The world-famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol has a huge impact in the nomination of Bohol as one of the seven (7) geoparks. Bohol is nominated by the Global Geoparks Council of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Council met in Satun, Thailand and online on September 4 and 5, 2022, to assess 9 new applications and 28 others for re-validations from current UNESCO Global Geoparks, all of which were submitted between 2019 and 2022.
The other six are: Ijen, Indonesia; Maros Pangkep, Indonesia; Aras, Iran; Waitaki Whitestone, New Zealand; Kinabalu, Malaysia; and Khorat, Thailand.
Gov. Aris Aumentado said that Bohol is proud of that and the Chocolate Hills contribute much to the tourism in the province. He added that Chocolate Hills could be instrument for more come-ons to be discovered in the province.
Aside from the Chocolate Hills, Bohol also has some geosites like the Danajon Double Barrier Reefs (one of the only six in the world), the Alicia Schist, the Lamanok Island in Anda, and the Princess Manan-aw Cave in Alicia.
The council said that in coming up of seven (7) geoparks nominations, including Bohol, and endorsed it to its executive board for its endorsement during the 2023 spring session was an offshoot of the thorough examination in the presence of 73 observers and representatives of more them 20 member-states.
“In accordance with Section 2.10 and 5.5 of the Operational Guidelines for UNESCO Global Geoparks, the Council shall present a report on its work and decisions to the UNESCO Global Geoparks Bureau. The report will then be circulated to Member States and Associate Member States of UNESCO. Should the UNESCO Executive Board endorse the outcome of the Council during its spring 2023 session, then the designation of these new sites would bring the total number of sites in the Global UNESCO Geoparks Network from 177 to 184 in 48 countries, welcoming New Zealand and the Philippines as new members.
Chocolate Hills are “The unique karst landscape is composed of smooth, uniformly shaped conical isolated hills that cover a vast area (14,435 ha) in the central portion of the island. The site was once a platform of thick widespread buildup of coral reefs that thrived during the Pliocene, approximately 2-5 million years ago and later to form a sedimentary formation. Soon, this limestone formation was raised above the sea level and fractured. Rainwater, streams and groundwater dissolved the limestone, gradually forming the present landscape of cone karst.” It is said that there are some 1,776 hills located within the territorial jurisdiction of mainly in Carmen, Batuan and Sagbayan towns.
This is a good news for Bohol to boost and revive the tourism industry after the pandemic and several controversies.