By Maricyn A. De los Santos
Photos by Ricky D. Alejo
BORACAY’S Pearl of the King now has a challenger – the Pearls of Tibiao in Antique province.
Flord Nicson Calawag, former OIC tourism officer of Antique, said the Pearls of Tibiao weigh 13.75 kilos and 24.75 kilos, respectively.
Calawag said the Pearls of Tibiao are even heavier than the current world’s largest pearl, the Pearl of the King (9 kilos) which is now kept in a hotel in Boracay.
Antique’s treasure is even larger than the popular Pearl of Allah, which is now known as the Pearl of Lau Tzu (6.4 kilos) which was also found in Palawan.
The “pearls” are from giant clams and are believed to be thousands of years old already.
These two important cultural properties, based on the classification of National Museum, are now kept in a 52-year-old ancestral house which was converted into the Tibiao Museum in Tibiao town.
Calawag said the two pearls were entrusted to a Tibiao resident named “Dodong” by a fisherman who found it in Palawan.
Calawag said the owner wanted to have the pearls authenticated by experts. Exhausting his own network, Calawag and Dodong sought the help of UP National Institute of Geological Sciences and National Museum to have the two items authenticated.
“Through series of tests, it was established the pearls are 99.9 percent calcium carbonate, the main component of pearl that passed the transillumination test or light test,” Calawag said.
Calawag believes that the Pearls of Tibiao will boost the biodiversity awareness of the public and appreciate and value more the country’s rich natural resources.
“These are rare items, and it is an honor the owners entrusted these two of the biggest pearls in the world to us,” Calawag said.
If the valuation of the Pearl of Lau Tzu is used, the two pearls of Tibiao could cost at least $100 million each.
To see the pearls and learn about its interesting story, visit Tibiao Musuem.