Learning from bones D’bone Collector Museum turns 4

DARRELL Blatchley at age 12, was bitten by a dolphin. And thus began his fascination with all creatures, crawling, swimming, flying, and anything in between.

It was this passion for knowing what makes an animal tick that led to his education in taxidermy, biology and the natural sciences. He learned all these by voraciously reading, touching base with international experts and by his practical experience in caring for animals.

In 2012, he opened the D’Bone Collector Museum, Inc. with sheer determination and a prayer. Starting with only 150 specimens crammed in one floor, four years later, the museum is home to more than 2,000, in a three-storey building with 750 sq. meters of display. It is now the largest collection of its kind for Southeast Asia with the largest collection of assembled whales and dolphins in the Philippines.

pic1

The museum has become an education and conservation haven in the city and in the country.Darrell, a Datu Bago Awardee in 2015, plans to enhance the museum to accommodate bigger specimens of animals that are not found in the Philippines for education purposes.

pic2

When he is not busy traveling to places where animals need to be rescued or recovered, he takes time to personally tour the guests who are simply awed by his knowledge and engaging stories to tell about the display.

pic3

Each one has a story, and he does not get tired of telling how this whale or that shark died and how we should do our share of preserving the world we live in if we want humankind to prosper for more years.  He also shows the effects of plastics and trash that people mindlessly throw out to canals as these inevitably end up in the ocean.

pic4

Photos by Kristianne Fusilero

The museum has served many students and visitors across the country and is tagged as the number 3 in 63 destinations to visit in the city by the Trip Advisor, a website for travelers.

Now on its fourth year, Darrell said he won’t stop upgrading the museum with new specimens as he continues to network with other museums in the country and abroad. He is helping Leyte and Cebu in the Visayas put up a similar museum with the help of their local government and the private sector.

The museum faces many challenges especially as they generate their own funds for the upkeep of the institution.  Although there is an entrance fee, it can hardly cover for the expenses needed to maintain such a large sructure and delicate specimens. Darrell is also adamant not to increase the fee to encourage more people to visit the museum. His deep faith usually pulls him through such trials.

“It is better (now) than when we opened and we strive to improve. Being more diverse in the way education is  presented is our priority,” he said.

The museum has become one of the city’s pride. And it needs to be patronized more often to be able to educate more people. Instead of going to the malls on a Saturday, families and friends should try to go visit the museum because there is always something new everytime.

Who knows, Darrell might just find a dragon to showcase?

Posted in HEADLINES