Heritage Conservation Advocates
Whale harpoon in Huluga
Photo of whale harpoon tip and other artifacts.

The spearhead was found by Elson T. Elizaga of the Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) on the surface of Huluga in June 2003. It was brought to the National Museum by a student of the UP-Archaeological Studies Program (UP-ASP) with the expressed agreement that it would be returned after identification.

At the National Museum, archaeologist Dr. Eusebio Dizon identified the item as a whale harpoon head, adding that it was also found in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Gigantes Island of Panay. Dizon's statement gave national cultural signifance to the Huluga whale harpoon.

But Richard Ellis, Associate Researcher of the American Museum of Natural History, went further. After receiving a photo of the item from Elizaga, Ellis wrote in an email that a similar implement is used in Lomblen Island of Indonesia, a place 2,000 kilometers away from Huluga. Lomblen is part of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Whale harpoon in Lomblen Island. Courtesy of Richard Ellis, Associate Researcher of the American Museum of Natural History.
Photo of Lomblen whale harpooner. Photo of Lomblen Island harpooner courtesy of Richard Ellis. See photos of harpoons and harpooners.

Apparently because of the importance of this artifact, it was persistently kept by a UP-ASP archaeologist (not Dizon) for almost a year, and was given back only after Elizaga sent a demand letter. The item is now on display in the City Museum of Cagayan de Oro. Its National Museum accession code is X-1991-Q2-484. End

Published by the Heritage Conservation Advocates (HCA) in 2003. Updated May 1, 2023.
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