Unknown to to the public at large, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) boasts the oldest zoological collection in the Philippines, with over 100,000 specimens collected and curated in the 19th century by Fr. Castro de Elera.
Since Fr. de Elera's collections are the oldest in the country when it comes to zoology, his work may be considered as a "national biological treasure" that is worth studying and conserving. [Unfortunately] he has not been given as much importance as Fr. Manuel Blanco, who was credited for his work on Philippine plants during the 18th century.
In this day and age where most scientific researches on taxonomy and systematics are not as charismatic as molecular biology and biotechnology, we want to emphasize the importance and relevance of scientific collections to current efforts to study biodiversity. Museum zoology specimens are a treasure trove of scientific information.
Macy Añonuevo earned her MS Marine Science degree from the University of the Philippines. She is a published science and travel writer and was a finalist in the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards under the Best Photography for Responsible Tourism category. Her writings and photographs may be found at www.theislandergirl.com.