Born on June 23, 1934, National Scientist Vergara obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of the Philippines, his master's degree from University of Hawaii, and his doctoral degree from the University of Chicago majoring in Plant Sciences. He was elected as Academician on 1987.
He worked full time on rice from 1961 to 1995. He was the Director for Administration before his early retirement from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). He is still involved with rice but has shifted his concentration in ornamental plants and the expansion of the Philippine Science Heritage Center or Salinlahi.
Dr. Vergara trust that his utmost contributions to science are his studies on rice, his plentiful graduate students, his book on Farmer's Primer on Growing Rice, which has been translated into more than 40 languages, and his improvement of the Riceworld Museum and at the present the Philippine Science Heritage Center.
Dr. Vergara was bestow the rank and title of a National Scientist on 2001; the highest honor that can be granted to a man of science.