Sunday, July 23, 2006

Guillermo Luzada Ablan: A Pioneer in Diwal Fisheries

By Melchor F. Cichon
July 3, 2006

One of the earliest Filipino fisheries scientists is Guillermo L. Ablan.

A native of Dagupan City, he rose from the ranks.

By the time he retired from office, he was the Regional Director of Region I of the Philippine Fisheries Commission in Dagutan City. This commission is the present Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Director Ablan was born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte on February 7, 1904. His parents were Gregorio Ablan and Anastacia Luzada. He was married to Susana Nonato in 1945.

A B.S. in fisheries graduate, Director Ablan took his master of science at the University of Washington in 1932.
Immediately upon his return from his studies abroad, he worked as Junior Scientist, 1932-1933, at the Philippine Fisheries Commission and rose to become a Regional Director, Philippine Fisheries Commission, in Region 1.
Between these years, Director Ablan conducted various researches on Philippine fishes, bivalves, oysters and published them in various periodicals. His pamphlet, The Commercial Production of Oysters in the Philippines, is one of the most used materials on oyster.

But his most famous pioneering work is on diwal fishery.

According to him, "the diwal is locally considered the most healthful; and delicious among the shell foods found in this locality (Pontevedra, Occidental Negros), not excepting the oyster. It is of good flavor, either raw or prepared, and has a large amount of meat compared with other bivalves. Therefore the diwal is in great demand, not only in the local markets but also in other markets of the Philippines."

At that time, 1938, he had already observed that the supply of diwal or angelwings (Pholas orientalis (Bivalvia: Pholadidae) fishery in Occidental Negros was diminishing due to the growing communities with increasing populations and industrial plants, such as sugar centrals and rice mills. He therefore suggested that water pollution from these establishments be controlled.

His warning came true in the years to come.

In 2001, E. T. Marasigan and L. V. Laureta of the University of the Philippines said that "the high demand for angelwings, (Pholas (Monothyra) orientalis locally known as diwal in Panay and Negros islands in Central Philippines resulted in the overexploitation of the species. The once dense beds are now almost devoid of this resource."

Luckily, thru the initiative of the officials of Capiz and with the technical help of Dr. Laureta, diwal fishery was rehabilitated.

Here are Ablan’s publications:

Ablan , Guillermo L. April 1940. Two new Philippine gobioids. Philippine Journal of Science 71(4): 373-379. Table. 2 plates, 3 refs.
Ablan , Guillermo L., Jose R. Montilla and Basilio M. Martin July 1940. The salt-making industry of Northwestern Luzon. Philippine Journal of Science, 72 (3): 319-329, graphs, tables, plates.
Ablan, Guillermo L. and Godofredo L. Alcasid. August 1938 Two species of Piana apparently new to the Philippines. Philippine journal of Science. 66 (4): 497-499. Plate.
Ablan, Guillermo L. 1934. Breeding habits of the Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens. Agricultural Life Magazine.
Ablan, Guillermo L. 1949. The commercial production of oysters in the Philippines. Manila, Bureau of Printing. 27p. map, tables, 14 plates, 10 refs. (Philippines (Republic) Dept. Of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Popular Bulletin no. 26)
Ablan, Guillermo L. and Westremundo M. Rosario. April 1961. Teuthid fish for marine culture in the Philippines. Fisheries Gazette 5(4): 23-24.
Ablan, Guillermo L. and Westremundo M. Rosario. Jan. 1962. Method of collecting and transporting live teuthid fry (padas) for stocking. Fisheries Gazette 6(1):6-8, 36, 31.
Ablan, Guillermo L. July 1938. The diwal fishery of Occidental Negros. Philippine Journal of Science 66(3): 379-385. Tables, 2 plates.
Ablan, Guillermo L. July-Dec 1953. Lattice method of oyster culture. Philippine Journal of Fisheries, 2(2):191-195.
Ablan, Guillermo L. July-Dec 1953. Two Philippine boring mollusks. Philippine Journal of Fisheries 2(2):191-195.
Ablan, Guillermo L. and Guillermo J. Blanco. A rare parasitic crab new to Pangasinan province.
Herre, Albert W. and Guillermo L. Ablan. June 1934. Aplocheilus luzonensis, a new Philippine cyprinodont. Philippine Journal of Science 54 (2): 275-277. plates 6 refs.
Guillermo L. Ablan and Guillermo J. Blanco. August 1938. A rare parasite crab new to Pangasinan province. Philippine Journal of Science 66(2): 217-219. Table, plate, ref.
Roxas, Hilario A. and Guillermo L. Ablan. June 1938. A new taenioid fish from Occidental Negros. Philippine Journal of Science 66 ( 2): 261-265. Plates, 6 refs.
Roxas, A. Hilario and Guillermo L. Ablan. Jan. 1940. A new fish from Lingayen Gulf, Philippines. Philippine Journal of Science 70 (1): 77-79. Plate, 3 refs.

Director Ablan was a member of the following societies and organizations:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
Fisheries Society of the Philippines
International Association of Lions Club (charter member)
International Cooperation Society of the Philippines
Men of Science, Dutch East Indies
National Research Council of the Philippines
Pangasinan Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Employees Association (Chairman, 1965)
Pangasinan Oyster Farmers Association, Member, Board of Directors, 1965
Phi Sigma (Biological Honor Society)
Philippine Association for the Advancement of Research
Philippine FAO Fellows Association
Philippine Phycological Society
Sigma XI (Scientific Society)

For his distinguished career in fisheries, Director Ablan received the following awards:

Man of the Year in Fisheries. Bureau of Fisheries, 1953
ICA-NRC travel grant to various countries of Southeast Asia, 1956.


Bio-data of Guillermo L. Ablan. Typewritten. No date.
Ablan, Guillermo L. July 1938. The diwal fishery of Occidental Negros. Philippine Journal of Science 66(3): 379-385.
Marasigan, E. T. and L. V. Laureta. 2001. Broodstock maintenance and early gonadal maturation of Pholas orientalis (bivalvia:Pholadidae). Journal of Shellfish Research 20(3):1095-1099.