Profiles of Filipino Fisheries Scientists

Monday, August 07, 2006

Prof. Zosima T. Vicencio: A picture of a Dedicated Mentor

Prof. Zosima T. Vicencio: A picture of a Dedicated Mentor

Soledad S. Garibay

I have known her personally for many years ever since I was a student. Way back at U.P. Diliman she is a terror Professor because of her 75 % passing score in her Phycology laboratory class. Yet in many ways Ma’am Vicencio remains a very gentle and sweet mentor.

Born on December 26, 1923 in Navotas, Rizal, Professor Zosima T. Vicencio, “Ziming” to her friends is one of the former Professors of the College of Fisheries who had worked hard with dedication and commitment to her Institution for 39 years.

Ms. Vicencio, an M.S. Botany graduate at UP Diliman, is considered as one of the few phycologists in the country sought after her expertise on algal taxonomy not only within the University but by other agencies including private sectors. Her research was generally on the plankton particularly on diatoms. Among the number of researches she got involved with include the: “Algal Food Habits of the Milkfish”, “Plankton of Samar Sea”, “Plankton Flora of Laguna de Bay”, and “The “Limnological Studies of Bulusan, Naujan and Paoay Lakes”. No wonder that through her initiative and efforts she has earned a respected status in her own field of specialization.

Ms. Vicencio started her professional career as an Instructor in the Fish Preservation Department of the defunct Philippine Institute of Fisheries Technology (PIFT) which was then under the Bureau of Fisheries. In 1952, she was transferred to the Fish Culture Department where she was made to teach Aquatic Botany (Phycology). In 1957, by organization Law, PIFT was transferred under the administration of the University of the Philippines. With hard work and determination, she rose in rank from Instructor to Full Professor.

Now at 82, Prof. Vicencio remains active in her career. For three years, she has served as a private consultant working on the identification of planktons both with PHIL-KOEI International Inc., a private agency. At her age, many envy her because she can still ably use the microscope and identify phytoplankton. This only shows that her love and dedication to her field of interest never dies.

When asked for her principles in life, she said that, “In the performance of your assigned task, always work systematically to get things done the best way that you can. Be dedicated and devoted to what you do and be determined to strive for accomplishment. Learn and grow along with your chosen field”.

So, what else can I say about her? It is just right that we and the future generations learn from her to become more dedicated and committed in our own chosen field.

Prof. Vicencio who retired in May 1988, has donated some of her seaweed collections at the UPV Museum of Natural Sciences.

She passed away on November 15, 2006 in Malabon, Metro Manila.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Claro Tolentino Martin: The Prolific Philippine Fisheries Researcher of His Time
Melchor F. Cichon
August 2006

Two years from now, specifically on August 10, 2008, the family, if not the town of Malolos, Bulacan, will celebrate the centennial birthday of Claro Tolentino Martin.

Who is Claro T. Martin?

Martin was born on August 10, 1908 in Malolos, Bulacan to the couple Antonio Martin and Julia Tolentino. But his last known residence was in Bautista St., San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City.
The young Claro grew up to become one of the earliest Filipino molders of fisheries researches in the Philippines.
He married twice and was blessed with six children. He married his first wife, Edna Buck, on March 7, 1929; and his second, Juliana Millan, on December 12, 1952. Their children were Rosalinda, Hector, Victor, Rose Marie, Clarence and Anton.

He is the first cousin of Guillermo Tolentino, the sculptor who made the Oblation of U.P.

He finished his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of the Philippines in 1927.
After which, he worked as Assistant at the Division of Fisheries, Bureau of Science most probably just after his graduation in 1927. The following year, he was promoted as Asst. Ichthyologist in the same office.
After several years of working from the different offices of the Bureau of Science and from the Bureau of Fisheries, he became the Chief of the Division of Fisheries Technology, 1947-1957. He also served as contributing editor to the Philippine Journal of Fisheries.

He was a member of several societies and organizations like the Philippine Scientific Society; National Research Council of the Philippines; Fisheries Society of the Philippines; Zoological Society of India; The Academy of Zoology, Agra, India; Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science,; Phi Sigma fraternity (Alpha Chi chapter, U.P. biological Society).

It was during these periods that Mr. Martin conducted a lot of studies on fisheries and published his findings in various publications more particularly in the Philippine Journal of Science.

His scientific studies on fisheries will show us the extent of his contributions to the early researches on Philippine fisheries. He did not only work on fisheries resources, but he also focused his attention on the possibility of industrializing fisheries in the country. He also wrote on the post-harvest aspect of Philippine fisheries. The concept of coastal resources management was not in his consciousness then, but in his welcome remarks at the Dagat-Dagatan Fishery Experimental Station, Malabon, Rizal on December 8, 1959, he sounded a warning to the legistrators "that in the program of industrialization the compensatory bad effect of industrial plants through pollution of the water by the effluents from them should not be overlooked."
So far, this writer has captured 27 published articles and pamphlets, both in popular and in scientific journals like the Philippine Journal of Science.

Here is the complete list.

Martin, Claro and Heraclio R. Montalban. 1934. Philippine Sillaginidae, Philippine Journal of Science 55(3):221-229.
Martin, Claro and Heraclio R. Montalban. 1935. Philippine Parapercidae. Philippine Journal of Science 56(2):215-227.
Adams, Wallace, Heraclio R. Montalban and Claro Martin. 1932. Cultivation of bangos in the Philippines.Philippine Journal of Sciences 47(1): 1-38
Martin, Claro . 1934. Methods of smoking fish around Manila. Philippine Journal of Science 55(1):79-89.
Martin, Claro. 1935. The catching of alamang (Palaemonetes sp.) in Bulacan, Bulacan with special reference to the destructive method. National Research Council of the Philippines. Bulletin No. 9, p. 13 (abstract)
Roxas, Hilario A. and Claro Martin. 1937. A checklist of Philippine fishes. Manila, Bureau of Printing. 314p. (Philippine commonwealth). Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce. Technical bulletin 6.
Martin, Claro 1938. Two new Philippine fishes. Philippine Journal of Science 66(3):387-389.
Martin, Claro. 1938. The flying fish industry of the northwestern and southwestern coast of Cebu. Philippine Journal of Science 67(2):177-184.
Martin, Claro.1938. Tuna fisheries and long line fishing in Davao Gulf, Philippines. Philippine Journal of Science 67(2):189-198.
Martin, Claro and H. R. Montalban. 1938. Philippine Parapereidae. Phil. J. Sci 67:189.
Martin, Claro. 1938. The fisheries of the province of Oriental Negros, Cebu, and Bohol. National Research Council of the Philippines. Bulletin no. 19, pp. 121-122 (abstract).
Martin, Claro. 1939. Cultivation of bangos in the Philippines. Philippine Commonwealth. Dept. of Agriculture and Comerce. Popular Bulletin no. 12.
Martin, Claro. 1939. Two rre Philippine fishes. Philippine Journal of Science 66:387-389.
Martin, Claro. 1946. Bangos culture. 8p. (Philippines Republic. Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce. Food Production Series. Leaflet No. 6.
Martin, Claro. 1946. Preparation of fish sauce (patis). 4p. Philippines Republic. Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce. Food Production Series. Leaflet no. 9.
Martin, Claro. 1949. Notes on experimental canning of fish at fish preservation station in Estancia, Iloilo Province. Manila, Bureau of Printing. 15p. (Philippines. Republic. Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Popular Bulletin no. 28. Also in Fisheries Gazette, May 1960, v. 5, no. 5, p. 2-12.
Martin, Claro and Herbert Warfel. 1951. Outlook for industrialization of Philippine fisheries. Philippine Journal of Fisheries 1(1):99-103; Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council Proceedings, 2nd Meeting, 1950, Sections II and III, p. 153. (abstract)
Villadolid, Deogracias V., Heraclio R. Montalban and Claro Martin. 1948. Role of fresh-water fisheries and fish farms in increased pond production. Farming and Cooperatives (11):12-31.
Martin, Claro. 1952-1953.Commercial miscellaneous aquatic products and their uses. Bulletin of the Fisheries Society of the Philippines 3-4:35-40.
Martin, Claro. 1952-53. Outstanding research on fish and fisheries in the Philippines. Bulletin of the Fisheries Society of the Philippines 3-4:101-109; Philippine fisheries Yearbook, 1953, pp. 66-68,247, 282.
Martin, Claro and Augusto D. Manalo. January 11, 1953. Methods of preservation and processing of fish. Philippine Herald Agricultural Weekly 1(15): 8.
Martin, Claro. March 1954. The fisheries of the Capiz-Masbate sector of the Visayan sea. Agricultural and Industrial Life 16(3);50-51.
Martin, Claro and Jose .I.Sulit. 1955. Studies on the preparation of salted fish paste (bagoong) from dried dilis (Stolephorus indicus). Philippine Journal of fisheries, 3(1):39-45.; Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council Proceedings, 4th Meeting, 1952, Section II, p. 258 (abstract); Fisheries Gazette, Sept. 1960, vol. 4, no. 9, p. 26-27; Nutrition News, Oct-Dec 1957, vol. 9, no. 4, p. 19-20.
Martin, Claro. 1959. Preliminary results of the marine fishery biological research program. Manila, Agricultural Information Division, Dept. of agriculture and Natural Resources. 15p. (Technical bulletin no. 26)
Martin, Claro and Inocencio Ronquillo. 1960. Marine fisheries biology research. National Research Council of the Philippines Bulletin No 45, pp. 213-214.
Martin, Claro and Priscilla Cases-Borja. 1962. The status of marine fisheries biological research programme. Philippine fisheries Yearbook, 15th anniversary issue, pp. 36-44.
Martin, Claro, Leticia Brillo, Constancio N. Legaspi, Teodoro G. Megia, Gregorio T. Velasquez and Deogracias V. Villadolid. 1962. Marine research and training in the Philippines. Science Review 3(3):5-11, 20.

Mr. Martin was a well-travelled man. Almost every year, he was sent to local and international meetings/conferences where he presented the Philippine fisheries situations.

Below is the list of meetings/conferences he attended:

1948—Sub-Area Committee Meeting under the auspices of FAO Buitenzorg, Java.
1949—Inaugural Session of the Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, Singapore
1950—Second session, Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, Cronulla, N.S.W., Australia
1952--Fourth Session, Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, Quezon City
1953--Eight Pacific Congress
1954--Pacific Regional Seminar on "Teaching About U.N. and Education for International Understanding, Quezon City
1955--Sixth Session, Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, Tokyo.
1955—UNESCO-Sponsored Meeting of Representatives of Marine Sciences Institutes of the Indo-Pacific region, Tokyo
1957—Seventh Session, Indo-Pacific Fisheries Council, Bandung, Indonesia
1958—United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, Geneva (Adviser on Fisheries to the Philippine Delegation)
1959—UNESCO-Sponsored Regional Conference of Specialists on Marine Sciences, Saigon, South Vietnam
1959—Tenth Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome
1961—Ninth Session, Indo-Pacific Fisheries council, Karachi, Pakistan
1962—UNESCO-sponsored Regional Meeting of Representatives of Marine Sciences Institution in East and Southeast Asia, Manila (Chairman of Philippine Delegation)

For his exemplary works, he received two awards: In 1931, he was sent by the Philippine government as a pensionado for a study tour in the United States, and the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources conferred him a Merit Award on Fishery Technology (no date given).

Hopefully, what Mr. Martin had worked for had given inspirations to our contemporary fisheries scientists.


Blanco, G. J. and H. R. Montalban. 1951. A bibliography of Philippine fishes and fisheries. Philippine Journal of Fisheries 1(2):115-138 (Republished edition, 1977)
His Curriculum Vitae. No date. Typescript.