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FACT CHECK: Mati City’s famous tourist site ‘Sleeping Dinosaur’ isn’t an island

Ferdinand Zuasola

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FACT CHECK: Mati City’s famous tourist site ‘Sleeping Dinosaur’ isn’t an island
While popularly known as the 'Sleeping Dinosaur Island,' the land formation is actually a promontory – an area of land sticking out into the sea

The claim: The “Sleeping Dinosaur,” a land formation in Mati City’s Pujada Bay, has long been called an island by locals and visitors.

The site is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the provincial capital of Davao Oriental.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: Numerous published articles promoting the “Sleeping Dinosaur” as a tourist attraction have referred to the site as an island. 

Tourist operators in Mati City, as well as videos and articles posted on social media, also continue to refer to the land formation as an island. 

A promontory, not island: Davao Oriental State University president Dr. Roy Ponce, who has conducted extensive research on Pujada Bay, told Rappler that the “Sleeping Dinosaur” can be more appropriately described as a peninsula or promontory, not an island.

Articles posted on the Davao Oriental government website, such as these posts from 2019 and 2020, also refer to the land formation as a promontory. The provincial government of Davao Oriental also called the land feature as a “Sleeping Dinosaur” and did not refer to it as an island in a Facebook post published on April 4, 2023.

The Cambridge dictionary defines a promontory as “a narrow area of high land that sticks out into the sea” while an island is “a piece of land completely surrounded by water.”

World renowned: The “Sleeping Dinosaur,” which resembles a reclining T-Rex, is part of the world-famous and protected 20,887-hectare Pujada Bay, which has been recognized as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

To encourage tourism in the area, the local government has constructed a view deck in Barangay Badas and a trekking trail on the site. – Rappler.com

Ferdinand Zuasola is an Aries Rufo Journalism Fellow.

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