Finding Fossils in Cebu's Family Park
I love rocks. Not as much as I love rock n’ roll but I enjoy gazing and marveling at their apparent agelessness.
Growing up in Camiguin, with big volcanic rocks everywhere, I gained this fascination with rocks and stones. It grew out of the understanding that these pieces were once underground, hot and molten.
I remember spending many weekends sifting through stones in the river and the beach. But there was this one particular piece that opened a new world of wonder.
It was a small white-ish slab submerged in Tubig Sagay -- a river where we, kids, used to hang out. This piece stood out among the usual blue/gray stones in the river.
Of course, I picked it up. It had two distinct layers marked by a hairline gap filled with dirt. Thanks to a kid’s unbounded curiosity, I pried it open. Inside was a piece of wood, rust brown with visible wooden pattern. A fossil, I would later learn. This was the birth of my strong affinity to really old things…like millions of years old.
If there’s a fossil haven in the Philippines, it’s Palawan - from the Tabon Man to extinct sea cows.
Cebu has one, too - the dwarf buffalo (Bubalus cebuensis). If you’ve ever looked at the soil and rock formations in most of the island, you’ll see craggy remains of coral reefs. They are literally everywhere - from the path to Tuasan Falls in the south to the cliffs of Carnaza Island in the north.
Cebu was once underwater, oozing with marine life (citation needed I suppose...hehehe).
On lazy weekend afternoons, Issa and I would spend hours walking around D’ Family Park, a small public park in Talamban. Being just a 7-minute walk from where we live, it has become our go-to place when we’re coffee-drunk or when malls seem boring.
It was one of these afternoons that I found a fossilized remain of a snail, sticking out among the fallen mahogany leaves.
There were signs of weathering which suggested that it had been out in the open for years -- unnoticed. I brought it home, made a lazy blogpost about it, and then, stashed it away in a shoebox.
Growing up does this to you. That ‘kid’s unbounded curiosity’ - it’s gone. Replaced by man-kid's calculating indifference, whose goal is to get rich, retire early, travel the world and die happy.
I would have proclaimed this the truth. But every time we visit the park, I find myself looking at the rocks, picking up stones in search of signs of fossils.
I got lucky once. Someone dumped a big pile of dirt -- from some hole they dug up. In it were fossils!
After an hour rummaging through that dirt, I found a dozen perfectly-shaped clam fossils. I was so happy, kid-happy!
Here they are:
Meanwhile, as I continued to dig dirt, inspect rocks and pick up stones, Issa was flushing red in embarrassment…Hahaha.
Now, I’m compelled to say this:
I love rocks. Not as much as I love rock n’ roll, certainly not as much as I love Issa, but I enjoy gazing and marveling at their apparent agelessness.