Angel Alcala was born on the first of March in 1929. He and his family were from Cauayan, Negros Occidental. His mother Crescenciana Chua and his father Porfirio Alcala were residing in Caliling, a coastal village in Negros Occidental.
Because of his exposure to a coastal setup, it is no wonder where Angel Alacala’s awareness and love for marine life came from. While they lived in a humble and rural setup, their simple living had always been supported by the bounty of the sea.
His early years in school had been indicative of his thirst for knowledge and desire to excel. He finished his high school years in Kabankalan Academy where he was one of the scholars.
He had also been an active member of the academy’s debate team, and had taken part in their Boy Scout troop as well as other extra-curricular activities. It was in 1948 when Angel Alcala took his pre-medicine course.
He had his courses which made him earn his undergraduate degree in Silliman University, the oldest American building and institution in the Philippines, and the oldest university in Asia that was founded by the Americans.
Because of his promising potential and evident intelligence, he was later on accepted to be a student of the University of the Philippines’s College of Medicine. His 30 years of experience in the field wasn’t just a long 3-decade period in his life.
During his time, he had made major contributions to marine biology research efforts in the Philippines and had authored over 160 scientific papers as well as books on the subjects he was involved in. Angel Alcala was the first Filipino scientist to have come up with several comprehensive studies concerning the Philippine reptiles and amphibians. He had also made minor contributions for mammals and aves.
He served the Philippine government for nine years (1990-1999), initial as Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development under the Department of Science and Technology, afterward as Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and later on as first Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education during the Ramos administration.
He was Professor of Biology at Silliman University and served as its president for two years prior to taking up the final two government positions. He is at present University Research Professor at Silliman University.
He obtained his BS in Biology magna cum laude from the Silliman University in 1951 and went on to Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA to finish an MA (1960) and a PhD (1966) in Biological Sciences. He also established honorary doctorates from Xavier University and University of Southeastern Philippines.
He served as advisor on marine and aquatic projects supported by the UNEP, UNDP, World Bank GEF, and the UP MSI. Dr. Alcala also dynamically participated in the Australian-ASEAN marine project in mid-1980s – early 1990s.
Angel Alcala is a renowned Filipino Biologist with more than thirty years has more than thirty years of experience in tropical marine resource conversational. He studied at Siliman University. He then went to Stanford University for his doctorate degree.
He is considered a world class authority in biogeography and ecology of reptiles and amphibian. He is the Director of the Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management.