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The Wunderground River |


The Wunderground River

WONDERBLOG - Ping Medina -

The Puerto Princesa underground river is nominated as one of the Seven Wonders Of Nature. It is the longest navigable underground river in the world (8.2 kilometers) that is accessible to the regular tourist population. It boasts impressive formations stalactites and stalagmites molded over thousands of years. The river flows directly to the South China Sea, where a white sand beach awaits at the egress.

From a long list of 440 picturesque locations around the world, we now have the huge honor of being part of the 28 finalists. Our magnificent river is now in the same breath as titans of the natural world like the Amazon Rainforest, Grand Canyon, and Galapagos Island.

Don’t be daunted, though. Just think of Manny “The Mexicutioner” Pacquiao, and how he beheaded all of Mexico’s boxing legends.

Gift From God

When Peru’s Machu Picchu became one of the new Seven Wonders Of The World, the ancient site gained a 72-percent boost in tourism. Aside from the prestige it brings, this competition also creates more business that means more jobs.

According to director Dante Nico Garcia, who grew up in Palawan and has been living in Puerto Princesa for a year now, “It’s the first destination for visitors. Before, flights to Puerto Princesa were only two or four in a day. Since being shortlisted in the competition, it’s now up to 10 per day—all fully booked.”

Dante shares that the administrators of the subterranean river, limit the influx of people to 600 tourists a day — a big step in protecting the site.

Noel Cabangon, one of the most active advocates of the campaign, could only say “awesome” over and over again.

“The boat trip to the mouth of the cave is already a big wow. Lush vegetation everywhere, it shows they really take care of the place. There are even monitor lizards crawling around. Maliliit lang naman! (But they’re small!).”

I’ve never been to the subterranean river but I’ve asked friends and strangers what they think of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The consensus is that it’s a “gift from God,” and quite surprisingly, a lot of them mentioned that the tour guides are hilarious.

But a friend gave me a warning: When you look up at the stalactites, refrain from opening your mouth in awe. There are bats flying around, with bellies full of fruits and berries.

Every Vote Counts

To spread the word, there is always the ever-reliable Internet. As of the last count, we have 21.5 million Facebook users, ranking us fifth in the globe. In terms of Twitter addiction, we are ranked ninth with close to 15 million users. So it’s really simple: Tweet or update your status like you normally do, except include the words “Puerto Princesa underground river.”

When explaining the voting mechanics, please say that the best way to vote is through text messaging. We all know that the Philippines is one of the most text-crazy countries in the world. The average Filipino sends 12 text messages a day. That’s an average of 400 million daily. So come on, what’s P15 or 30 worth of SMS today?

If W.O.W. stands for Wonders Of The World, then Wonders Of Nature should translate to W.O.N. So start splurging on load and send that phone bill through the roof!

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Vote as many times as you want! Text PPUR (1 vote), PPUR7 (7 votes) or PPUR15 (15 votes) to 2816. Voting ends November 11, 2011.

There will be a concert on June 5, 4p.m. at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Major acts like Ogie Alcasid, Noel Cabangon, Jim Paredes, Nina, Gloc 9, Up Dharma Down and Rocksteddy will be playing at Tunog Wunderground tomorrow.

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