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The Philippine Islands: A Land of Natural Beauty

f you can get far away from Metro Manila, you will see that the Philippines is truly a beautiful place. The archipelago, with its 7,107 islands is a veritable island paradise. The great diversity in flora, fauna, and geology, make the Philippines a much sought-after destination for visitors from around the world.

Reefs support an abundant variety of marine life and help the tourism industry of the country.The fact that the country currently has three sites nominated in the New Seven Wonders of Nature contest, speaks highly of how the natural wonders of the Philippines is perceived by Filipinos and foreigners alike. The global search for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, is currently in its nominating phase, which will last till the end of 2008 (visit the website). On January, 2009, the top 21 nominees will be selected as the shortlist of candidates and a second round of voting will ensue. By the summer of 2010, the seven candidates with the highest number of votes will each become one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

Not surprisingly, the Tubbataha Reefs, a marine sanctuary in the Sulu Sea is currently in 8th place. For decades, the reefs suffered extensive damage until the Philippine government finally intervened in 1988 and declared the Reefs a National Marine Park. Chocolate Hills' grass turns brown during summer giving them their chocolate color.Today the Tubbataha Reefs are once again filled with marine life and a wonder to behold.

Ranking right behind the Tubbataha Reefs are the Chocolate Hills of Bohol in 9th place. This interesting geological formation is composed of approximately 1,268 cone-shaped hills spread across 50 square kilometers. During Summer, their grass covering turns brown, giving rise to their name.

Entrance to Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River National Park in Palawan.The last Philippine nominee is Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River National Park which is currently in 15th place. The navigable underground river is 8.2 kilometers long and is considered by many to be the world's longest. A tranquil lagoon framed by lush vegetation surrounds the entrance to this Subterranean River.

If you've been to any of these places and would like to vote for them, be sure to do so between now and December 31, 2008. If any one—or even all three—make it to the top 21, then you can vote for them again in 2009, with the hope that they become one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Click here to vote.

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