Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Calamianes: Pearl Farm [Watery Wednesday]


Somewhere between the islands of Busuanga and Culion, I noticed this floating hut near the shores of a deserted island.  I wondered why someone would like to stay in a floating hut in the middle of nowhere.  Then I saw lots and lots of floating black balls, so I asked our boatman about it.  He told us the area is a pearl farm.  The huts are for security personnel and they are armed with automatic weapons!


I have not seen a pearl farm before.  I knew about pearl farms in Mindanao but didn't know there are pearl farms in Palawan.  Turned out, pearl farming in the region began in the early 1900's.  The clean waters of Palawan have attracted investors to engage in pearl farming, particularly in the island municipalities.  A total of more than 44,000 hectares are under lease for pearl farming, and the lease period is generally 25 years.

Pearls are cultured by transplanting a tiny piece of mantle tissue of an oyster shell into the shell of a young oyster.  This graft forms a pearl sac and precipitate calcium carbonate into this pocket.  Over time, this grows into a pearl.  It takes 2-5 years for a pearl to mature. Source

The world's largest pearl, the 9.45-inch Pearl of Lao Tzu, was found by a diver in Palawan in 1934 and is now valued at US$42 million. Source



Get virtually wet @ Watery Wednesday

15 comments:

Jidhu Jose said...

nice shot and got nice information too

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Calling by to visit as another Watery Wednesday participant, how interesting, I have never seen a pearl farm before.

Sivinden said...

An interesting post and nice pictures!

lina@happy family said...

Wow, so that's a pearl farm! Awesome shots, Luna...

LifeRamblings said...

the pearl farm sounds very intriguing. i haven't seen one before. thanks for sharing the info.

KM said...

i bought a lot of cultured pearls when i visited Philippines last month :) interesting to know that the largest pearl was found in Palawan. thanks for sharing this, and for the WW visit :)

Kim, USA said...

It's in Palawan that they found the biggest pearl but that was a long time ago. Yes Palawan is known to have pearl farm and some here in the south part of Mindanao. It's a very silent but thriving business because not every one know that we have it in the Philippines, but we have it a long time ago.

Watery Wednesday

Andrea said...

Wow, thanks for these information. I didn't know there is also a pearl farm in Palawan, and haven't heard of Lao Tsu's pearl. Is it just a name of the pearl or an old pearl retrieved from that sea? BTW, the pearl developed through the attempt of the oyster to get the foreign matter out of its body. It enclosed the foreign matter with its substance, i imagine it as torture for the oyster, like a 'tinik' to our body.

ladyfi said...

Lovely shots! Do those black balls mark the places where the divers go down to search for pearls?

Luna Miranda said...

hi ladyfi, i think the black balls are the buoys of strings of oyster shells hang underwater.

Luna Miranda said...

hi andrea, here's a wiki article on Pearl of Lao Tzu. poor oyster, it has to "suffer" to develop a beautiful pearl.:p

Luna Miranda said...

hi kim, yes, it was a long time ago when the world's biggest pearl was found in Palawan---it's still the largest up to this day. the second largest pearl, the Palawan Princess, was also found in Palawan.

my aunt has a set of huge south sea pearls (about 20 mm)--i think she got it from Australia. the cultured pearls i see in Greenhills are not as perfect. the pearl farm in Calamianes is owned by Jewelmer, a Filipino-French venture.

Halcyon said...

Nice scenes.

eden said...

Beautiful photos. I haven't visited a pearl farm yet and love to visit one day.

Genie said...

As you can see, I am plugging away. I missed this, too. Wow...I would love to visit a pearl farm. They sound so magical and mysterious. I think it is interesting that the areas are rented for 25 years, and I ddi not know it took 2-5 years for the pearl to grow. Guess that is why they lease the area for the 25 years. Thanks for the nice series of photos. genie