A HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE PHILIPPINES* by Olivia C. Caoili** Introduction The need to develop a country’s science and technology has generally been recognized as one of the imperatives of socioeconomic progress in the contemporary world. This has become a widespread concern of governments especially since the post world war II years. (1) Among Third World countries, an important dimension of this concern is the problem of dependence in science and technology as this is closely tied up with the integrity of their political sovereignty and economic self-reliance.
There exists a continuing imbalance between scientific and technological development among contemporary states with 98 per cent of all research and development facilities located in developed countries and almost wholly concerned with the latter’s problems. (2) Dependence or autonomy in science and technology has been a salient issue in conferences sponsored by the United Nations. (3) _______________________ Paper prepared for the University of the Philippines Science Research Foundation in connection with its project on “Analysis of Conditions for National Scientific and Technological Self-Reliance: The Philippine Situation,” June 1986. **Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. (1) For a brief summary of the evolution of government oncern for the development of science and technology, see Olivia C. Caoili, Dimensions of Science Policy and National Development: The Philippine Experience, Monograph Series No. 1 (College, Laguna: Center for Policy and Development Studies, University of the Philippines at Los Banos, October 1982), pp. 4-34. (2) Guy B. Gresford and Bertrand H. Chatel, “Science and Technology in the United Nations,” World Development, Vol. II No. 1 (January 1974), p. 44. 3) See, for example, UNESCO, Science and Technology in Asian Development: Conference and Application of Science and Technology to the Development of Asia, New Delhi, August 1968 (Paris: UNESCO, 1970); United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development, Vienna, Austria, 1979, in Nature, Vol. 280 (16 August 1979), pp. 525-532. It is within the above context that this paper attempts to examine the history of science and technology in the Philippines.
Rather than focusing simply on a straight chronology of events, it seeks to interpret and analyze the interdependent effects of geography, colonial trade, economic and educational policies and socio-cultural factors in shaping the evolution of present Philippine science and technology. As used in this paper, science is concerned with the systematic understanding and explanation of the laws of nature. Scientific activity centers on research, the end result of which is the discovery or production of new knowledge. 4) This new knowledge may or may not have any direct or immediate application. In comparison, technology has often been understood as the “systematic knowledge of the industrial arts. “(5) As this knowledge was implemented by means of techniques, technology has become commonly taken to mean both the knowledge and the means of its utilization, that is, “a body, of knowledge about techniques. “(6) Modern technology also involves systematic research but its outcome is more concrete than science, i. e. the production of “a thing, a chemical, a process, something to be bought and sold. (7) In the past, science and technology developed separately, with the latter being largely a product of trial and error in response to a particular human need. In modern times, however, the progress of science and technology have become intimately linked together. Many scientific discoveries have been facilitated by the development of new technology. New scientific knowledge in turn has often led to further refinement of existing technology or the invention of entirely new ones. ____________________ (4) Jerome R. Ravetz, Scientific knowledge and Its Social Problems (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), chap. ; James B. Conant, Science and Common Sense (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1974), chap. 2; Bernard Dixon, What is Science For? (New York: Harper and Row, 1973), chap. 2: David Knight, The Nature of Science: The History of Science in Western Culture Since 1600 (London: Andre Deutsch, 1976), chaps. 1-2. (5) E. Layton, “Conditions of Technological Development,” in Ina Spiegel-Rosing and Derek de Solla Price, eds. , Science, Technology and Society, A Cross-Disciplinary Perspective (London and Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1977), p. 199. (6) C. Freeman, “Economics of Research and Development. in Rosing and Price, ibid. , p. 235. (7) Derek de Solla Price, Science Since Babylon (Enlarged ed. ; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1975), p. 125. Precolonial Science and Technology There is a very little reliable written information about Philippine society, culture and technology before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521. (8) As such, one has to reconstruct a picture of this past using contemporary archaeological findings, accounts by early traders and foreign travelers, and the narratives about conditions in the archipelago which were written by the first Spanish missionaries and colonial officials.
According to these sources, there were numerous, scattered, thriving, relatively self-sufficient and autonomous communities long before the Spaniards arrived. The early Filipinos had attained a generally simple level of technological development, compared with those of the Chinese and Japanese, but this was sufficient for their needs at that period of time. Archaeological findings indicate that modern men (homo sapiens) from the Asian mainland first came over-land and across narrow channels to live in Palawan and Batangas around 50,000 years ago.
For about 40,000 years, they made simple tools or weapons of stone flakes but eventually developed techniques for sawing, drilling and polishing hard stones. These Stone Age inhabitants, subsequently formed settlements in the major Philippine islands such as Sulu, Mindanao (Zamboanga, and Davao), Negros, Samar, Luzon (Batangas, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan and the Cagayan region). By about 3,000 B. C. , they were producing adzes ornaments of seashells and pottery of various designs.
The manufacture of pottery subsequently became well developed and flourished for about 2,000 years until it came into competition with imported Chinese porcelain. Thus over time pottery making declined. What has survived of this ancient technology is the lowest level, i. e. , the present manufacture of the ordinary cooking pot among several local communities. (9) Gradually, the early Filipinos learned to make metal tools and implements — copper, gold, bronze and, later, iron. The iron age is considered to have lasted from the second or third century B. C. o the tenth century A. D. Excavations of Philippine graves and work sites have yielded iron slags. These suggest ________________ (8) William Henry Scott in Prehipic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History (Rev. ed. ; Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1984), asserts that there are only two authentic medieval Chinese accounts about prehipic Philippines. He points out questionable documents which have been the basis for information about this period and which were popularized in Philippines History textbooks, including theories that have been mistaken for facts.
Cf. Otley Beyer, “The Philippines before Magellan,” and Robert B. Fox, “The Philippines in Prehistoric Times,” in readings in Philippine Prehistory (Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1979), Second Series, Vol. I, pp. 8-34; 35-61. (9) Scott, op. cit. , pp. 20-22. that Filipinos during this period engaged in the actual extraction of iron from ore, smelting and refining. But it appears that the iron industry, like the manufacture of pottery, did not survive the competition with imported cast iron from Sarawak and much later, from China. (10) By the first century A. D. Filipinos were weaving cotton, smelting iron, making pottery and glass ornaments and were also engaged in agriculture. Lowland rice was cultivated in diked fields, and in the interior mountain regions as in the Cordillera, in terraced fields which utilized spring water. (11) Filipinos had also learned to build boats for the coastal trade. By the tenth century A. D. , this had become a highly developed technology. In fact, the early Spanish chroniclers took note of the refined plank-built warship called caracoa. These boats were well suited for inter-island trade raids.
The Spaniards later utilized Filipino expertise in boat-building and seamanship to fight the raiding Dutch, Portuguese, Muslims and the Chinese pirate Limahong as well as to build and man the galleons that sailed to Mexico. (12) By the tenth century A. D. , the inhabitants of Butuan were trading with Champa (Vietnam); those of Ma-i (Mindoro) with China. Chinese records with have now been translated contain a lot of references to the Philippines. These indicate that regular trade relations between the two countries had been well established during the tenth to the fifteenth centuries.
Archaeological findings (in various parts of the archipelago) of Chinese porcelains made during this period support this contention. From the Sung (960-1278) and Yuan (1260-1368) Dynasties, there are descriptions of trade with the Philippines, and from the Sung and Ming (1360-1644) Dynasties there are notices of Filipino missions to Peking. (13) ____________________ (10) Ibid. , pp. 18-19. (11) Ibid. , pp. 136-137; Fox. op. cit. , pp. 49-50. (12) Antonio de Morga, Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, first published in 1609, trans. nd ed. by J. S. Cummins (Cambridge: Published for the Hakluyt Society at Cambridge University Press, 1971), pp. 252-253; Francisco Colin, Labor Evangelica (1663) in Horacio de la Costa, S. J. , Readings in Philippine History (Manila: Bookmark, 1965), p. 9; William Henry Scott, “Boat-Building and Seamanship in Classic Philippine Society,” in Cracks in the Parchment Curtain and Other Essays in Philippine History (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1982), pp. 60-96. (13) See Scott, Prehipic Source Materials… , chap. ; Berthold Laufer, “The Relations of the Chinese to the Philippines,” in Readings in Philippine Prehistory, pp. 142-177; Austin Craig, “A Thousand Years of Philippine History Before the Coming of the Spaniards,” in ibid. , pp. 128-141. The most frequently cited Chinese account in Philippine history textbooks is that of Chao Ju-Kua in 1225. He described the communities and trading activities in the islands of Ma-i (Mindoro) and San-hsu (literally three islands which present-day historians think refer to the group of Palawan and Calamian Islands). 14) The people of Ma-i and San-hsu traded beeswax, cotton, true pearls, tortoise shell, medicinal betelnuts, yu-ta cloth (probably jute or ramie? ) and coconut heart mats for Chinese porcelain, iron pots, lead fishnet sinkers, colored glass beads, iron needles and tin. These were practically the same commodities of trade between the islands and China which the first Spanish colonial officials recorded when they came to the Philippines more than two centuries later. (15) The Filipinos in Mindanao and Sulu traded with Borneo, Malacca and parts of the Malay peninsula.
This trade seems to have antedated those with the Chinese. By the time the Spaniards reached the archipelago, these trade relations had been firmly established such that the alliance between the rulers of manila and Brunei had become strengthened by marriage. It was through these contacts that Hindu-Buddhist, Malay-Sanskrit and Arab-Muslim Cultural and technological influences spread to the Philippines. There have also been some references (by early travelers during the precolonial period) to trade relations between Japan and the Philippines.
To date however, Philippine historians have not found any prehipic references to the Philippines in Japanese literature of the period. (16) __________________ (14) Chao Ju-Kua was a Superintendent of maritime Trade in Ch’uanchow, Fukien province, when he wrote his Chu Fan Chih (An Account of the Various Barbarians) in 1225. Scott, in Prehipic Source Materials… pp. 66-70 has a translation of this account. See also “Chao Ju-Kua’s description of the Philippines in the Thirteenth Century,” in Readings in Philippine Prehistory, pp. 94-196; de la Costa, op. cit. , pp. 9-11. (15) See Antonio Pigafetta, First Voyage Around the World and Maximilianus Transylvanus, De Maluccis Insulis (Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1969), passim; excerpts of accounts by Garcia Escalante de Alvarado in 1548 and Rodrigo de Espinosa in 1564, in de la Costa, op. cit. , pp. 12-13; “Relation of the Voyage to Luzon,” (1570) in The Colonization and Conquest of the Philippines by Spain, Some contemporary Source Documents, 1559-1577 (Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1965), pp. 160-178. 16) Antonio M. Regidor y Jurado and J. Warren T. Mason (in Commercial Progress in the Philippine Islands, published in London, 1905, and reprinted in Manila by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands, 1925, pp. 8-11), claim that the Japanese not only traded and lived in different parts of the Philippines before the Spaniards arrived, they also taught the Filipinos the art of working in metals, weaving, gold-mining, furniture making, duck-raising and fish-breeding for export. Scott (in Prehipic Source Materials… pp. 78-79) doubts the authenticity of these reports as research on Japanese literature during this period has yielded no references to prehipic Philippines. By the time the Spaniards came to colonies the Philippines in 1565, they found many scattered, autonomous village communities (called barangays) all over the archipelago. These were kinship groups or social units rather than political units. They were essentially subsistence economies producing mainly what they needed. These communities exhibited uneven technological development.
Settlements along the coastal areas which had been exposed to foreign trade and cultural contacts such as Manila, Mindoro, Cebu, Southern Mindanao and Sulu, seem to have attained a more sophisticated technology. In 1570, for example, the Spaniards found the town of Mindoro “fortified by a stone wall over fourteen feet thick,” and defended by armed Moros — “bowmen, lancers, and some gunners, linstocks in hand. ” There were a “large number of culverins” all along the hillside of the town. They found Manila similarly defended by a palisade along its front with pieces of artillery at its gate.
The house of Raja Soliman (which was burned down by Spaniards) reportedly contained valuable articles of trade — “money, copper, iron, porcelain, blankets, wax, cotton and wooden vats full of brandy. ” Next to his house was a storehouse which contained: much iron and copper; as well as culverins and cannons which had melted. Some small and large cannon had just begun. There were the clay and wax moulds, the largest of which was for a cannon seventeen feet long, resembling a culverin… (17) These reports indicate that the Filipinos in Manila had learned to make and use modern artillery.
The Spanish colonizers noted that all over the islands, Filipinos were growing rice, vegetables and cotton; raising swine, goats and fowls; making wine, vinegar and salt; weaving cloth and producing beeswax and honey. The Filipinos were also mining gold in such places as Panay, Mindoro and Bicol. They wore colorful clothes, made their own gold jewelry and even filled their teeth with gold. Their houses were made of wood or bamboo and nipa. They had their own system of writing,(18) and weights and measures. Some communities had become renowned for their plank-built boats.
They had no calendar but counted the years by moons and from one harvest to another. In the interior and mountain settlements, many Filipinos were still living as hunters. They gathered forest products to trade with the lowland and coastal settlements. But they also made ______________________ (17) “Relation of the Voyage to Luzon,” (1570), op. cit. , pp. 163, 176-177. (18) Scott, Prehipic Source Materials. pp. 52-62. _ “iron lance-points, daggers and certain small tools used in transplanting. “(19) On the whole, the pre-colonial Filipinos were still highly superstitious.
The Spaniards found no temples or places of worship. Although the Filipinos knew how to read and write in their own system, this was mainly used for messages and letters. They seem not to have developed a written literary tradition at that time. (20) This would have led to a more systematic accumulation and dissemination of knowledge, a condition that is necessary for the development of science and technology. Because of the abundance of natural resources, a benign environment and generally sparse population, there seemed to have been little pressure for invention and innovation among the early Filipinos.
As governor Francisco de Sande observed in 1575, the Filipinos do not understand any kind of work, unless it be to do something actually necessary — such as to build their houses, which are made of stakes after their fashion; to fish, according to their method; to row, and perform the duties of sailors; and to cultivate the land… (21) Developments in Science and Technology During the Spanish Regime The beginnings of modern science and technology in the Philippines can be traced to the Spanish regime.
The Spaniards established schools, hospitals and started scientific research and these had important consequences for the rise of the country’s professions. But the direction and pace of development of science and technology were greatly shaped by the role of the religious orders in the conquest and colonization of the archipelago and by economic and trade adopted by the colonial government. _________________ (19) “Relation of Conquest of the Island of Luzon,” (1572) and “Relation of the Filipino Islands, by Francisco de Sande. (1575), in The Colonization and Conquest of the Philippines by Spain. op. cit. , pp. 190-210; 292-33; “Relation of the Philippine Islands by Miguel de Loarca,” (1575) and “Customs of the Tagalogs by Juan de Plascencia,” in Readings in Philippine Prehistory, pp. 197-220; 221-234. (20) The Code of Kalantiao and Maragtas Code which have been taught by historians as precious prehipic documents were recently shown to have been fabricated much later. See Scott, Prehipic Source Materials, Chaps. 4-5. (21) “Relation of the Filipino Islands, by Francisco de Sande,” (1575), op. it. , p. 313. The interaction of these forces and the resulting socio-economic and political changes must, therefore, be analyzed in presenting a history of science and technology in the Philippines. Spanish conquest and the colonization of the archipelago was greatly facilitated by the adoption of an essentially religious strategy which had earlier been successfully used in Latin America. Known as reduccion, it required the consolidation of the far-flung, scattered barangay communities into fewer, larger and more compact settlements within the hearing distance of the church bells.
This was a necessary response to the initial shortage of Spanish missionaries in the Philippines. This policy was carried out by a combination of religious conversion and military force. The net result of reduccion was the creation of towns and the foundation of the present system of local government. The precolonial ruling class, the datus and their hereditary successors, were adopted by the Spanish colonial government into this new system to serve as the heads of the lowest level of local government; i. e. as cabezas de barangay.
The colonial authorities found the new set-up expeditious for establishing centralized political control over the archipelago — for the imposition and collection of the tribute tax, enforcement of compulsory labor services among the native Filipinos, and implementation of the compulsory sale of local products to the government. The Filipinos naturally resisted reduccion as it took them away from their rice fields, the streams and the forests which were their traditional sources of livelihood and also subjected them to the onerous economic exactions by the colonial government.
Thus the first century of Spanish rule brought about serious socio-economic dislocation and a decline kin agricultural production and traditional crafts in many places. In the region surrounding the walled city of Manila, Filipinos migrated from their barangays to the city in order to serve in the convents and thus avoid the compulsory labor services in the shipyards and forests. (22) Over the centuries, this population movement would greatly contribute to the congestion of Manila and its suburbs.
The religious orders likewise played a major role in the establishment of the colonial educational system in the Philippines. They also influenced the development of technology and promotion of scientific research. hence, these roles must next be examined. —————— (22) On the consequences of reduccion, tributes and forced labor services, see John Leddy Phelan, The Hipization of the Philippines, Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565-1700 (Madison: The Univesity of Wisconsin, 1959), chaps.
IV, VII-IX; Nicholas P. Cushner, S. J. , Spain in the Philippines; from Conquest to Revolution (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University, Institute of Philippine Culture, 1971), chaps. 4-5; de la Costa, op. cit. , pp. 35-37. Various decrees were issued in Spain calling for the establishment of a school system in the colony but these were not effectively carried out. (23) Primary instruction during the Spanish regime was generally taken care of by the missionaries and parish priests in the villages and towns.
Owing to the dearth of qualified teachers, textbooks and other instructional materials, primary instruction was mainly religious education. Higher education was provided by schools set up by the different religious orders in the urban centers, most of them in Manila. For example, the Jesuits founded in Cebu City the Colegio de San Ildefonso (1595) and in Manila, the Colegio de San Ignacio (1595), the Colegio de San Jose (1601) and the Ateneo de Manila (1859). The Dominicans had the Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1640) in Manila. 24) Access to these schools was, however, limited to the elite of the colonial society — the European-born and local Spaniards, the mestizos and a few native Filipinos. Courses leading to the B. A. degree, Bachiller en Artes, were given which by the nineteenth century included science subjects such as physics, chemistry, natural history and mathematics. (25) On the whole, however, higher education was pursued for the priesthood or for clerical positions in the colonial administration.
It was only during the latter part of the nineteenth century that technical/vocational schools were established by the Spaniards. (26) ——————– (23) Henry Frederick Fox, “Primary Education in the Philippines, 1565-1862,” Philippine Studies, Vol. 13 (1965), pp. 207-231, Encarnacion Alzona, A History of Education in the Philippines, 1565-1930 (1st ed. ; Manila: University of the Philippines Press, 1932), pp. 20-23, 46-52; Eliodoro G. Robles, The Philippines in the Nineteenth Century (Quezon City: Malaya Books Inc. 1969), pp. 219-229; J. Mallat, “Educational Institutions and Conditions,” (1846), in Emma H. Blair and James Alexander Robertson, The Philippine Islands 1493-1898 (Cleveland, Ohio: The Arthur H. Clark Co. , 1906), Vol. XLV, pp. 263-278. (24) The Colegio de San Ildefonso grew to become the present University of San Carlos in Cebu City. It was taken over by the Society of the Divine Word in 1933 and continues to be administered by this Order. The Colegio de San Ignacio prospered and was elevated to the rank of a royal and pontifical university in 1621.
It was closed when the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines on 17 May 1768 by a royal decree of Charles III. The Colegio de San Jose was seized by the Crown upon the expulsion of the jesuits and later became the medical and pharmacy departments of the University of Santo Tomas. The Ateneo de manila is now a University run by the Jesuits. Alzona, op. cit. , pp. 24-29; Blair and Robertson, op. cit. , Vol. XLV, pp. 101-140. (25) The B. A. then was more equivalent to the present high school diploma. 26) The first school of arts and trades was founded in the province of Pampanga and a school of agriculture was opened in Manila in 1889. See Alzon, op. cit. , pp. 43-46; 156-164. Throughout the Spanish regime, the royal and pontifical University of Santo Tomas remained as the highest institution of learning. (27) Run by the Dominicans, it was established as a college in 1611 by Fray Miguel de Benavides. it initially granted degrees in theology, philosophy and humanities. (28) During the eighteenth century, the faculty of jurisprudence and canonical law was established.
In 1871, the schools of medicine and pharmacy were opened. From 1871 to 1886, the University of Snato Tomas granted the degree of Licenciado en Medicina to 62 graduates. (29) For the doctorate degree in medicine, at least an additonal year of study was required at the Universidad Central de Madrid in Spain. The study of pharmacy consisted of a preparatory course with subjects in natural history and general chemistry and five years of studies in subjects such as pharmaceutical operations at the school of pharmacy. At the end of this period of the degree of Bachiller en Farmacia was granted.
The degree of licentiate in pharmacy, which was equivalent to a master’s degree, was granted after two years of practice in a pharmacy, one lof which could be taken simultaneously with the academic courses after the second year course of study. In 1876, the university granted the bachelor’s degree in pharmacy to its first six graduates in the school of pharmacy. Among them was Leon Ma. Guerrero, who is usually referred to as the “Father of Philippine Pharmacy” becuase of his extensive work on the medicinal plants of the Philippines and their uses. 30) The total number of graduates in pharmacy during the Spanish period was 164. (31). ——————– (27) There was a Royal University of San Felipe established in Manila by a royal decree of 1707. It remained open until 1726 when its work was taken over by the Jesuit University of San Ignacio which was closed in 1768. See ibid. , p. 31. (28) The following brief history of the University of Sto. Tomas is based on an account written by Fray E. Arias, reproduced in United States Bureau of the Census, Census of the Philippine Islands, 1903, Vol.
III (Washington, D. C. : Government Printing Office, 1905), pp. 621-631; Blair and Robertson, op. cit. , Vol. XLV, pp. 141-169. (29) Arias, op. cit. , p. 631. (30) His works included Medicinal Plants of the Philippine Islands, published in 1903 and Medicinal Uses of Philippine Plants, published in 1921. See Miguel Ma. Valera, S. J. et al. , Scientists in the Philippines (Bicutan, Taguig, Rizal: National Science Development Board, 1974), pp. 95-114. (31) Milagros G. Nino, “Pharmaceutical Education in the Philippines,” UNITAS, Vol. 3 (JUNE 1970), p. 73. There were no schools offering engineering at that time. The few who studied engineering had to go to Europe. There was a Nautical School created on 1 January 1820 which offered a four-year course of study (for the profession of pilot of merchant marine) that included subjects as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, physics, hydrography, meteorology, navigation and pilotage. (32) A School of Commercial Accounting and a School of French and English Languages were established in 1839. (33)
In 1887, the Manila School of Agriculture was created by royal decree but it was able to open only in July 1889. The School was designed to provide theoretical and practical education of skilled farmers and overseers and to promote agricultural development in the Philippines by means of observation, experiment and investigation. Agricultural stations were also established in Isabela, Ilocos, Albay, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte and parts of Mindanao. The professors in the School were agricultural engineers. The School was financed by the government but it appears that its direction was also left to the priests.
The certificates of completion of the course were awarded by the university of Santo Tomas or the Ateneo Municipal. It seems that the School was not successful as Filipinos did not show much inclination for industrial pursuits. (34) In 1863, the colonial authorities issued a royal decree designed to reform the existing educational system in the country. It provided for the establishment of a system of elementary, secondary and collegiate schools, teacher-training schools, and called for government supervision of these schools.
The full implementation of this decree, however, was interrupted by the coming of the Americans in 1898. Higher education during the Spanish regime was generally viewed with suspicion and feared by the colonial authorities as encouraging conspiracy and rebellion among the native Filipinos. For this reason, only the more daring and persevering students were able to undertake advantaged studies. The attitude of the Spanish friars towards the study of the sciences and medicine was even more discouraging. As one Rector of he Univesity of Santo Tomas in the 1960s said: “Medicine and the natural sciences are ——————- (32) Blair and Robertson, op. cit. , Vol. XLV, pp. 241-243. (33) Census of the Philippine Islands, 1903, op. cit. , pp. 613-615. (34) “School of Agriculture,” in Blair and Robertson, op. cit. , Vol. XLV, pp. 315-318. The required course of study included subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, natural history, agriculture, topography, linear and topography drawing, etc. as well as practical work. materialistic and impious studies. (35) It was not surprising, therefore, that few Filipinos ventured to study these disciplines. Those who did were poorly trained when compared with those who had gone to European universities. Science courses at the University of Santo Tomas were taught by the lecture/recitation method. Laboratory equipment was limited and only displayed for visitors to see. There was little or no training in scientific research. (36) Sir John Bowring, the British Governor of Hongkong who made an official visit to the Philippines in the 1850s wrote:
Public instruction is in an unsatisfactory state in the Philippines–the provisions are little changed from those of the monkish ages. In the University of Santo Tomas… no attention is given to the natural sciences… nor have any of the educational reforms which have penetrated most of the colleges of Europe and America found their way to the Philippines. (37) In spite of the small number of Filipino graduates from the UST in medicine and the sciences they still faced the problem of unemployment.
This was because the colonial government preferred to appoint Spanish and other European-trained professionals to ——————— (35) Quoted in James A. Le Roy, Philippine Life in Town and Country (New York and London: G. P. Butnam’s Sons, 1905) p. 206. (36) This can be seen from a description of a physics class at the University of Santo Tomas by Jose Rizal in a chapter of his second novel, El Filibusterismo (The Subversive) written in Europe in 1891. At the start of the American regime, a German physician of Manila submitted a report to the authorities on the conditions at UST’s medical college.
The report mentions, among others, its lack of library facilities, the use of outdated textbooks (some published in 1845), that no female cadaver had ever been dissected and the anatomy course was a “farce”, that most graduates “never had attended even one case of confinement or seen a case of laparotomy” and that bacteriology had been introduced only since the American occupation and “was still taught without microscopes! ” See Le Roy, op. cit. , pp. 205-206. (37) Sir John Bowring, A Visit to the Philippine Islands (London: Smith & Elder Co. 1858), p. 194. See also Robert MacMicking, Recollections of Manila and the Philippines during 1848, 1849, and 1850, ed. and annotated by Morton J. Netzorg (Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1967, reprint of 1851 book published in London by Richard Bentley), pp. 31-32. available positions in the archipelago. (38) Many of these graduates later joined the revolutionary movement against Spain. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the conseque