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Bohol Resort in UNESCO Geopark Sparks Outrage

A resort located amidst the scenic Chocolate Hills in Bohol has come under fire from Filipinos who are questioning how such a development was allowed within the country's first UNESCO Global Geopark.


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) confirmed that a resort operating within the Chocolate Hills in Bohol was issued a temporary closure order last year. 


A travel vlog highlighting Captain's Peak Garden and Resort in Sagbayan, Bohol has ignited controversy among Filipinos. The resort, situated amidst rolling hills, has raised concerns about how it was allowed to operate within the country's first UNESCO Global Geopark, the Chocolate Hills.


The vlog, posted by "Ren The Adventurer" on March 6, has garnered significant attention, with almost 3 million views and sparking outrage online. Many Filipinos expressed dismay, calling the resort an "eyesore" that disrupts the natural beauty of the Chocolate Hills.


Social media users questioned the resort's approval process. Criticisms focused on the resort's visual impact and potential environmental concerns, particularly regarding water usage for its swimming pool.


Several users demanded the closure of the resort, emphasizing the importance of protecting the UNESCO Geopark. Questions were also raised regarding how permits were granted for the resort's construction in a protected area.



According to the DENR's social media statement, the closure order for Captain's Peak Resort was issued in September 2023 due to the resort's lack of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). The Chocolate Hills themselves were declared a protected area in 1997.


The DENR clarified that while private land ownership within protected areas is sometimes recognized, development is subject to restrictions and regulations. These are outlined in an Environmental Impact Statement, which is required to obtain an ECC.


The viral vlog focused on the apparent contradiction of a commercial resort existing within a UNESCO Heritage Site and geopark. While the UNESCO marker is located in a different town, the Chocolate Hills span several municipalities, including where the resort is situated.


Senator Nancy Binay expressed strong disapproval of the resort's construction. She questioned the environmental awareness of government agencies tasked with protecting the Chocolate Hills, given the resort's features like cottages and a swimming pool.


The DENR's regional director has directed an inspection of the resort to ensure compliance with the closure order.



Meanwhile, the Bohol Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office said it would also conduct an investigation.

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