National Museum opens exhibition on Geology, Paleontology of WV

Fossilized molars of elephant and stegodont

Learn more about Western Visayas’ prehistoric past and geological events that heavily impacted its physical landscape in the Geology and Paleontology Exhibition Hall of National Museum Western Visayas in Iloilo City. The permanent exhibition was opened to the public on Jan. 25, 2020, in time for the celebration of the Dinagyang Festival.

“The gallery gives the public an insight into the region’s complex geology. Through the exhibition, one will learn that the biodiversity and endemism of species in both Panay and Negros Islands is the result of their unique geological formation,” said National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) Deputy Director-General, Dr. Ana Labrador.

Types of rocks found in Panay and Negros Islands

#NationalMuseumPH is excited to present to the public the culmination of years of research and fieldwork of NMP staff and the product of tedious exhibit planning, conceptualization and fund sourcing led by the Geology and Paleontology Division.

The exhibition is divided into three themes: Treasures of the Earth, Traces of Ancient Life and Western Visayas Through Time.

A space for learning where guests especially the kids can draw the samples of marine species

The centerpiece of the gallery are the fossilized teeth of extinct elephant species, Elephas sp., and stegodont (Stegodon sp.), found in Cabatuan, Iloilo. These were discovered buried in the Pleistocene rock formation called Cabatuan Formation.

The public can view the samples of the region’s rich mineral resources including tektite, the glassy rocks of possible extraterrestrial origin, collected in Iloilo province, one of the few locations in the world with known tektite deposits. They can also get a grasp of WV’s flora and fauna dating back five million years ago through the marine and plant fossils.

“Humans have always wondered about the origin of life on earth. And in between this curiosity, humans have adapted to their environment to survive. Through this exhibition, we hope to provide some scientific answers to their question of ‘What was the Philippines or Western Visayas like millions of years ago?’ We also hope to explain in simplest terms why there are similarities in the flora and fauna in the islands of the region and correlate it with the similarities of the way of life of Western Visayans,” added NMP Senior Museum Researcher Jaan Ruy Conrad P. Nogot of the Geology and Paleontology Division.

A space for learning where guests especially the kids can draw the samples of marine species

In the Curator’s Tour during the gallery opening, Mr. Nogot, a paleontologist, explained how Panay and Negros islands and its unique land formations were formed. He described the various rock types found in the islands, the implications of discovered fossilized molars of elephant and stegodont, one of the largest mammals to ever inhabited the earth, and why there are rich deposits of minerals in Panay, among others.

Senior Museum Researcher Jaan Conrad Ruy Nogot explains the rocks found in Panay and Negros Islands

The guests included Department of Science and Technology-6 Regional Director, Engr. Rowen Gelonga; Dr. Martin Genodepa, University of the Philippines Visayas Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development; Dr. Raul Muyong, Iloilo Science and Technology University President; Prof. Joyce Colon of West Visayas State University; Assumption Iloilo School Director, Sister Aremar Grantos with Ms Maria Andrea Bernas; Mr Nereo Lujan, Information Officer of the Province of Iloilo; journalist Mr Rhick Albay; among other very important guests.

Tektite found in Cabatuan, Iloilo

#NMWesternVisayas is located at the Iloilo Capitol Complex, Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City. The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Entrance is free. Group tours (more than 20 persons) must be booked through email or phone 327-3782. (Text & Photos by Maricyn De los Santos/NM Western Visayas)