Bones are interesting because they have so much to tell about our ecosystems, its history, and its inhabitants.
Bones eventually become priceless because, even if we take them for granted, they still educate us on how to take care of animals and give us a glimpse of what life used to be for some living creatures.
Luckily, there are bone collectors in our midst. They are the ones who find time and effort to have the remains of a past life curated and mounted in museums for us to see.
I found myself having these kind of thoughts when D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc. in my city opened last January. The museum, a first of its kind here (and perhaps in Mindanao) features the bone collection of Darrell Blatchley.
He’s been collecting them since he was a young kid! Darrell, born the US and raised in Thailand, is married to Davaoeña Mary Gay. The two of them currently run a Christian ministry in the city with Darrell’s parents.
Darrell’s extensive collection, a result of his strong fascination for animals (dead or alive; from tropical rainforests and oceans alike), hailed from all corners of the world: the US, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. Some of the bones were turned over to him by fishermen and concerned government agencies like the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
One of the head turners in the museum (it’s actually very hard to miss) is the 12.4-meter long sperm whale skeleton, which Darrell claims to be one of the only four in the Philippines. Housed in the museums are skeletons and bones of all sorts—and they all had stories to tell: a beaked whale that was found dead in the Davao Gulf (it died of garbage ingestion), a false killer whale, a pygmy sperm whale, tiger shark jaws, sting ray tails, a fossil fish, a pair of Asian water buffalo horns, among others.
It’s an ideal place to for a science class field trip or for anyone who wants to relive their biology days in high school. Each set of bones offer an opportunity to raise awareness among people on what they can do to help save the living creatures of our environment.
After all, we only have one home to live (harmoniously with animals) in!
(D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc. is located in Brgy. 76-A, Bucana in San Pedro Extension, Davao City, Philippines. It’s open from Mondays-Fridays; and until 12 noon on Saturdays. Entrance fee for adults is P50; kids at P40. For inquiries, contact the museum curator at 0919 6240 744.)
Check out a preview (video clips and panoramas) of my visit to D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc.: