GENEVA, Switzerland (3rd UPDATE) - The Philippines' Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the world's new 7 wonders of nature, organizers of a global poll announced early Saturday.
Based on the poll's provisional results, the 6 others crowned as the world's new natural wonders are South Korea's Jeju Island, Indonesia's Komodo Island, the Amazon rainforest, Vietnam's Halong Bay, Argentina's Iguazu Falls and South Africa's Table Mountain.
In a statement on Saturday, Malacañang said it was "heartened" by the results of the global poll.
“We congratulate everyone, especially the people, who made this all possible. With this, we sincerely hope that the rest of the world will stand up and notice the majesty not just of the underground river but the rest of the Philippines,” said Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda.
The final results will be announced early 2012, said Swiss foundation New7Wonders, warning however that there may be changes between the provisional winners and the final list.
Watch the official nomination of the Puerto Princesa underground river to the New7Wonders of Nature
In a statement issued after the results were announced, Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, said: “I would like to thank the many champions, citizens, voluntary organizations, public bodies and governments that have helped promote the New7Wonders of Nature campaign over the past four years, starting with over 440 locations from over 220 countries and all the way to the 28 Finalist candidates from whom the New7Wonders of Nature have been chosen.”
“We congratulate each of these participants on achieving their provisional New7Wonders of Nature status, and look forward to completing the confirmation process to celebrate each one in their own Official Inauguration ceremony early in 2012,” said Weber.
“When the New7Wonders of Nature are confirmed they will join the man-made New 7 Wonders of the World in becoming part of Global Memory for humankind for ever," he added.
Sites which failed to make the cut include Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, the Dead Sea and the US Grand Canyon.
The poll attracted great interest, mobilizing celebrities, including Argentinian football star Lionel Messi, who called on fans to pick his home country's Iguazu Falls.
The results came after a long consultation process lasting from December 2007 to July 2009, when world citizens were asked to put forward sites which they deemed were natural wonders.
More than a million votes were cast to trim the list of more than 440 contenders in over 220 countries down to a shortlist of 77.
The group was then further cut to the 28 finalists by a panel of experts.
Anyone in the world was then able to vote for the final seven via telephone, text messages or Internet social networks.
Founded in 2001 by filmmaker Bernard Weber in Zurich, the foundation New7Wonders is based on the same principle on which the seven ancient wonders of the world were established. That list of seven wonders was attributed to Philon of Byzantium in ancient Greece.
New7Wonders said its aim is to create a global memory by garnering participation worldwide.
But even as the natural wonders poll came to a close, the New7Wonders foundation has set its eyes on a new survey -- the top seven cities of the world. Participating cities will be announced on January 1, 2012. - With Agence France-Presse
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