Friday, June 10, 2011

New 7 Wonders of Nature 2011: Government campaigns for Palawan Underground River

The New 7 Wonders of Nature finalists have been determined and the Palawan Underground River or the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines made it to the list.

PNoy, photographed inside the Palawan Underground River

Philippine government officials including President Nonoy Aquino (PNoy) have appealed to Filipinos to vote for the country's entry in the online contest. They are optimistic that the majestic underground river will get plenty of votes since there are eight million Filipino mobile phone users nationwide.

Filipinos abroad were also called to help in the country's endeavor by the different embassies, consular offices, and labour offices of the Philippine government overseas.

To vote, just text PPUR and send it to 2861 or log on to to cast your votes online.

New7Wonders of Nature was started in 2007. It is a global campaign which aims to create a list of seven natural wonders in the world through an online poll. It was initiated by New7Wonders Foundation, a Swiss government-controlled foundation.

After over 100 million votes cast in 2007, the 440 entries is now shortlisted to 28 official finalists. The final voting has started and will end on November 11, 2011.

Meanwhile, here are excerpts of PNoy's speech at the official launch of the Puerto Princesa Underground River Campaign on June 6, 2011, as posted on the Official Gazette:

The Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan, Philippines is composed of a long mountain landscape and a beautiful, breathtaking subterranean river that winds through a cave that has been carved into shape by the giant hand of nature. So it comes as no surprise that the Puerto Princesa Underground River has made it as one of the 28 finalists in the global search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

The competition is tough, but if there is a site that should be in the top seven, then it should definitely be the Puerto Princesa Underground River. That is, of course, my unbiased opinion.

Aside from its staggering length and shape, within it lie unique discoveries, which were, until recently, unknown even to those who had frequented the site. For the last several months, an Italian group called La Venta has been conducting studies there, and they have made some stunning discoveries—such as the fossils of sea cows or Sirenia dating back to the Miocene period—roughly 20 million years ago. Aside from being rare fossils previously found only in Java, Indonesia, these findings also emphasize further the sheer historic value of our Underground River and of the country we live in.

I urge everyone to take part in this democracy-in-action on behalf of our own environment. By voting online at, or—simpler—by texting PPUR to 2861, we can help the Puerto Princesa Underground River, as well as the Philippines, garner a distinct spot on the international tourist map. I leave the mode of choice to you, but please remember to vote, and vote to the maximum.

While winning a place in the top seven bolsters our sense of national pride, recognition is not the only thing we can gain. We must also remember that the tourists we can potentially attract will redound to thousands of employment opportunities; our success here will ultimately breed success for Filipinos everywhere.