Bernard Weber, founder-president of New7Wonders, congratulated the Filipinos as the 8.2-kilometer Palawan river joined the Amazon rainforest, Vietnam’s Halong Bay, Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, South Korea’s Jeju Island, Indonesia’s Komodo, and South Africa’s Table Mountain among the world’s new seven wonders of nature.
The Philippines’ underground river in Puerto Princesa City is located in the province of Palawan. The underground river, which measures about 5 miles, became a popular tourist destination in the country, since it was declared as a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
“Confirmation that the Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature is welcome news indeed. Throughout the competition, Filipinos from all walks of life have given time, energy, and resources to this campaign,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner in a Jan. 28 report.
Lacierda added: “This effort has raised awareness not only overseas, but nationally as well. Visits to the Puerto Princesa Underground River have increased tremendously. This is proof positive of how effective a national effort of this sort can be: to build awareness, express pride, and achieve results.”
The confirmation of Puerto Princesa Underground River as a wonder of nature came about as a result of a competition. Filipinos from all walks of life have given time, energy, and resources contributed to a world-wide campaign, Lacierda said.
In 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino III urged all Filipinos in the country and abroad to vote and support underground river.
“When your very own President Aquino came out in support of the PPUR campaign, I knew that this country was taking the New7Wonders of Nature seriously,” Weber said. “Fans of PPUR all over the world responded to his call for action by voting in record numbers and today’s confirmation is the well-earned reward for this extraordinary display of enthusiasm.”
Puerto Princesa Underground River is located some 50 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan Island in the Philippines. It consists of a limestone karst mountain landscape, several large chambers containing significant formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and an 8.2-km. navigable underground river that winds through a cave before flowing directly into the West Philippine Sea. At the exit, a flawless lagoon is framed by ancient trees growing right to the water’s edge.
Following Jeju Island, Puerto Princesa Underground River is the second to be confirmed on a preliminary basis, as New7Wonders has now completed the telephone voting validation in the Philippines. The remaining five provisional New7Wonders of Nature are currently undergoing the three steps of the verification process, namely the national voting validation, the global voting calculation confirmation by an independent audit firm, and the preparation and implementation of the Official Inauguration ceremonies.
lly significant natural properties, the PPUR had previously been placed on the List of Natural World Heritage Sites of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. –RG