Bohol Island Is The Philippines’ First UNESCO Global Geopark

The island is one of 18 new Global Geoparks announced last Wednesday.

On May 24, the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) endorsed the addition of 18 new sites from all over the world to its list of Global Geoparks. 

This brings the total up to 195 Geoparks from 48 countries, all of which cover a surface area of 486,709 square kilometers.

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UNESCO’s Global Geopark designation was started in 2015 to recognize sites that demonstrate “geological heritage of international significance.”

Palayan Valley at Barangay Tipolo, Municipality of Ubay
Palayan Valley at Barangay Tipolo, Municipality of Ubay | Image via Facebook @Boholtourismph

Aside from their historical significance, these sites must also be managed with a “holistic concept of protection, education, and sustainable development.”

In the recent announcement, the organization named the Philippines’ Bohol Island as one of the new Global Geoparks. 

Other newcomers in the list include sites in Brazil, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

Camugao Falls, Balilihan
Camugao Falls, Balilihan | Image via Facebook @Boholtourismph

“The 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,” UNESCO wrote in a statement.

The statement also highlighted the island’s “karstic geosites such as caves, sinkholes, and cone karst,” mentioning the famous cone-shaped Chocolate Hills as well as the Danajon Double Barrier Reef.

The reef is one-of-a-kind in Southeast Asia and is one of only six documented double barrier reefs in the world.

White sand beach in Bohol
Bohol’s white sand beaches | Image via Instagram @boholbeachclub

Bohol Island, home to 1.4 million inhabitants, has a growing tourism industry thanks to its “white sand beaches, diving spots, magnificent geological formations, rich biodiversity, and cultural heritage.”

In a Facebook post, the Bohol Tourism Office wrote, “May this milestone inspire us more to collaborate for the sustainable development of our geopark and serve as an inspiration for other regions and provinces in the Philippines to follow suit.”

Banner image via Facebook @Boholtourismph.

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