Pamulang (shell bracelet) – Made of Taklobo | Museo ng Kaalamang Katutubo (@muskkathp) | Ex: Ricardo V. and Eubert Baylosis

Pamulang (Shell Bracelet made of Taklobo)

The pamulang is worn by women of the Mandaya of Mindanao in sets, alternating the bracelet made of clam (Taklobo) with one of dark hardwood.

The taklobo, Tridacna gigas or giant clam, is the largest bivalve mollusk in the world. Some taklobo have measured up to one meter and a half in length and weighed around 250 kilos. Thick and heavy when fully grown, the hinged shell cannot close completely.

In the Philippines, giant clams have been found in Palawan, Eastern Samar, Batangas, Pangasinan, Davao, Negros, and Tawi-Tawi. These giants remain where they first settle for the rest of their lives, for about a hundred or more years (unless removed by humans). They have existed for over 38 million years. Eight of the twelve giant clams in the world are found in the Philippines, but “populations are diminishing quickly” because of over-collection, in spite of Republic Act No. 10654 which makes it illegal to harvest, sell, buy or transport the giant clams. Giant clams have been listed as vulnerable since 1996 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Since Neolithic times, the giant shell has been crafted into implements and personal adornment. A piece of shell was detached by hitting with a heavy object, from the thick hinge, for instance, and shaped by grinding against a rough wet surface, such as sand.

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