On July 5, 2019 in Provincial Capitol of Samar in Catbalogan City, the UST Graduate School’s Center for the Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (UST-GS-CCCPET) turned over the project report and the completed nomination form of Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) to the local governments of Samar, with the aim of using these for the nomination of SINP as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Receiving the documents were tourism officers of Samar Province and Northern Samar, Park Superintendent of the SINP, and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The CCCPET, through Director Eric B. Zerrudo, PhD, provided the technical assistance through a workshop series began from March to April 2019, and by assisting in the accomplishment of the Tentative List Application Form. Joining Zerrudo in the workshop series were representatives from the Puerto Princesa Underground River (a World Heritage Site), Mt. Mantalingajan Projected Landscape (Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Site), and specialists who have worked with the UNESCO’s National Committee in the Philippines.

According to the report, “Samar Island Natural Park (SINP) is home to the largest tract of relatively intact lowland forest and contiguous karst formation in the Philippines. The park hosts 38 species of mammals (50% endemic), 51 species of reptiles (69% endemic), 26% amphibians (52% endemic), over 1,000 species of plants (approximately 53% endemic), and 215 species of birds (55% endemic), including the critically endangered Philippine Eagle. Samar Island Natural Park covers an area of 333,000 hectares within the boundaries of 35 municipalities, 3 cities and 3 provinces of Samar.

“The possible inscription of SINP to the UNESCO World Heritage List ensures the highest level of conservation of the site, and strengthens the commitment of the country to protect the park as a national heritage. It also contributes to the prestige and economy of the three provinces of Samar Island through sustainable eco-tourism. Finally, it will considerably raise the awareness of the communities whose lives are intertwined with the park with regard to the conservation of their natural heritage.

“The primary objective of the project was to build the technical capacities of the Technical Working Group in preparation for the rigorous process of nominating Samar Island Natural Park to the UNESCO World Heritage List, beginning with its inclusion to the Tentative List.”

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