The Tumatarok Museum of Minalabac

Digging the history of my town, Minalabac: The Opening of Tumatarok Museum

Our world has its own amazing history.

We were taught in school, how it is formed or created.

And so, is my town.

As the TUMATAROK MUSEUM was officially opened last April 24, 2016 at the 2nd Floor of Suarez Bldg.,San Lorenzo, Minalabac, Camarines Sur, guests and visitors were brought back to the old, golden times of my town.

The official finds were curated by my aunt, Fabiana Alcala Arejola, the former curator of the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary Museum in Naga City and was viewed and presented into public by the Minalabac Cultural Society (MCS).

Latest archaeological finds reveal that Minalabac is one of the early settlements where trade and commerce flourished during the pre-Hispanic period.

Many of the artifacts unearthed came from Bagongbong, a barangay near the riverbank. Some of the finds on display were chinawares during the Ming Dynasty of China and earlier than that were kitchenwares from traders from Thailand.

Well, no doubt, our local dialects are products of Chinese languages and Thailand, too. Even traces of Indonesian's Bahasa language are apparent in Bicol laguage, my native tongue.

Items on display at the newly opened Tumatarok Museum are collections of my demised aunt, Leonor Rojano-Dy Liacco, book author-English teacher at the local high school in Naga City.

How important is our local museum?


As explained by the prolific local historian Dr. Danilo Gerona of Ateneo de Naga University, ït is important to study the history of your town through this museum because you can visibly recall the life of your ancestors by just looking at the finds being displayed."

He added that the present generation should never ignore the importance of these amazing discoveries as it linked us to the past and how rich the local culture by just studying those finds.



Naming the Minalabac Museum as Tumatarok Museum

Why would the Minalabac Museum be named as "TUMATAROK MUSEUM"?


Considered as one of the most colorful and interesting fiestas in the Bikol region which takes place at the old, sleepy town of Minalabac . The Tumatarok Festival is celebrated every 11th of May which is done in honor of their two patron saints, Sts. Philip and James. Main highlights of the festive occasion include the evening tide fluvial procession where colorful floating pagodas crowd along the banks of the Bikol River ; the religious dancing of little boys who are called here as the Tumatarok ni San Felipe-San Tiago or the Rice Planters of Sts. Philip and James. These little boys, ages 8 to 11, sing the traditional Bikol hymn to the two saints.

Likewise, after the celebration of the mass the next morning, the ten tumatarok once again performed another ritual, this time a sacred dance, in the sanctuary of the Church. It was said that their dance was a prayer to God, thanking Him for blessing upon the coming rice planting season which then and even now is the main source of income to many Minalabacueños.

Photographing the discoveries being displayed at the Tumatarok Museum

Equipped by just a handy mobile phone, I documented the important displays inside the museum while we're waiting for the guests/visitors from the academe (teachers and even local politicians) being invited by the officers of Minalabac Cultural Society (MCS)

Excited just like the others, my handling of my mobile phone produced varied results, from candid to fuzzy photos.

What I'm gonna share with you, right now are not edited yet.

I may just replace it if I can still borrow the DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera at the Mayor's office once I visit the museum again.

I photographed the following items:

  • Philippine fossils
  • Stone tools
  • Household tools/equipment
  • Black & White photos of early Minalabac settlements (people, church, etc.)

Inside the Tumatarok Museum

One of the guest-teacher of Minalabac viewing the Leonor Rojano-Dy Liacco Collection inside the Tumatarok Museum (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala, Apr24,2016)
One of the guest-teacher of Minalabac viewing the Leonor Rojano-Dy Liacco Collection inside the Tumatarok Museum (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala, Apr24,2016)
Philippine Fossils in Minalabac (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Philippine Fossils in Minalabac (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Chinawares, Ming Dynasty (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Chinawares, Ming Dynasty (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)

Detailed Household Items from Leonor Rojano-DyLiacco Collection at Tumatarok Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dulay or water Jug (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Dama Juana or Wine Vessel (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Detailed Wooden Sculpture of Jesus Christ Lubang or Mortar and Batya or Pot Holder (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Kurusong or Native Hat (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Daud or Water Bowl (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Sakal or Carabao's Neck Wood Controller (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Mitate or Stone-made Mortar & Pestle (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Lampara or Lamp Shade (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Gata or Rice Hand Harvesting Tool (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)Wooden Sculptures & Figurines (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Dulay or water Jug (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Dulay or water Jug (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Dama Juana or Wine Vessel (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Dama Juana or Wine Vessel (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Detailed Wooden Sculpture of Jesus Christ
Detailed Wooden Sculpture of Jesus Christ
Lubang or Mortar and Batya or Pot Holder (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Lubang or Mortar and Batya or Pot Holder (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Kurusong or Native Hat (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Kurusong or Native Hat (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Daud or Water Bowl (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Daud or Water Bowl (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Sakal or Carabao's Neck Wood Controller (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Sakal or Carabao's Neck Wood Controller (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Mitate or Stone-made Mortar & Pestle (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Mitate or Stone-made Mortar & Pestle (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Lampara or Lamp Shade (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Lampara or Lamp Shade (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Gata or Rice Hand Harvesting Tool (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Gata or Rice Hand Harvesting Tool (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Wooden Sculptures & Figurines (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Wooden Sculptures & Figurines (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)

Dr. Danilo Gerona's Message about Tumatarok Museum

Although in Bicol dialect, Dr. Danilo Gerona's short but concise talk about opening a museum opened the minds of his listeners, my fellow Minalabacueños.

I included this unedited video for documenting such an important event in the lives of the residents of my town, Minalabac.



Historian Dr. Danilo Gerona, Guest Speaker:Opening of Tumatarok Museum Minalabac

The Religious Importance of Tumatarok Museum

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tumatarok Kids or Harvest Kids, in tribute to the twin patron saints of Poblacion, Minalabac-Sts.Philips and James (Photo Source: astrodeus.blogspot.com)Early costume of Tumatarok kid (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)The ritual book of Tumatarok (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Tumatarok Kids or Harvest Kids, in tribute to the twin patron saints of Poblacion, Minalabac-Sts.Philips and James (Photo Source: astrodeus.blogspot.com)
Tumatarok Kids or Harvest Kids, in tribute to the twin patron saints of Poblacion, Minalabac-Sts.Philips and James (Photo Source: astrodeus.blogspot.com)
Early costume of Tumatarok kid (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
Early costume of Tumatarok kid (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
The ritual book of Tumatarok (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)
The ritual book of Tumatarok (Photo Source: Ireno Alcala)

This hubber is indebted to...

  1. My aunt, Fabiania 'Fabi Alcala Arejola, for letting me capture the display of Tumatarok Museum without restrictions.
  2. The Minalabac Cultural Society officers
  3. Mr. Leon Lademo of LGU-Minalabac

and the people of Minalabac and the world as well, of the Hubpages community.

If one day, you have a plan of visiting our place, you can drop by at our local museum, the TUMATAROK MUSEUM.

Blessing & Inauguration of Tumatarok Museum of Minalabac c/o Ireno Alcala

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4 comments

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I nearly always find museums fascinating. The one in your town is no exception. Reading this article and looking at all the photos was a great learning experience for me!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 months ago from The Caribbean

Thanks for sharing information and views of the Tumatarok Museum Minalabac. It interests me that religious significance is added to the historical facts. Thanks also for the pictures.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@AliciaC: Thanks for appreciating our work. We're just starting and we need all the promotion that we can get in order for interested archeologists to visit our finds.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 months ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@MsDora: Thanks that you've notice it, Miss D. It's part of our town's history, so our curator, who happens to be my cousin (aunt) included it in our museum. :)

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