A Monthly Newsletter on Culture and Science of the National Museum of the Philippines

ISSN 0117-4584

Vol. 1 No. 1 January, 1995

A Whale at the National Museum

On October 19, 1994, the Zooarchaelogy Section of the Archaeology Division received a report from Mr. Porferio de Guzman of barangay Buangan, Torrijos, Marinduque regarding a sperm whale which was stripped of its flesh, cleaned and kept by Mr. Luciano Matienzo. It was offered for sale to the National Museum for an astounding sum of P150,000.00.

The complete set of the whale skeleton measures 43.5 ft. long. The specimen belongs to a male sperm whale, a highly specially toothed whale of the species Physeter macrocephalus. This prompted the NM Director Gabriel S. Casal and Mr. Wilfredo Ronquillo Chief of the Archaeology Division, to purchase the whale skeleton subject to the availability of funds, verification and information of the whale skeleton and reasonableness of the price.

Finally, on November 22, 1994 a group of researchers from the Archaeology Division travelled to Marinduque to verify the whale skeletons and the negotiate for the price of the osteological material. It was agreed upon that the purchase of the whale skeleton would be P50,000.00 in the presence of other public officials.

The whale skeleton is now housed in the NM Building awaiting proper storage and funding for the exhibition of this rare osteological material.

  • Regional Museums:
  • A Toast to the Pillars of the Regional Museum Branches
  • The Angono Petroglyphs
  • Three Regional Museums Open

    The Angono Petroglyphs

    A National Cultural Treasure in a Modern Subdivision

    The Angono Petroglyphs, the oldest rock art of the country, found in Rizal, is undergoing development together with the Antipolo Properties, Inc., the owner of the Village East Executive Homes II and the East Gold Course.

    The inclusion of the Angono petroglyphs site was the result of the Memorandum of Agreement signed on December 8, 1994 with Mr. Alexander G. Asuncion, API President and the National Museum Director, Fr. Gabriel S. Casal.

    The API also considered donating about 5,000 square meters of its property for the National Museum use and expansion or development.

    At present a budget of .5 million pesos from the capital outlay was released for the construction of a mini-museum gallery, office and other facilities which will commence at the end of 1995.

    Dayawan Torogan Museum

    Marawi City, Lanao del Sur

    The National Museum opens a new branch at the Dayawan Torogan House in Marawi City to showcase Maranao culture. Reconstructed with funds from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Torogan House ins in the process of being declared a National Cultural Treasure by a panel of experts created by Director Gabriel S. Casal, composed of Dr. Jesus T. Peralta, Dr. Evelyn Marohombsar and Dr. Abdullah T. Madale. At the same period, a Tripartite Agreement was signed between the National Museum, the Mindanao State University and the Dayawan Torogan Foundation, Inc. to jointly undertake the activities for the achievement of the goals and objectives of the Dayawan Torogan Museum. The designated Honorary Curator, Dr. Abdullah Madale, president of the Dayawan Torogan Foundation, Inc. temporarily takes charge in coordinating with the NM through ASBMD while the appointment of regular museum personnel is still under process. The museum is expected to be formally opened to the publich soon. Ederic Miano, Museum Researchedr I of the Anthropology Division, has temporarily been assigned at the Torogan.

    Jolo Museum Branch

    The province of Sulu under the leadership of Governor Habib Tupay T. Loong, has donated the Jolo Provincial Museum and Library to the National Museum. The donation worked out by Mrs. Oswalda Cabel, the cultural patroness of Jolo, included the land, building, collections and all assets. The new museum branch is being activated this year with the approval of the 1995 budget. Initially the two staff members in the museum will be absorbed by the National Museum to man the branch. Meantime, Mrs. Cabel unselfishly serves as the Honorary Curator.

    Construction work, following a survey by the Restoration and Engineering Divison, begins early this year to provide the branch with additional staffing, display facilities and utilities. Late in 1994 Zoological and Zooarchaelogical work were initiated, as well as a preliminary inventory of the collections conducted by the Anthropology Division. The new branch will focus on the rich and sophisticated culture of the Tausug.

    Lubuagan Museum

    Lubuagan, Kalinga, Apayao

    A lot and building which were formerly used as a sub-provincial capitol building of the sub-province of Kalinga-Apayao in the municipality of Lubuagan was donated by the province of Kalinga- Apayao to the National Museum on December 2, 1994 to house the rich and unique cultural heritage of the province. With the approval of its budget, construction for the repair of the building and the display facilities will commence by the next quarter.

    FORT SAN PEDRO: Cradle of Antiquity

    Local and foreign tourists oftentimes remember this city for its invigorating night life and and "beautiful ladies" with all their charms and melodious intonations. Little did they know that the city has more priceless treasures to offer than the so-called one-night stand of extravagance.

    Cruising the heart of the city, one will notice the sporadic presence of old churches lining the streets and avenues of the main road, a reminiscence of Catholicism in the city. Then you'll chance upon the significant Shrine of Magellan's Cross. And as you traverse the historical Plaza De Indepencia, looming into view is Fort San Pedro, basking with pride as she claims to be the repository of priceless and invaluable treasures of Cebu.

    The 1.3M donation from the Spanish Embassy put an end to the anxiety of cultural workers who have long dreamt of establishing a National Museum branch in his historical City of Cebu. Instruments to this undertaking is Director Gabriel Casal who through collaborative talks with Undersecretary Pantig of PTA led the signing of the Contract of Lease between the National Museum and the Philippine Tourism Authority. However, only certain areas of Fort San Pedro were granted for museum operations for a term of 10 years commencing from the date of the signing of agreement and renewable for another ten (10) years.

    Formally inaugurated on April 23, 1994, this two-storey museum building houses a vast collection of archaeological artifacts comprised mainly of ceramics and archeological replicas; and depicts the archaelogy and history of San Diego Wreckage. Worth mentioning is the fact that San Diego galleon was actually built in Cebu. Dependable Mr. Vicente Secuya III pilots this region VII Branch Museum and has been actively promoting and marketing the museum to the schools, universities and colleges. He has also developed linkages with various civic-oriented organizations and NGO's for the purpose of acquiring assistance for developmental projects.

    So, the next time our local and foreign tourist friends visit Cebu, they should make it a point to include in their itineraries one of Cebu's significant cultural landmarks - Fort San Pedro Branch of the National Museum.

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    created: June 15, 1996
    updated: January 8, 1997
    APSIS Editor Johann Stockinger