July 19, 2013

Filipino Inventors and Their Inventions

I decided to write this page after a bad research experience. A nephew of mine who is currently in fourth grade came to me one time and asked if I can help him out with his homework which was supposed to be submitted the next day. The assignment was about famous Filipino inventors. The teacher asked his class to make a list of Pinoy inventors and their contributions to the world. It sounded like an easy enough assignment given the ton of information you can find on the web.

Well, to cut the story, it wasn't easy at all. There wasn't much information in the internet about these innovative Filipinos. Very minimal records exist about their works and contributions.

I spent hours doing research but all I came up with was a very short list of inventors. I said to myself ?There's gotta be more than these. Where are all the names whom we've studied way back in elementary and high school.?

That's why I've decided to compile this list to help other people out there looking for information about them. This list is a work-in-progress so it is not complete. You can help us add more to it by leaving a comment if you believe there is a name you want us to add. Please use the comments section at the end of the article. Thank you.

Angel Alcala: artificial coral reefs:
If you are one who is passionate about environmental conservation, then Alcala is one you should look up to. A biologist and a conservationist, Alcala is known for inventing artificial coral reefs. These artificial coral reefs are now used all over Southeast Asia and around the world especially in fisheries.

Alcala was born and raised in Negros Occidental in a town called Cauayan. His father was a fish farmer and it was from him that the young Alcala developed an interest in marine life and ecology. He studied at the Silliman University in Dumaguete where he graduated magna cum laude. He took up a course in Biology. In 1992, he was given the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service.

Felix Maramba: power generator fueled by coconut oil:
Maramba is a leading expert in the utilization of coconut oil as an alternative fuel. To prove his point, he built a power generator that was ran by coconut oil. He is an advocate of bio fuel. With the world's dwindling and irreplaceable energy sources, Maramba pushed for natural alternatives like methane gas.

Maramba earned his Bachelor's degree in Agriculture at the University of the Philippines. He then pursued a Master's degree in Chemistry at the University of Sydney in Australia where he graduated in 1952. Upon returning, he went to teach in various universities and colleges in the country. He passed away on December 9, 2010 at the age of 85.

Robert Del Rosario: karaoke:
Contrary to popular belief, the now ubiquitous karaoke didn't have its origins in Japan. It was in fact developed by Robert Del Rosario in the Philippines. Del Rosario is one of the most prolific inventors in the country. He has patented over twenty inventions. Of course, his most popular work is the karaoke.

Del Rosario called his invention "Sing along with the system".

It was only when the thing got popular in Japan that the term "karaoke" was adopted for it. Other innovative creations by Del Rosario include the voice color tape, the piano tuner's guide, the Trebel Voice Color Code and the piano keyboard stressing device. As you can notice, most of Del Rosario's works involve music and sounds.
Francisco Quisumbing: Quink ink:
Do you use pens of the Parker brand? Then you should be thankful to Francisco Quisumbing, the chemist who created what is now popularly known as the Quink ink. He developed the quick drying ink for the Parker Pen Company.

Quisumbing once tried to start his own ink company just after the end of World War II. He was however unsuccessful in his endeavor citing political and war reasons. He studied both in the country (UP) and abroad (University of Chicago).

Quisumbing is also known for his extensive research and study of orchids. A well-known work of his is "Medicinal Plants in the Philippines", a book he published in 1951.

Fe Del Mundo: incubator made out of bamboo:
Del Mundo designed an incubator that is made from bamboo materials. She came up with the idea when she learned that so many rural communities in the nation don't have access to an incubator because they can't be reached by electrical power. Her work in pediatrics spanned over 80 decades. She passed away in August of 2011 at the age of 99. She was just a year away from becoming a centenarian.

Del Mundo is the recipient of several awards and citations. These include the National Scientist of the Philippines which then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos conferred to her in 1980, the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service and the Order of Lakandula which was awarded to her in 2010 by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Benjamin Almeda Sr.: food processing machines:
Benjamin Almeda Sr. is a very prolific inventor that he is often referred to as the Father of Filipino inventors. He is most well-known for the food processing machines that he designed, created and manufactured. These include meat grinders, rice grinders, and coconut graters. Many of these food-processing devices are now used all over the country and across the world.

In 1954, Almeda started his own company to make his creations. He named his company Almeda Cottage Industry which was later changed to Almedah Food Machineries Inc.

Controversial (Questionable) Pinoy Inventors:
Agapito Flores is often credited for inventing the fluorescent lamp and some claim that the term "fluorescent" was derived from his name Flores. However, there are those who contest the claim. The Wikipedia page for the fluorescent lamp doesn't mention Flores' name. It's still unclear what the circumstances are surrounding the claims of Flores' supporters. However, the fact remains that a physicist named Alexandre Becquerel investigated the fluorescence phenomena even before Flores was born.

Pedro Flores (not related to Agapito Flores), is also often credited for inventing the popular toy yo-yo. No, he didn't. The yo-yo dated back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks played with it. However, it was Flores who first mass-produced the thing and set off an international craze for the toy.

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