In June 2019, at a turnover and signing ceremony Director General Jeremy Barns received on behalf of the nation the donations from Dr. Arthur Saldivar-Sali. These include, among others, rock samples bearing evidence of oil-deposit, drill bits which penetrated the oil-bearing reef limestone reservoir rock, and crude oil samples from the Nido-1 well in Northwest Palawan.
Dr. Saldivar-Sali is an engineering geologist and a TOYM awardee whose works led to the discovery of the first major oilfield in the Philippines. His book entitled Black Gold chronicles the start and development of the energy industry in the Philippines. He hopes that in donating these artifacts, a renewed interest in oil and energy resource exploration follows
The first oil discovery in the Philippines happened in 1976 in Northwest Palawan. This discovery jump started the energy development in the country which significantly decreased the country’s dependence on imported oil by as much as 95%. This discovery also paved the way towards the country’s search for sustainable energy resources particularly geothermal.
The specimens and artifacts from this momentous event in Philippine history are now showcased at the Minerals and Energy Resources Gallery of the National Museum of Natural History