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First in the Philippines: Bohol named as UNESCO Global Geopark

Chocolate Hills (Photo from Provincial Government of Bohol via UNESCO)

The island-province of Bohol in the Visayas has been designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark, boosting its bid to promote sustainable tourism and attract more scientific research.

The designation was announced by UNESCO on May 24, 2023, nearly five years after the Provincial Government of Bohol submitted its application for the designation.

Bohol was among 18 new designations announced by UNESCO. There are now 195 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 48 countries, covering a total surface area of 486,709 square kilometers.

UNESCO defines a global geopark as a single, unified geographical area where landscapes and sites of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

Designating an area as a global geopark raises awareness of its geological heritage, gives the people a sense of pride in their region, and paves the way for sustainable tourism and new revenue streams.

In a statement announcing the new designations, UNESCO cited Bohol's karstic geosites such as caves, sinkholes and cone karst.

At the center of the Bohol Global Geopark are the cone-shaped Chocolate Hills, once a platform of coral reefs that evolved into a limestone formation which was raised above sea level and fractured.

Bohol is also home to the Danajon Double Barrier Reef along its northern coast, which is the only one of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Other geosites in Bohol are the three-tiered Can-umantad Falls and the uplifted marine terrace in Loon, a former intertidal zone that is now completely dry land after it was raised by around 1.5 meters following the destructive magnitude 7.2 earthquake in October 2013.

Bohol listed 15 other geosites:

  • Alicia Schist – Bohol’s Oldest Rock

  • The Alicia Panoramic Park

  • Maribojoc Uplifted Marine Terrace

  • Baclayon Ancient Marine Terrace

  • Hinagdanan Cave

  • Cagongcagong Cave System: Princess Manan-aw Cave

  • Trinidad Cave System

  • Lamanok Island

  • Canawa Cold Spring

  • Can-umantad Falls

  • Cave Pools of Anda

  • Inabanga Fault Scarp

  • Cadapdapan Rice Terraces

  • Baclayon Church

  • Dauis Church

  • Eskaya Tribe

Tourism Secretary Christina G. Frasco was. confident that the designation of Bohol as a UNESCO Global Geopark will attract more travelers who appreciate the "geological and ecological diversity the Philippines has to offer."

"We invite travelers from around the world to come and explore Bohol Island, which assures an unforgettable journey of immersion in nature, heritage, culture, and biodiversity," she said. (MVI/Ventures Cebu)

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