22 July 2009

RP Site Enters Final Phase of Envi Poll

Subterranean River National Park
The Philippine's Subterranean River National Park in Palawan province is competing with 27 other spectacular natural landmarks in the final phase of the global poll to choose the "New 7 Wonders of Nature."

The Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon rain forest, the Dead Sea, Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Ecuador's Galapagos islands are also among the 28 finalists, according to the organization New 7 Wonders led by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber.

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. The National Park is located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of the island. The City Government of Puerto Princesa has managed the National Park since 1992.

It features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km. navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world's longest.

The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

People can vote by Internet or phone. The winners will be announced in 2011 and share in the glory already enjoyed by the seven man-made wonders chosen two years ago.

Over 1 billion people are expected to join in the voting, said Weber.

"This campaign should contribute to the appreciation — to the knowledge — of our environment and not just the one in our country but worldwide," he told The Associated Press. "If we or our children want to save anything, we should first appreciate it."

A panel of experts chose the finalists among the 77 nominees that gained the most votes in an early round of polling. People had suggested 261 landmarks in countries all over the world.