Angel Alcala: Biography, Facts & Quotes

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson profiles the life and achievements of Angel Alcala, a very well-known and highly respected scientist from the Philippines whose work is known the world over.

Angel Alcala

Dr. Angel Alcala is a Philippine National Scientist known for his work in biology and conservation. Throughout his life, he's done a lot to study, save, and bring attention to nature. In this lesson, we're going to bring a little bit of attention to Dr. Alcala instead by going over his biography, facts about him, and quotes from him.


Dr. Angel Alcala was born on March 1, 1929, to Crescenciana Chua and Porfirio Alcala. He grew up in Caliling, a coastal village in the Philippines.

His dad was a fish farmer who supplied milkfish to the local community. Alcala would help his dad take care of the fish, and he'd also go out with his brothers to catch shrimp, crabs, and other seafood from the local waters. This, and the amazing beauty surrounding him, probably fostered a lifelong passion for biology.

Alcala attended Kabankalan Academy and participated in the debate team and Boys Scouts. He then earned a degree in biology from Silliman University from where he graduated, magna cum laude, in 1951.

Not long after graduation Alcala actually taught at his alma mater. Here, he would go on to meet a professor from Stanford University, Walter C. Brown, with whom he'd start conducting and publishing research.

After this, Alcala went to Stanford University, where he earned a master's degree in biology and then completed his doctoral studies.

Dr. Angel Alcala.
Dr. Angel Alcala


During his lifetime of work in the field of biology, Dr. Angel Alcala:

  • Wrote over 160 scientific papers and books
  • Helped identify 50 new species of animals
  • Ensured conservation programs were put into place in his home country
  • Set up artificial coral reefs
  • Headed the Institute of Marine Biology at the University of the Philippines
  • Was the deputy executive director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development
  • Was the Secretary of Environment and National Resources in the Philippines
  • Served as the Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines
  • Was the President of Silliman University
  • Received the Field Museum Founders' Council Award of Merit and Magsaysay Award for Public Service, among many other awards.

Alcala has six children with his wife Naomi Lusoc, whom he married in 1952.


''People have the tendency to exploit natural resources a lot faster than its capacity to produce. This is not the way to go if we are to ensure sustainable production.''

''Everything in this world is reduced to business. The resources that are used for business will eventually be gone, extinct.''

''There is no excuse. Biodiversity is capable of renewing itself. So what you do is like putting money in the bank, if you use that money, you lose. But if you improve that capital, then you earn more interest. If you take it away, then the production stops.''

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