Nova Shell Museum
Aside from starfishes and seaweeds, mollusks are among the most common sights in the sea floor all over the world. With its unpolluted waters and teeming marine ecosystem, Philippines offers a wide varieties of these fascinating species, especially in the Bohol, particularly in Panglao Island.
Instead of diving into the depths for some exotic shells, clams and other mollusk, why not tour around in one-of-a-kind Shell Museum with more than a hundred varieties of seashells and be amazed by its diversity? For nature lovers, marine biologists and aficionados, a stop-over in Nova Shell Museum is a must.
Nova Shell Museum is run and owned by Mr. Quirino Hora. Mr. Hora has been studying these delicate creatures for almost half his life and collecting mollusks of all sorts is his passion. It all started when his elder brother introduced him to the mysteries of the sea.
Since then, as Quirino admitted, he has become a compulsive collector of shells. His passion has infected many and his enthusiasm has driven others to do the same. The mere hobby has converted into a successful business, providing source of income for the family and employment opportunities to the local community.
He proudly displays his collections for everyone to see. More than half of his shells were collected in the Philippines upon his expeditions to other islands. But according to some scientists who happened to came on Bohol, Panglao Island probably has the biggest variety of shells in the South Pacific. This alone could put Panglao Island on the collector’s map.
You really can’t stop yourself from admiring the beauty of each shells and its number. With more than a hundred species, Mr. Hora has its share of common to unclassified shells in the Mollusk world. There are shells that could never be seen anywhere in the world but in the museum alone and there are also shells that were never been classified. And Mr. Hora proudly owned them.
Among his collections, the rarest was found at the waters of Balicasag Island and named after Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It is so tiny that you have to use a microscope to marvel its full beauty. There are cowry shells which have special significance for Aona Beach because they were found by Jacques Trotin, a French Scuba diver.
But the most-prized possessions are the two shells named after Mr. Hora himself. The first was discovered in 1987 and named “Bursa Quirihorai”. The other was christened “Primovula Horai” upon its discovery in 1994. Both these shells were found in the waters of Panglao. It is such great honor to have your name remembered in the World of Shells.
Aside from his small museum, Mr. Quirino Hora has gift shop wherein you can find crafts, intricately designed with shells like key chains, necklaces, lamps, hanging shell designs, bracelets and wind chimes. He also supplies the locals with necklaces and bracelets for them to earn a living.
Nova Shell Museum is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is located near Alona Beach in Panglao Town Center.