MANILA– President Benigno S. Aquino III said that the government has identified several new eco-tourism destinations in the country apart from those which are already existing as he encouraged local and foreign tourists to visit and personally experience the world-class tourist spots in the Philippines that serve as the pride of the Filipino people.
In his message during the official inauguration of the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) as one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of Nature (N7WN) at the One Esplanade Open Grounds in Pasay City on Friday night, President Aquino bared that the various concerned agencies of the government has been focused in promoting the country’s existing and newly-identified tourist spots that may provide more economic opportunities for the people.
“I am happy to tell you that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism are working together to market even more natural wonders in our country as eco-tourism destinations. I understand that 78 of them have been identified in addition to those that we already have,” the President stressed.
The Chief Executive noted the potential contribution of the tourism industry in providing more employment opportunities.
“While they may not have the acclaim and titles that the Puerto Princesa Underground River has garnered, I can guarantee you that they will be equally representative of the beauty and the diversity of our country and they will undoubtedly boost our tourism industry as well,” the President said, adding that tourism creates opportunities for our countrymen and has an immediate palpable effect on our economy.
“I am told that for each tourist that sets foot on our shores, one new job is created. Each tourist will have travel agents fixing the itineraries, tour guides who will show them around and merchants who will hopefully be able to sell them our locally made delicacies and handicrafts and a lot of others who are at the service industry,” President Aquino said.
The President also shared with the people his personal experiences in visiting the PPUR and the amazing sight of the naturally-carved formations within the navigable river.
“Not long ago, I had a chance to explore the Puerto Princesa Underground River myself. It was an amazing experience. Journeying down a river that winds through a subterranean cave system is like traveling back in time with walls and caverns that have been shaped by the elements and extraordinary formations of stalactites and stalagmites,” the President said.
“The Underground River is a true example of the artistry of nature when it is preserved and cared for by man. The river has also helped us understand our Earth a little more. Words alone cannot do justice to the Underground River, he noted.
According to the President, one must experience it firsthand to be able to understand exactly why it is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. “So please consider this as an open invitation to visit, if not, revisit the Puerto Princesa Undeground River and see for yourselves what millions of people around the world voted for and ultimately realize that, yes, it is indeed more fun in the Philippines,” he said.
Puerto Princesa Underground River is located some 50 kilometers north of the city of Puerto Princesa, in Palawan. 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.