Philippine wonders of nature continue to captivate people the world over.
Palawan's Subterranean River, Sulu Sea's Tubbataha Reef and Bohol's Chocolate Hills continue to top the list of the ongoing New 7 Wonders campaign.
Tourism Secretary Joseph "Ace" Durano, said "The response of people and support from our fellow Filipinos are very evident in this turn out, and we can expect increased tourist awareness of Philippine wonders and the country's beautiful treasures."
Esteemed as one of the real highlights of Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park still is at the top spot.
The limestone cave that the river passes through is thought to be one of the longest navigable river-traversed tunnels in the world, and travelers say that a journey into the darkness of this riverine cave is a truly unique experience.
Durano added, "Having three nominees from the country gives us a strong hope to be included in the National Qualification round, set next year."
Following in 4th rank is the famous Chocolate Hills, a sea of grassy hills that stretch as far as the horizon.
Named so because of their chocolate brown color in the dry season, these hills have become a near ubiquitous icon for Bohol.
Scientists explain that the 1,268 near-identical hills, with sizes ranging from 40 to 120 meters, are the result of the uplifting of ancient coral-reef deposits, followed by erosion and weathering.
Eduardo Jarque, Jr., DOT Undersecretary for Tourism Planning and Promotions, explained, "The Philippine wonders are real gems in this worldwide campaign. Our country is blessed with natural wonders that were not created or significantly altered for aesthetic purposes -– a basic guiding criterion in the search."
Protected marine sanctuary Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, ranks 5th. Divers from different parts of the world have noted its beauty and the diverse species present in the site. Among these are manta rays, lionfish, tortoises, clownfish and sharks, including many that are endangered.
Only one nominee from country will be allowed to proceed for the next stage.According to the organizers, until the end of 2008, countries with more than one nominee will be racing to choose the national representative that is allowed to continue.
"Though choosing between three different yet equally unique wonders may be a difficult task, Filipinos should carry on in casting their votes and making their mark," noted Jarque.
He added that people knowing about the existence of the Philippine wonders of nature is one of the most effective ways of enticing them to visit.
"The Philippines is fortunate indeed to be rich in natural resources. We join the campaign in promoting nature's wonders from all over the world," he remarked.
Guided with the slogan 'If we want to save anything, we first need to truly appreciate it!', the New 7 Wonders campaign is aimed at more awareness and more tourism income to help natural treasures be better preserved for future generations.
Following the resounding success of the New7Wonders of the World campaign, in which more than 100 million votes were cast and which took democracy to a global level, they believe that New7Wonders of Nature campaign will significantly raise awareness of the incredible variety and beauty of nature around us.
There are three major stages in the campaign: the Nomination Stage, the National Qualification Stage, and the Finalist Stage, where 21 finalists will be chosen.
For the Finalist stage, the 21 New 7 Wonders of Nature Finalists will be put to popular vote in early 2009.
Voting will continue throughout 2009 and into 2010. During this time, the New7Wonders World Tour will visit each of the Finalists to allow them to present themselves to the voters across the globe.
To view the live ranking and cast a vote for the Philippine wonders of nature go to new7wonders