SpongeBob SquarePants and the ‘last frontier’ of the Philippines; Isabel Esterman; Mongabay

Philippines – Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park

A mysterious developer plans to build a Nickelodeon-themed resort in a global biodiversity hotspot.

  • The 100-hectare resort, announced last month, is to be part of the Coral World Park, which bills itself as the ‘largest Marine Reserve and Coral Reef Conservation program in Asia.’
  • Local environment activists say they have never heard of Coral World Park, or of conservation programs funded by its parent organization, the Dr. AB Moñozca Foundation.
  • Palawan, a globally significant biodiversity hotspot, is already grappling with the social and environmental impacts of a rapidly growing tourism industry.

Palawan, a slender archipelagic province whose furthest reaches lie more than 500 miles southwest of Manila, is famed as the “last frontier” of the Philippines. A hotspot of endemism and biodiversity in an extraordinarily biologically rich country, Palawan hosts two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some of the Philippines’ last primary forests.

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