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Bohol resort draws flak due to its proximity to Unesco Heritage Geopark Chocolate Hills

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The Chocolate Hills in Bohol is one of the most iconic tourist spots in the country, known for its mesmerizing mound-shaped hills that turn a shade of brown during the dry season. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared it the first global geo-park in the Philippines in 2023.

In this regard, some netizens were quick to point out a perceived disturbance to the renowned beauty of the Chocolate Hills, highlighting a photo circulating online that allegedly shows a development built between some of the hills.

The photo featured an aerial view of The Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort in Sagbayan, Bohol where its structures and amenities were visibly built by the foot of the hills. This drew concerns from the public, with many pondering why and how the Department of Natural Resources (DENR) allowed the construction of such a development in the area.

However, in an interview with Cebu media outlet The Freeman in 2023, Julieta Sablas, the administrator and sister of the owner of The Captain’s Peak, Edgar Buton, stated that the resort had undergone the proper process for its construction. She further said that they also presented a proposal to the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) of the DENR when changes were made to the approved plan regarding the location of some of the amenities. 

As the tourist spot is a natural monument, the Chocolate Hills are under the protection of the Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992, which prohibited several acts such as “hunting, destroying, disturbing, or mere possession of any plants or animals or products derived therefrom without a permit from the Management Board,” “mutilating, defacing or destroying objects of natural beauty, or objects of interest to cultural communities (of scenic value),” as well as “constructing or maintaining any kind of structure, fence or enclosures, conducting any business enterprise without a permit.”


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