Official inauguration of the PP underground river as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
Official Inauguration of Puerto Princesa Underground River, Philippines
MANILA, Philippines: The first phase of the Official Inauguration ceremonies celebrating the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) as one of the New7Wonders of Nature began to day in Manila. The event was attended by Philippines President Benigno Aquino III, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and New7Wonders Founder-President Bernard Weber.
Dignitaries from Argentina, South Africa, Vietnam and Korea also attended the inauguration and artists, including Noel Cabangon, Joey Ayala and Sarah Geronimo, performed at the event.
In his remarks, Bernard Weber said, “I am proud and delighted to open this first ever Official Inauguration event of a New 7 Wonder of Nature. We are indeed living a historical moment… Never before in mankind’s history was it possible to have a global vote, have worldwide consensus, and never before has Nature reached the same global consideration as the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World.
With this official recognition and Inauguration, Puerto Princesa Underground River has become part of Global Memory at the beginning of the third millennium — 7 things that everyone on our planet can and will remember!”
The Official Inauguration ceremonies for the PPUR continued with the unveiling of a specially-cast, commemorative bronze plaque at the site itself in Palawan Province in the Philippines. Afterwards, members of the public and dignitaries attended a gala reception hosted by Mayor Edward Hagedorn in Puerto Princesa city, 50 kilometres south of the newly-inaugurated Wonder of Nature.
Official inauguration of the Iguazu Falls as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
Official Inauguration of Iguazu Falls, Argentina & Brazil
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: The Official Inauguration of Iguazu Falls as one of the New7Wonders of Nature took place in Brazil and Argentina at the end of May 2012. Because the candidacy of Iguazu Falls was shared jointly by Argentina and Brazil the inaugural ceremonies were held in both Puerto Iguazú in Argentina and Foz do Iguaçu in Paraná state in Brazil.
The week-long ceremonies marking the listing of Iguazu Falls as one of the New7Wonders of Nature concluded in Buenos Aires with a crowded press conference at the Ministry of Tourism during which the specially-cast bronze plaque commemorating the election of the site was unveiled.
The positive effects of the new status of Iguazu Falls were emphasized by Enrique Meyer, Argentina’s Minister of Tourism, when he noted that figures for visits to the site in recent months had broken all records. Echoing this, Maurice Closs, Governor of Misiones Province, said that the Falls were destined to become an even bigger attraction, thanks to the global spotlight that is now being directed at them. “They will become our main destination in national and international tourism,” he said, adding that “We will work to ensure that the benefits of this Wonder will be experienced throughout the Province of Missions and throughout the Republic of Argentina.”
Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, thanked the Minister and the Governor for their dedication to the New7Wonders of Nature campaign. “Your shared our vision and thanks to your energy Iguazu Falls are now part of Global Memory.”
Official Inauguration of the Amazon as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
Official New7Wonders Inauguration of the Amazon in Peru
IQUITOS, Peru: As indigenous ethnic groups sailed by in barges decorated with motifs representing their traditions, the Amazon was officially inaugurated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature in the Peruvian rainforest city of Iquitos.
The specially-commissioned bronze plaque commemorating listing the Amazon in the “canon of seven” was jointly unveiled by Ollanta Humala, President of Peru and Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders. Among the many dignitaries present were Iván Vásquez Valera, president of Loreto, the Amazonian region of which Iquitos is the capital, and representatives from the host nations of the other Wonders of Nature.
Describing the occasion as “a historic day”, Bernard Weber said that “the Amazon is now part of the Global Memory of seven places that all people on Earth will remember and preserve for future generations.”
In his speech, President Humala declared that he would ask the Peruvian Congress to approve the funding of a “museum of the Amazon” and he promised more aid for the Loreto region. “We treasure this natural wonder and we are committed to making it available to the world,” he said. “People come from everywhere to visit our Amazon and we will receive them here as brothers, with the warmth of Loreto, with the joy of this earth,” he added.
Special recognition was given during the ceremonies to representatives of indigenous peoples for whom the Amazon is the source of life and cradle of culture. Many indigenous people, such as the Aguaruna, Cocama-Cocamilla and the Urarina groups, inhabit the Peruvian rainforest, some in relative isolation from the rest of the world.
Official Inauguration of Jeju Island as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
Official New7Wonders Inauguration of Jeju Island
JEJU CITY, South Korea: In front of a crowd of 20,000 people on Iho Beach adjoining Jeju City, the Official Inauguration of Jeju Island as one of the New7Wonders of Nature took place today. Among those taking part in the ceremony were Professor Chung Un-chan, former Prime Minister of South Korea, Jeju Governor Woo Keun-min, Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, and Jean-Paul de la Fuente, Director of New7Wonders.
The unveiling of the specially-cast bronze plaque marking the listing of Jeju Island as a member of the “canon of 7” was the highlight of a spectacular show featuring traditional shaman rituals, music, dance, drumming and the largest-ever fire, flame and light spectacle ever seen on Jeju Island.
Official inauguration of the Table Mountain as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
Official New7Wonders Inauguration of Table Mountain in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN, South Africa: The Official Inauguration of Table Mountain as one of the New7Wonders of Nature took place at a ceremony held at the foot of the iconic mountain.
Patricia de Lille, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, unveiled the specially-cast bronze plaque in front of 41 international delegates and said the title would bring significant economic and socio-economic benefits to South Africa.
“Table Mountain’s inauguration as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature is a worthy recognition of this symbol that we all own and cherish,” said De Lille. “While it defines our city, it is much greater than it. It is a natural heritage that belongs to all South Africans and, we believe, the world. I would like to thank everyone who voted for Table Mountain to win this precious accolade.”
Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, said the inauguration marked the culmination of an inspiring campaign of which all South Africans could be proud.
Official inauguration of Halong Bay as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
Official Inauguration of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
HANOI, Vietnam: In front of cheering spectators in My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan thanked the Vietnamese at home and abroad, who had voted for Halong Bay. “I also hope that local authorities and government agencies will increase their efforts to preserve the natural values of the bay in the near future,” he added during the unveiling of the plaque listing Halong Bay as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, praised the people of Vietnam for their commitment to the four-year campaign and urged them to be careful custodians of their Wonder.
The unveiled New7Wonders of Nature plaque was incorporated into a choral-balletic performance that paid tribute to Vietnam’s history and culture.
On 1 May, a very special day in the calendar of Vietnam, the celebrations moved to Halong Bay itself, the place that has become part of Global Memory by being added to the New7Wonders “canon of 7”. Against the backdrop of Halong Bay with its boats at anchor, the stage was set for a night of drama, music, colour, fireworks and fun. The ethnic groups that make up Vietnam’s Quang Ninh province, including the Kinh, Dao, Tay, San Diu and San Chi peoples, also took part in the Halong Bay New7Wonders of Nature celebrations.
The Official Inauguration events in Vietnam were unforgettably happy, vivid and dynamic. New7Wonders is grateful to all those who made them such a success.
Official inauguration of Komodo Island as one of the New7Wonders of Nature
New7Wonders Official Inauguration of Komodo
DENPASAR, Bali, Indonesia: Komodo National Park has been officially inaugurated as one of the New7Wonders of Nature. The colourful ceremony was attended by the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono; the former vice president of Indonesia, Jusuf Kalla, the Founder-President of New7Wonders, Bernard Weber, members of the Indonesian government, including the Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Frans Lebu Raya, and delegations from the New7Wonders of Nature host countries.
Komodo National Park is home to the famed Komodo dragon, which is the largest lizard on Earth. Reaching three metres in length and weighing up to 140 kilogrammes, Komodo dragons have lived in Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands for millions of years.
After the unveiling of a specially-commissioned plaque to mark the addition of Komodo National Park to the New7Wonders of Nature list, Bernard Weber reminded the attendees that New7Wonders is a unique iniative that involves and engages people around the world. “It’s about us, together, as a human race, making a bond while creating Global Memory, and Komodo now is part of Global Memory,” he said.
In his remarks, President Yudhoyono praised those involved in the Komodo campaign. “The inauguration is only a beginning,” he said. “Let’s continue our fruitful works.” Jusuf Kalla said he hoped the island’s popularity would encourage the government to improve the infrastructure of the region. “We are all doing our best to turn Komodo into a good tourism destination,” he said.
The inclusion of Komodo National Park in the New7Wonders of Nature “canon of 7” has seen increasing numbers of domestic and foreign visitors arrive in the town of Labuan Bajo, the entry point to Komodo Island, and Komodo Airport runway has been extended from 1,850 meters to 2,150 meters to allow large-bodied aircraft to land there.