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The Internet Is Furious Over Chocolate Hills Resort

The existence and ability to operate of the Chocolate Hills Resort was questioned.
Chocolate Hills Resort
James Francisco

Bohol is recognizable for its everlasting Chocolate Hills attraction, as a brown shade overshadows its mound-shaped formations during the dry season. While local and international tourists flock to the site to witness the transformation up close, a resort takes the experience up a notch, settling by the foot of the hills, as many expressed their resentment online.

Facebook: Ren The Adventurer

Travel vlogger Ren The Adventurer took his findings to his Facebook page, previewing a drone overview of Sagbayan, Bohol’s The Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort. The three-minute clip featured its location and amenities, noting a pool, rentable tents, air-conditioned units, and day and overnight options.

The family-friendly establishment received flack for “violating” the UNESCO-declared first global geo-park in the Philippines following the video’s upload last Wednesday, March 6, 2024. Many questioned its existence and ability to operate, going against Republic Act No. 7852, which caters to the protection and preservation of the national landmark.

X/Twitter: @MagooBlues

X/Twitter: @quotetoponder

X/Twitter: @chaeyeonieearts

X/Twitter: @JerryGracio

De La Salle University College of Law Dean Chel Diokno chimed in with his thoughts on the issue, questioning the Department of Natural Resources’ (DENR) decision for its establishment.

“Paano to nabigyan ng clearance at bakit pinayagang magpatuloy? Sana aksyunan ng DENR ang panawagan ng mga kababayan nating Boholanos na protektahan ang Chocolate Hills, na isa sa mga tanyag na tourist spot sa bansa at kilala bilang kauna-unahang UNESCO global geopark sa Pilipinas,” Diokno mentioned.

(How was this (The Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort) given clearance, and why was it allowed to continue operating? I hope the DENR responds to the call of our fellow Boholanos and protects the Chocolate Hills—one of the several famous tourist spots in the country and the first UNESCO global geo-park in the Philippines.)

X/Twitter: @inquirerdotnet

According to a March 13, 2024, circular, the DENR previously “issued a Temporary Closure Order last September 6, 2023, and a Notice of Violation to the project proponent last January 22, 2024, for operating without an Environmental Compliance Certificate.” The department’s Regional Executive, Paquito D. Melcor, issued a Memorandum, assembling a team to conduct “a proper inspection of the site for its compliance with the Temporary Closure Order.”

However, the Manila Standard reported a previous interview of Cebu-based media outlet, The Freeman, in 2023, interviewing the administrator and relative of the owner of The Captain’s Peak, Julieta Sablas, mentioning that the establishment underwent “proper processes” throughout its construction process. She also “presented a proposal to the Protected Areas Management Board (PAMB) of the DENR,” informing the department of any changes to its amenities.

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