One Esplanade Grounds, Pasay City
21 April 2012
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the entire nation in celebrating the official inauguration of the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) in Palawan as one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of Nature (N7WN) in a grand ceremony held at the One Esplanade Grounds in Pasay City.
The President, together with Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and several Cabinet secretaries received the award plaque on behalf of the Filipino people from Bernard Weber, President and Founder of the New7Wonders Foundation.
In his message, President Aquino recalled his amazing experience in exploring the 8.2 kilometer navigable underground river (reputed to be the world’s longest) for the first time last 9 February 2011. “With walls and caverns that have been shaped by the elements and extraordinary formations of stalactites and stalagmites, the Underground River is a true example of the artistry of nature, when it is preserved and cared for by man,” the President said.
He added the recent discovery of Italian scientists and researchers of the La Venta Geographical Association “in one of the limestone walls of the cave fossils of a sea cow, or a dugong called Sirenia” estimated to be 20 million years old or dates back to the Miocene period.
The President invited everyone to visit the acclaimed site after last year’s total of more than 235,000 tourists, while at the same time reminding the people to act as responsible stewards. “Let us protect it, preserve it, and make sure that, as more tourists come to visit, the river and its surroundings retain their natural wonder. This means valuing our natural resources and ensuring the environmental sustainability of all our development efforts,” President Aquino stated.
Aside from the Puerto Princesa Underground River of the Philippines, the six other winning countries of the New Seven Wonders of Nature include — Amazon Rainforest (Brazil), Halong Bay (Vietnam), Iguazu Falls (Argentina and Brazil), Jeju Island (South Korea), Komodo National Park (Indonesia), and Table Mountain (South Africa).
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