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Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Sylvia Perez
Date: 2007-06-24
The dark leathery hands of Carlito Humalon, 61 years old, was stroking the hull of his 12–foot wooden boat, inspecting for holes, when I found him along the coral and limestone beach fronting the Golden Sunset Resort in Calatagan, Batangas.

"I’m a fisherman of aquarium fishes and on good days when the sea is calm I catch angelfish, butterfly fish, blue damsels, green damsels, blue corals and sometimes clown fish,’’ Carlito related about his work.

When asked about his life in Calatagan, Carlito confidently said, "industrious people don’t get hungry here even if our food catch are only danggit, samaral, and occasional crabs. We also plant seaweeds and we certainly hope our rich neighbors can help make our small seaweed industry progressive.’’

He looked and talked proudly about his youthful first–hand brush with history. "I was eight years old in 1954 when a Dr. Fox came with people from the Ayalas to start some diggings in our barrio, Pulong Bakaw, which is on the left of barrio Kay Tomas.’’

According to National Museum records, archeologist Dr. Robert Fox led the excavation in Kay Tomas area in 1958. An excavation grant–in–aid was given to the National Museum and the Fox team by the Zobel–Ayala family who formerly owned the area when it was part of Hacienda de Calatagan.

At Pulong Bakaw, excavation was inland about 20 meters from the beach and they covered an area of one–half kilometer radius. Diggings of two to three feet from top soil would sometimes yield pots, plates, bowls, "pulveras’’ or covered boxes, and sharp metal tools. On deeper diggings they unearthed bones and skeletons with artifacts on top or beside them.

‘’They found eight to 10 complete skeletons under our house. Some bones were on top of each other, others were side by side lying horizontally. The bone were dusted, photographed, sketched and after two to three weeks covered with soil again. We later learned that Pulong Bakaw was a burial place in the olden times,’’ Carlito continued.

After the Fox team left, the villagers continued to dig and "hukay’’ buyers came to buy the artifacts at R50 to R70 per piece, he said.

From the excavation, the most memorable and exquisite piece he saw was one life–size duck teapot which excavation workers said it would be seen in an exhibition in Manila.

An outdoor museum, a brainchild of renowned beauty expert Ricky Reyes, at present relives these historical diggings and brings back the treasures to the people of Calatagan and visitors of Golden Sunset Resort.

Among them are earthen pots, Ming Dynasty bowls and plates, brown glazed covered boxes and metal implements all encased in glass and may be viewed at close distance.

The artifacts are proofs that our forefathers were intelligent traders who exchanged goods with the Chinese and Siam (Thailand) and gave their dead keepsakes to take to heaven.

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