing the same at TML. The paper of Villaluz et al (1969): "reproduction, larval development, and cultivation of sugpo Penaeus monodon Fabricius" appeared in Philippine Journal of Science (vol. 98, pp. 205-233). Thus it was that from the very start, the AQD promoted tiger shrimp hatchery and grow-out through research, training and extension including the conduct of the First (1983) and the Second (1996) International Conferences on Penaeid Prawns/Shrimps. Dean Villaluz bannered the AQD effort on tiger shrimp until his retirement in 1979 (July 7, 1979, when Dr. R. Juliano became the second SEAFDEC-AQD chief.

But who is Dean Villaluz?

This writer has very little information about Dean Villaluz' background.

Dean Villaluz was born in Angono, Rizal on July 30, 1909. He took both his Bachelor of Science in Education, major in zoology (BSE, 1931) and his Master of Science in Zoology (MS, 1937) from the University of the Philippines.

From 1939-1941, Dean Villaluz was a government student in Japan and a scholar of the U.S. State Department in the University of Washington in 1946-1947.

He wanted to become a physician, but for some reasons, he failed to pursue his medical career. Instead he went into fisheries.

He worked as Fishpond Supervisor at the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation. He also worked as a fish culturist at the Bureau of Fisheries.

It was at this time when he conducted researches and wrote both scientific and popular articles in fisheries.

In one of his articles, Dean Villaluz suggested that: " In the Philippines our need for a definite policy relative to the development of a certain fishery should received top consideration. The immediate problem is how to produce more fish to feed our ever increasing population. The point to consider in this connection are: Shall we develop our offshore fisheries or our inland fisheries including the fishponds? Developing offshore fisheries would mean fishing in international waters, following migration of pelagic fishes of commercial importance to their feeding, breeding, and spawning grounds which may happen to be in waters belonging to other countries. In other words, offshore fishing for the Philippines would be mostly international in scope as it is in other countries. Are we ready to engage in this kind of fishing which will require technical know-how and millions of pesos as capital?"

Here are his publications relative to Philippine fisheries:

Arriola, F. J. and D. K. Villaluz. 1939. Snail fishing and duck raising in Laguna de bay. Phil. J. Sci 69:173-190
Blanco, G. J., D. K. Villaluz and H. R. Montalban. 1951. The cultivation and biology of oysters of Bacoor Bay, Luzon. Phil. J. Fish 1(1):35-54
Mane, A. M. and D. K. Villaluz. 1939. The pukot fisheries of Laguna de Bay. Phil. J. Sci 69: 394-413.
Rabanal, H. R., H. R. Montalban and D. K. Villaluz. 1951. The preparation and management of the bangos fishpond nursery in the Philippines. Phil. J. Fish 1(1): 3-34
Villadolid, D. K. and D. K. Villaluz. Animals destructive to oysters in Bacoor Bay, Luzon. Phil. J. Sci 67 (1938):393-397
Villadolid, D. K. and D. K. Villaluz.. 1950. A preliminary study on bangos cultivation and its relation to algae culture in the Philippines. Dept. Agri. Nat. Res. Pop. Bull No. 30.
Villadolid, D. K. and D. K. Villaluz.. 1951. The cultivation of Sugpo, Penaeus monodon Fabricus in the Philippines. Phil. J. Fish 1(1):55-66
Villaluz, D. K. 1950. Management of some Philippine fisheries. Bull Fish. Sco. Phil :1: 31-37.
Villaluz, D. K. 1939. Vertical distribution of oyster spats in Bacoor Bay. Phil. J. Sci 70(4):375-385 Villaluz, D. K. 1939. Viability of commercial oyster spats in Bacoor Bay. Phil J. Sci 70(4):375-385 Villaluz, D. K. 1953. Fish farming in the Philippines. Bookman, Manila, 1953. 336p.
Villaluz, D. K. and F. J. Arriola. 1938. Five other known species of the Genus Penaeus in the Philippines. Phil. J. Sci 66:35-41.
Villaluz, D. K. Oyster farming. Phil. Journ. Sci. 65(1938):304-311.

He served as the Philippine Alternate Delegate to the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council in Cronulla, N.S.W, Australia, April 17-28, 1950, where he presented a paper together with D. V. Villadolid on the cultivation of sugpo in the Philippines.

In 1963, he was appointed dean of the College of Fisheries, Mindanao State University—Marawi, 1963 until 1973 when he was appointed as the first Chief of SEAFDEC-AQD, 1973-1979.

For his distinguished contributions to fisheries, he received some awards.

In October 1976, he received the Rizal Pro Patria Award given by the President of the Philippines. Two years before this, he received the Gregoria y Zara Scientist Award given by the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Development Board, and the Outstanding Service Award from the Philippine Federation of Fish Farm Producers. In 1977, he received the UP Alumni Award from the UP Alumni Association.

In 1979, he received the Pantas award given by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development, DOST "for his pioneering research on prawn culture. The induced prawn spawning and hatchery technology he developed had stabilized prawn fry supply for the country’s fish farmers. He was recognized for his lifelong mission to prove it the Filipino farmer that any little space of land can be made productive from technology adaptation coupled with strong determination."

To honor and perpetuate his contributions to the development of prawn culture in the Philippines, and for his able leadership while serving as SEAFDEC-AQD Chief during its organizational and formative years (1973-1979), the SEAFDEC-AQD management established the annual Dean Domiciano K. Villaluz Memorial Lecture where Filipino fisheries scientists deliver lectures on various topics in fisheries.

Dean Villaluz died in Angono, Rizal on April 28, 1986 at the age of 76 but his legacy as a pioneer researcher in sugpo culture will live on.


Bagarinao, Teodora. Dr. I-Chiu Liao of Taiwan and SEAFDEC/AQD's early history. SEAFDEC Asian Aquaculture, October-December 2002.
SEAFDEC-AQD Annual Report, 1979, p. 35
Villaluz, D. K. 1950. Management of some Philippine Fisheries. Bulletin of the Fisheries Society of the Philippines 1:31-37.
Villaluz, D. K. 1953. Fish farming in the Philippines. Bookman, Manila, 1953. 336p