Bohol named Unesco Global Geopark, 1st for Philippines  

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
Bohol named Unesco Global Geopark, 1st for Philippines  
File photo shows Chocolate Hills in Bohol.
Philstar.com / Jan Milo Severo

MANILA, Philippines - Bohol has been named as the Philippines’ first Global Geopark, joining sites and landscapes of international geological significance.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has endorsed the addition of 18 new sites from around the world, including the Philippines, to its network of outstanding geoparks, showcasing some of the most beautiful sites of natural beauty around the globe.

The 18 new designations bring to 195 UNESCO Geoparks in 48 countries, covering a total surface area of 486,709 square kilometers, equivalent to twice the size of the United Kingdom.

“Two UNESCO member states are joining the network for the first time: New Zealand and the Philippines,” UNESCO said in a statement.

The other new Global Geoparks are Cacapava and Quarta Colonia (Brazil), Lavreotiki (Greece); Ijen, Maros Pangkep, Merangin Jambi and Raja Ampat (Indonesia); Aras and Tabas (Iran); Hakusan Tedorigawa (Japan); Mount Kinabalu (Malaysia); Waitaki Whitestone (New Zealand); Sunnhordland (Norway); Jeonbuk West Coast (Republic of Korea); Cabo Ortegal (Spain); Khorat (Thailand), and Mourne Gullion Strangford (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

Bohol Island’s Global Geopark status was announced during the 216th session of UNESCO’s executive board, which was held in Paris, France.

The UN agency said Bohol Island’s geological identity has been pieced together over 150 million years, as periods of tectonic turbulence have raised the island from the ocean depths.

The geopark abounds in karstic geosites such as caves, sinkholes and cone karst, including the famous cone-shaped Chocolate Hills at the center of the geopark.

UNESCO described the Philippine area as having “scenic and varied landforms and structural features.”

“The Geopark features one of the six double barrier reefs in the world and the only barrier reef in Southeast Asia,” it said.

The UNESCO Global Geopark designation, created in 2015, recognizes “geological heritage of international significance.”

Geoparks serve local communities by combining the conservation with public outreach and a sustainable approach to development.

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