Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dr. Dante L. Ambrosio

How often does one's culture reflect in the heavens? How have the stars been witness to the life of those they share their light with?

Dr. Dante L. Ambrosio was one who searched for the answers to such questions by looking into influences of culture in Astronomy here in the Philippines. Dr. Ambrosio was a professor of the Department of History at UP-Diliman. He responded to the appeal of PAGASA to compile local legends about celestial objects for educational purposes during the celebration of the IYA 2009. He presented a study of how the Badjaos in Tawi-tawi used the stars and constellations for daily living. The Badjaos knew the stars by the name Mamahi. They also had different asterisms - informal constellations, named after things they use and see.

It is sad to hear that Dr. Ambrosio passed away last June 4. His work in Ethnoastronomy helps us know how the stars have influenced the different cultures in the Philippines as it has influenced other nations with their myths and legends. I may not have known him personally, but reading about his work in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and having used it in my thesis's review of related literature, has added to my amazement of the night sky.

To Dr. Ambrosio, may you rest in peace and take your place amongst the heavens.

1 comment:

Milolay Lila said...

I never knew there is ethnoastronomy. Nice field of expertise and nice knowing traditional knowledge is being used by modern astronomers to learn about the skies. I guess I have to ask more elders about their concept of the cosmos and stars now.