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House urges support for RP's New 7 Wonders bid

Friday, October 17, 2008
MANILA, Oct. 15 (PNA) -- The House of Representatives on Wednesday called on all Filipinos to support the nomination of four major tourism sites in the Philippines into the Search for the New7Wonders of Nature.

This was contained in House Resolution no. 200, principally authored by Rep. Edgar M. Chatto (1st District, Bohol), where he urged all government agencies, local government units, public and private schools, tourists, private sector groups, overseas Filipino communities, and other sectors of society to launch vigorous campaign programs in support of the Philippines' bid for the inclusion of the four tourist sites.

These include the Underground River of Puerto Princesa, a world heritage site and was hailed as one of the world's longest underground rivers; Bohol's famous Chocolate Hills, which are considered the crowning glory of the province's numerous tourist attractions; the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, another world heritage site and is considered one of the world's best dive spots because of its teeming marine resources and rich biodiversity; and the Mayon Volcano, the pride of the Bicol Region, which boasts of having a perfect cone shape, and paralleled in beauty and wonder with Mt. Fuji of Japan.


Tubbataha Reef


Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park


Chocolate Hills


Chatto, chairman of the House committee on tourism, said he filed Resolution no. 200 "to drum up public awareness of the Search and to inform the public how they can participate and contribute to the quest."

He encouraged everyone to vote and be counted. This can be done by visiting the website www.new7wonders.com and registering on-line. The voting for the nominees is on going and will continue through December 31, 2008.

"The excitement generated by the web portal has proven tremendous. Right now, our entries are doing great, with the Underground River currently in 1st place, the Chocolate Hills in 4th, Tubbataha Reef in 5th, and Mayon Volcano in 10th place," Chatto said.



Entrance going to the Underground River





Inside the Underground River

"We have to sustain this trend and even intensify our efforts. The crucial factor in clinching the votes would be to use all avenues available to communicate this to our people," he added.
The lawmaker noted that the nomination of the four sites mentioned has greatly increased awareness and interest in the country as a major tourist destination.

"We have already met with all the stakeholders involved to disseminate our call for support to their offices in Metro Manila and in the provinces. What we really need right now is for all sectors involved in tourism to make concerted efforts to support our bid, realizing that success in these areas will put the country in the world tourism map and, thus, will redound to the benefit of the entire country's tourism industry," he said.

The Search for the New7Wonders of Nature was recently launched by the New7Wonders Foundation, a non-government organization based in Switzerland and run by a Swiss-born Canadian filmmaker and author, Bernard Weber.

Those who want to participate can cast their votes on-line through the Internet.

Proponents of the Search campaign hopes to contribute to the protection of the world's natural heritage sites and foster respect for the cultural diversity on the planet.

Meanwhile, a mountainous area in Northern Luzon, which features a remarkable forest ecosystem and an important battleground during World War II, will be classified soon as a national heritage and protected area.

The House of Representatives recently approved on third and final reading House Bill no. 4968 declaring the Besang Pass Natural Monument located in the town of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.

The proposed measure establishes Besang Pass, with a total land area of 1,121 hectares, as a permanent component of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) under the category of a national monument.

House Deputy Speaker Eric Singson (2nd District, Ilocos Sur), principal author of the bill, said "Besang Pass Natural Monument as a protected area aims primarily to protect and conserve its scenic, cultural and historical features including the diverse terrestrial resources found therein."
Singson described the area's remarkable features as having a pine and mossy forest ecosystems with rugged terrain and a fresh cool climate, unique to areas with high altitudinal range.
He described the area as "home to various endemic wildlife resources of floral and fauna species that enhance the area's biological diversity and vital support system."

Singson said Besang Pass is one of the country's historical places where Filipino guerrillas took a last stand and fought the invading Japanese imperial army in World War II.
He said it was in the Battle of Besang Pass where the retreating Japanese soldiers headed by Gen. Yamashita were defeated and annihilated by Filipino guerrillas.

"Besang Pass is not only reminiscent of Filipino nationalism but also an excellent landscape of the country," he said. (PNA)DCT/LGI


Source: Lilybeth G. Ison

Thanks to Macapinlac, Yvette Lee and nomad4ever for the pictures.

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