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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dr. Rodolfo B. Baldevarona: The Underdog Filipino Fisheries Scientist

Dr. Rodolfo B. Baldevarona:

The Underdog Filipino Fisheries Scientist

By

Melchor F. Cichon
December 8, 2007
updated: August 13, 2009

Note: Dr. Baldevarona died on September 1, 2009, Philippine time.


One of the most interesting figures in the University of the Philippines Visayas is Dr. Rodolfo B. Baldevarona.

Each time he opens his mouth, many people make different faces.

Some are happy, but the majority of his colleagues are not. In the shuttle bus, everybody is familiar with his laughter.

And his laughter is contagious. To some.

What makes him interesting?

"I have a foresight, but some people do not agree with my ideas. And since I am alone, my suggestions are always turned down by the majority rule. No problem."

Not only foresight, but he has a lot of bright ideas if only one has the ear to listen to him.

There were several occasions where he had clashed with his colleagues on university policies but this aspect of his life requires a longer paper.

And if you happen to be one of his students, better attend regularly to his class because you will surely miss a lot of insights that will greatly benefit your professional career, particularly in fish physiology for he is one of the few Filipino experts on the subject in the Philippines today.

I will focus on his life as a fisheries scientist.

Dr. Baldevarona has been a faculty member of the University of the Philippines Visayas since 1972. Presently, he is Professor 3.

Born from poor parents, Prof. Baldevarona graduated Valedictorian at Culasi Elementary School, Culasi, Ajuy, Iloilo,from 1952 to 1958, and graduated First Honors and Corp Commander in 1965 at Victorino Salcedo High School at Sara, Iloilo.
He received three other awards: Historian of the year; Physicist of the Year; and, Most Military-Minded graduate.

From then he took up B.S. Engineering in 1965-67, but shifted to BS Education, majoring in Mathematics-Chemistry with Physics at UP College Iloilo, Iloilo City in 1969, and became the Corp Commander of UP Vanguard, Inc., UP College Iloilo (UPCI), in Iloilo City (now the University of the Philippines in the Visayas.

After graduation from college, he taught at Luca Barrio High School in 1969-70, then he transferred to Victorino Salcedo High School, his alma mater, in 1970. He stayed there until 1972 when he was hired as an Instructor at UP College Iloilo. After 7 years, he was promoted to Instructor IV.

While teaching at University of the Philippines College Iloilo (UPCI), now the UP Visayas, he took up units in Master in Public Administration and in Master in Arts Teaching majoring in physics. But then he switched to fisheries when there was a move to create the UPV with the College of Fisheries as its flagship college.

After his master’s degree in fisheries, he was appointed as Assistant College Secretary of the UPV College of Fisheries.

His other administrative works include the following: Philippine Army Active Duty, Cebu City 1971-72; Head, DYD/CAT, UPCI High School, 1974-75; Commandant, CAT I, UPCI High School, 1979-80; Asst. College Secretary UP in the Visayas-College of Fisheries Program Iloilo (UPV-CFPI) 1981-1983; Technical Assistant UPV, Food System Development Program 1988-89; OIC UPV Office of research Coordination 1988-89; director, UPV ORC 1989-92; OIC Vice- chancellor for Administration, 9/1/89-12/31/89; OIC UPV security Force 9/1/89-04/30/90 and Station Head, BAC, Leganes, 1/1/99-12/31/99.

When his field of study switched to fisheries, he has no other recourse but to focus on this discipline, more particularly on mangrove reforestation.

And his knowledge on chemistry and physics came as a big help as fisheries deals much on these two sciences. Both chemistry and physics can be applied in marine sciences.

In 1987, he received his PhD degree from the University of South Carolina, USA.

Aside from his World-Bank Scholarship grant for his doctorate degree at the University of South Carolina, he received other awards.

While studying at Ajuy High School, he received the Ajuy Municipal Council Scholarship. When he entered UP College Iloilo in 1965, he was an entrance scholar. In his second year, he was a UP Glee Club Scholar from 1966 to 1969. In 1974, he received the UP Local Faculty Fellowship Grant for his MS in Fisheries degree at the College of Fisheries, UP in the Visayas.

Dr. Baldevarona is so blessed that he received more awards than some of his colleagues. From 1973 to 2008, he received eleven (11) prestigious awards.

Some of these are the following:

In 1973, he was awarded the S.S. Soreach Modern Mathematics Award. In 1991, he was an Outstanding Technology Awardee for his reforestation and management of mangrove swamp in Taklong Island, Guimaras.

His other awards include the Roberto S. Benedicto Diamond Jubilee Professional Chair award.

In 2007, he received two international publication awards from the University of the Philippines System for his two journal articles on mud crab, Scylla serrata.

In 2005, he ran for chancellor of the University of the Philippines Visayas together with Dr. Glenn Aguilar, his fellow Ilonggo and a colleague at the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, UPV.

Unfortunately, he was not chosen.

Dr. Aguilar was selected as the new UPV Chancellor, vice Dr. Ida Siason.

Dr. Baldevarona honorably accepted his defeat.

As a scientists, Dr. Baldevarona has conducted several projects from 1978 to 1999.

This include the following:

1978-1980. Development of management procedures to improve fish production in ponds affected by acid-sulphate soils. IV. Effects of different fertilizer combinations.

1987-1990. Reforeastation and management of mangrove swamp in Taklong Island, Guimaras.

1989-1991. Transplantation and culture en masse of green mussel, Perna viridis, from a stable community to Taklong Ilsand, Guimaras.

1992-1993. Coral reef management in Taklong Island, Guimaras: age and recruitment studies of selected marine fisheries.

1995-1998. Textbook in coastal resource management, "Pangangalaga ng mga Kabuhayan sa Tabing Dagat".

1999-2000. Socio-economic impact of the UPV-BAC on the neighboring communities at the immediate vicinity of the Center.

From these projects and his other researches, Dr. Baldevarona was able to produce some publications:

Baldevarona, RB. 1979. Basic flow of phosphorus in brackishwater fishponds. MS thesis. Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the University of the Philippines System in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Fisheries (major in aquaculture). 78 leaves.

Baldevarona, R,B. 1983. Quantitative methods of applying organic matter in fishponds. Danyag, UP in the Visayas 2(1):102-109.

Baldevarona, RB. 1987. Effects of feeding and stocking density on growth and survival of spot, Leiostomius xanthurus Lacepede. PhD. Dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Marine Science Program, University of South Carolina. 117 leaves.

Baldevarona, RB and JM Dean. 1988. Abundance estimate and population structure of spot, Leiostomus xanthurus Lacepede. Kinaalam, UP in the Visayas 2(1):50-62.

Secor, D., JM Dean and RB Baldevarona. 1989. Comparison of otolith and somatic growth in larval and juvenile fishes based on otolith length/fish length relationship. Rapp.p.v.Reun. Cons. Int. Explor. Mer. 191:431-438

Baldevarona, RB. 1990. Chemistry in aquaculture. I. Soil quality management. Kinaalam, UP in the Visayas 3(1):139-146.

Baldevarona, RB and CG Rendon. 1991. Toxic effects of selected plants for pest and predators control in prawn ponds. Philippine Technology Journal 16(4):3-24.

Baldevarona, RB. 1992. The role of mangrove in the Philippine coastal environment. Mangrove Productivity. DOST-PCARRD. 127:25-33.

Baldevarona, RB. 1992. Reforestation and management of mangrove swamp in Taklong island, Guimaras. Mangrove Productivity 127:107-114.

Tambasen-Cheong, MV, J. Tan-Fermin, LM Garcia and RB Baldevarona. 1995. Milt-egg ration in artificial fertilization of the Asian freshwater catfish Clarias macrocephalus, injected salmon gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue and domperidone. Aquatic Living Resources 8:303-307.

La Sara, JA Ingles, RB Baldevarona, RO Aguilar, LV Laureta and S Watanabe. 2002. Reproductive biology of mud crab, Scylla serrata in Lawelle Bay, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. JSPS-DGHE International Seminar. Crustacean Fisheries, pp. 88-95.

This year, 2007, is his luckiest year in his career as a scientist.

His two papers were published in two prestigious journals making him a dual recipient of the International Publication Awards 2007 given by the University of the Philippines:

"The Natural Diet of the Mud Crab (Scylla serrata) in Lawele Bay, Southeast Sulawasi, Indonesia, " published in The Philippine Agricultural Scientist 90 (1):6-14, 2007, and the

"Abundance and distribution Patterns of Scylla spp. in the Lawele Bay, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesian," published in Asian Fisheries Science 19:331-347, 2006.

Now, can we still say that he is an underdog fisheries scientist?