National Museum Western Visayas opens Geology and Paleontology permanent exhibit

National Museum Western Visayas Regional Museum opened its newest permanent exhibit on Geology and Paleontology in the region last January 25, 2020, just in time for Dinagyang. The museum opened in 2018 and I last visited the place in February last year. You can read my blog entry on the first gallery they opened, "Habol Panay: the Woven Artistry of Western Visayas": Visiting the new National Museum Western Visayas in Iloilo City.

During my last visit, the park in front of the museum was still under construction. The park is now finished and is also a good place to hang out:

Museum entrance
Discover how geology crafted Western Visayas landscape and shaped the land and lives of its inhabitants. Learn more about the region's ancient past in this gallery that weaves together the geology and history of life of the region. (text from the exhibit)

Their newest gallery is focused on geology and paleontology. We can learn about the geological events that happened in the region dating millions of years ago, and ancient creatures that roamed the land before humans. There are different kinds of rocks, fossils, and artifacts on display.

I admit I didn't know anything about tektites or the stegodon until this visit.

Photo Source: NM Western Visayas Facebook page
Tektites, according to Wikipedia, are "are gravel-sized bodies composed of black, green, brown, or gray natural glass formed from terrestrial debris ejected during meteorite impacts." The museum houses a thumb-sized piece of tektite. The color is glassy obsidian black. It is believed to have originated from a meteor crash 790,000 years ago.

From the artifact's caption: "Tektites found in the Philippines are called philippinites. The largest discovered weights 1,281.89 grams. This tektite was discovered by the National Museum of the Philippines in 1984 and weighs 18.19 grams. It is one of the millions created through the impact of a meteorites about 790,000 years ago. This was found in the same rock formation containing the fossils of large mammals like elephants and stegodonts."

Artist's rendition of elephants in the ancient world

The gallery also houses a fossil of the now-extinct stegodon. Thousands of years ago, these elephant-like creatures roamed present-day Western Visayas. The stegodon is closely related to the elephant and has distinct ridges on the molars. They lived in forests and their special molars were for eating their food which was wood, leaves, and twigs. Some of these fossils were actually discovered in 1965 by F. Landa Jocano, the famous Visayan anthropologist, in Cabatuan. The picture on the left shows a fossil from a young stegodon. This specimen is estimated to be 750,000 years old. 

The picture above a fossilized molar of an elephas, an elephant in the Family Elephantidae. According to the National Museum, "This fossil is believed to be of Middle Pleistocene age or approximately 750,000 years old. It was collected by Dr. L. Jocano in 1965 on a gravelly slope in Sitio Bitoguan, Brgy. Jelicuon, Cabatuan, Iloilo." (source)

Those interested in geology will find the information on geological events interesting. With the recent Taal Volcano eruption, the exhibit is very informative about volcanoes and eruptions. In our region, we also have several volcanoes such as the active Mt. Kanlaon in Negros. I learned that there are more volcanoes in Negros, most are just inactive. There are also pictures of the Mt. Kanlaon eruptions and samples of ash.

As a visitor, I felt a rare sense of awe, a feeling nearing something religious or mythical. The artifacts were things that existed for several hundred thousand years, and the average human life is a very small percentage of that long period of time. They are artifacts of a time where creatures other than us roamed the earth, the very land we now walk on. I also got very interested in paleontology - I might read on that more. One of my favorite writers ever, Caitlin R. Kiernan, is a paleontologist. If I wasn't a librarian, I might've been more interested in studying science.

Aside from the rocks and fossils, they also have displays of ancient wood, shells, and fossils of marine creatures. There are two permanent exhibits open so far, and there are still more galleries to open in the future.

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 9 AM to 5 PM. Entrance is free. Group tours (more than 20 persons) must be booked through e-mail at or phone 327-3782. The museum is located in Iloilo Provincial Capitol complex in Bonifacio Drive, right in between the Hall of Justice and Museo de Iloilo. For more information, they also have a Facebook page: NM Western Visayas Regional Museum.
More readings from Iloilo Bloggers Society: WV Geology, Paleontology now a permanent exhibit at National Museum in Iloilo

Iloilo Today: National Museum Iloilo to open gallery on Geology, Paleontology of WV

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