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Aside from starfish and seaweeds, mollusks dominate the vibrant sea floors across the globe. The Philippines, known for its pristine waters and thriving marine ecosystems, offers a cornucopia of these captivating creatures, particularly in Bohol's Panglao Island.
If you seek an extraordinary encounter with seashells, clams, and other mollusks without diving into the depths, the Nova Shell Museum is a must-visit destination.
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Under the ownership and care of Mr. Quirino Hora, the Nova Shell Museum stands as a testament to his lifelong dedication to the study and collection of these delicate marine organisms. His fascination with the sea and its mysteries ignited when his elder brother introduced him to its wonders.
Since then, Quirino's insatiable passion for shells has grown into a compulsive pursuit, infecting others with his fervor and transforming his hobby into a thriving business that supports his family and provides employment opportunities to the local community.
At the Nova Shell Museum, Quirino proudly exhibits his vast collection of seashells for all to admire.
Over half of his shells were acquired during expeditions to various Philippine islands, but it is Panglao Island, according to visiting scientists, that likely boasts the most diverse array of shells in the South Pacific. This distinction alone has put Panglao Island on the map for avid collectors.
As you explore the museum, it becomes impossible to resist the allure of each unique shell and its sheer abundance. With a collection of over a hundred species, Mr. Hora possesses a broad range of both common and unclassified shells in the mollusk world.
Some shells found within the museum's walls are entirely exclusive and cannot be seen anywhere else in the world, while others have yet to be officially classified.
Mr. Hora takes immense pride in being the custodian of such exceptional specimens.
Among his prized possessions, the rarest find hails from the waters surrounding Balicasag Island and bears the name Emperor Hirohito of Japan. This minuscule shell's breathtaking beauty can only be fully appreciated through a microscope.
Additionally, there are cowry shells of special significance to Aona Beach, discovered by French scuba diver Jacques Trotin.
However, the most cherished treasures within the Nova Shell Museum bear the names of Mr. Hora himself. The first, unearthed in 1987, was christened "Bursa Quirihorai."
The second, discovered in 1994, was aptly named "Primovula Horai." Both shells were found in the waters of Panglao.
To have shells named after you is an immense honor in the world of shell collectors, and Mr. Hora cherishes this recognition.
Beyond the museum, Mr. Quirino Hora operates a gift shop adorned with intricately designed shell crafts, including key chains, necklaces, lamps, hanging shell decorations, bracelets, and wind chimes.
Moreover, he supplies the local community with necklaces and bracelets, empowering them to earn a livelihood through their craftsmanship.
The Nova Shell Museum welcomes visitors daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Conveniently located near Alona Beach in Panglao Town Center, it offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in the enchanting world of shells.
Whether you are a nature lover, a marine biologist, or simply an aficionado seeking marvels from the sea, this unique museum promises an unforgettable experience.
Stepping into the Nova Shell Museum is like embarking on a journey through the fascinating history of shells. As you explore the exhibits, you'll discover the incredible diversity and intricate beauty of these marine wonders.
The museum's carefully curated displays showcase shells of various shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing visitors to appreciate their intricate patterns and the remarkable adaptations that have evolved over millions of years.
Each shell tells a story, reflecting the environment in which it was formed and the unique life of the mollusk that once inhabited it. From the delicate spiral of a chambered nautilus to the spiky defense mechanisms of a pufferfish shell, the shells on display demonstrate the remarkable ingenuity of nature.
The Nova Shell Museum not only serves as a visual feast for shell enthusiasts but also offers educational opportunities. Mr. Hora, with his extensive knowledge and passion for shells, is often present at the museum, ready to share intriguing facts and stories about the shells on display.
Whether you are a curious visitor, a student, or a seasoned researcher, his expertise and enthusiasm create an engaging and enriching experience.
Beyond the educational aspect, the museum serves as a valuable conservation effort. Mr. Hora and his team actively promote the importance of preserving marine ecosystems and raising awareness about the threats faced by mollusks and their habitats.
By showcasing the beauty and diversity of shells, they hope to inspire visitors to appreciate and protect these fragile creatures and the environments they depend on.
In addition to its exhibits, the Nova Shell Museum also fosters connections with the local community and visitors alike. The gift shop offers a range of shell-themed souvenirs, providing visitors with a chance to take home a piece of this captivating world.
From intricately crafted jewelry to decorative items, these handcrafted creations serve as reminders of the unique beauty found within the shells.
Moreover, the museum's presence has had a positive impact on the local economy. Through employment opportunities, the Nova Shell Museum contributes to the livelihoods of the community members, fostering a sense of pride and ownership in preserving their natural heritage.
As you conclude your visit to the Nova Shell Museum, you'll depart with a newfound appreciation for the wonders of the sea and a deeper understanding of the vital role shells play in marine ecosystems.
The museum's dedication to education, conservation, and community engagement makes it not only a captivating destination but also a catalyst for positive change.
By sharing the mesmerizing world of shells with visitors from around the world, the Nova Shell Museum continues to inspire awe and foster a sense of responsibility towards our oceans and their extraordinary inhabitants.