Underground River a globally-important wetland

Palawan's Underground River is now included in the Ramsar Convention List

The entrance to the Puerto Princesa Underground River, June 21, 2011. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Mike Gonzalez.

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines – The Underground River, Palawan’s main tourist draw, has been formally included in the Ramsar Convention list of internationally important wetlands.

This was disclosed by Mayor Edward Hagedorn who said he was informed about this by officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) attending an ongoing convention in Bucharest, Romania.

“We are so pleased with our inclusion in Ramsar List because this adds to the reputation of the Underground River as a crown jewel of Philippine natural treasures that we should protect and conserve for future generations,” Hagedorn said.

Ratified in 1971, the Ramsar Convention is an international agreement binding at least 160 member-nations and focused on the protection and preservation of globally important wetland ecosystems.

The River’s inclusion in the Ramsar List means that the conservation of the entire marine and terrestrial ecosystem connected with the Underground River will be monitored under the convention’s scientific standards and protocols.

The Underground River has already been listed as a World Heritage Site under the United Nations system of conserving globally important areas of biodiversity.

Hagedorn noted that the global status reached by the Underground River, bolstered by its designation this year as one of the 7 New Natural Wonders, “will ensure the continuity of the efforts we have started in the conservation of the UR even under future administrations.”

Tourist arrivals in Puerto Princesa have multiplied following its strong finish in the Internet voting campaign to designate the world’s top natural attractions.

The Underground River tour includes mainly a guided paddle boat cruise of the interiors of the complex karst formations of the St Paul mountains straddling the northwestern coast of Puerto Princesa City. – Rappler.com