Tuesday, 10 January 2012


This, or large navel, appears to show fractured material behind it, creating a crescent shape.

‘Ipot ng bituin …’


I WAS five years old when I first saw and touched a tektite – that roundish, deep-black and shiny piece of rock which my older playmates called “ipot ng bituin” (star dropping).

They would show it around, saying it was some sort of an amulet.
“The stars gave this to me,” a boy, who had carried one, would brag. 

As a young fellow, I believed in the tale, and so on cloudless nights when the skies were deep-blue black, I would wish to the millions of stars up there to send me a tektite.
It never happened.

I never owned one despite the fact that it had become a novelty in Paracale, the native home of my father where I spent the first five years of my youth before our young family migrated to Parang, Mambulao fo good. My late father, then a young a mechanic, found a job at the iron mine in Larap.

With the collapse of the gold mines operated by the United Paracale Gold Mine Co in December of 1952, gold panning had intensified as the alternative source of livelihood among Paracalenos who lost jobs at the gold mine.

I learned later in my youth that small-scale gold operations had also produced a rare product – tektites, and that neither did they come from the outer space, nor sent by the stars, as boasted by my boyhood mates.

Typical smaller specimens from the Paracale area. These include biscuit forms, dumbells and teardrops. Grooving in smaller specimens is always on one side only - the anterior.

The owner of the website tektites.co.uk, who toured Paracale recently, noted on his blog:

The grooved anterior of biscuit-form tektites

“Paracale is a gold mining area. The tektites are found as a by-product in the hunt for gold. I am told that all the tektites come from a very close proximity to Paracale and not further afield. I am sure tektites are elsewhere, but the lack of mining means they are not found. 

“According to one contact, the rock (which I understand to be gravels, but really a bit of a mixture and clay-rich in places) is dug out of alluvial deposits by JCB the tektites are then found. The deposits are also worked in the sea at depths I understand to be 15-25ft. 

Typical breadcrust specimens.
“Here people work underwater for up to 40 minutes at a time using an air compressor for oxygen supply. They cannot see a thing underwater and simply shovel the gravel into buckets that are raised to the surface and onto make-shift rafts. 

“This is highly dangerous work. Tektites are then also found as a by-product to the gold. 

“I have not seen any of these operations first hand and have been 
advised not to go to the area. The town of Paracale is basically fine (I was told you will "probably" be OK) but it is unlikely that you'd be welcome near the mines. 

“Poverty is high and if buying tektites people know you have cash (as there are reportedly no cash points), so the chances of being robbed are high. 

Half-soccer ball
{However, I would like to express that most Filipino's, despite the poverty, are very good and friendly people. 

“Foreigners going to Paracale will often arrive unannounced, buy the tektites and get out of the town the same day. People speaking Tagalog, or who look local probably stand a better chance there. “ – Pictures and text courtesy of tektites.co.uk

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