The man found the 34-kilogramme pearl inside a giant clam that was snagged by his anchor as he waited out a storm at sea, according to local tourism department chief Cynthia Amurao, who is also his aunt.
Not knowing it could be worth tens of millions of dollars, he kept the 30-centimetre by 60-centimetre pearl in his thatch hut on the western island of Palawan, tucked under a wooden bed as a good-luck charm, Amurao added.
With the fisherman’s consent, the pearl was put on display at the city hall of Puerto Princesa, the provincial capital, and photos were posted on the government’s Facebook page.
Local officials are hoping gemmologists will visit the city to assess its quality and value.
The 14-kilogramme “Pearl of Allah”, also known as the “Pearl of Lao Tzu”, is often referred to as the world’s largest. It was also found off Palawan, in the 1930s, and has been appraised by gemmologists at tens of millions of dollars.
Puerto Princesa city information officer Richard Ligad confirmed Amurao’s account and said the man who found it could be in for a massive change in his life’s fortunes.
“He has not signed any deed of donation (to the city) so it remains his property,” Ligad said.