The Philippines has one of Asia's most extensive karst landscapes and cave networks. Karst landscape is a type of landform lauded for its unique beauty, albeit this landscape is vulnerable to environmental degradation, resource depletion, and habitat loss. The sustainable utilization of karst landscape resources can only be strategically implemented when the three pillars – ecological safeguard, socio-economic development, and research and development (R&D) – are in place.

As part of the progressive efforts for the advancement of technology in the Protection of Karst Landscapes and Resources Coordination Development, the current project will focus on the tropical and subtropical countries including Guangxi, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines which started on October 1, 2021, and will end by September 30, 2024. The project aims to a) interpret the coupling relationship between karst landscape development and environment protection of different climate-ecological types; b) develop the technology for karst landscapes conservation - resources coordinated development; c) formulate a new model for sustainable utilization of karst landscape resources; d) establish one R&D within the abovementioned countries for sustainable utilization of karst landscape resources and; e) develop one international standard. It is aimed to raise the environmental benefits, and serve the long-term and highly effective development of karst-featured tourism.

In connection with this, technical representatives from Guangxi, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines convened on April 27, 2022, through a virtual platform. The Philippines was represented by personnel from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau–Central Office including Ms. Liza Socorro J. Manzano, the Chief Geologist of the Lands Geological Survey Division (LGSD); Ms. Madonna Feliz B. Madrigal, Senior Geologist of the LGSD; and Ms. Jemimah Bela Torrefiel, Project Development Officer II of the Planning, Policy and International Affairs Division.  The meeting commenced with the introduction of the participants as well as the organizing committee, the International Research Center on Karst (IRCK), under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The background of the project, implementation schedule, and proposed cooperation patterns were discussed thoroughly during the presentation of the Deputy Secretary General of IRCK, Dr. Luo Qukan. It was followed by a series of presentations from Director Apsorn Saartsud of the Geological Survey Division of Thailand, and Dr. Eko Haryono, M.Si. of Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia related to Geoparks and the current condition of their respective karst landscapes.

As a briefer on the Philippine karst landscape, Ms. Liza Socorro J. Manzano elaborated on the updates for the assignment of Bohol Island as a Geopark. An open forum transpired to further clarify the implementation schedule and the cooperation patterns. In closing, Ms. Manzano suggested that it is viable to choose the option where IRCK will remit the related funds to the Philippines and a special team will be organized to implement the project with the related outputs shared.  

Final outputs must include the completion of the proposal of the international standards and submit the standardization of karst terminology; investigation and assessment (including mapping, monitoring, and modeling) of karst; sustainable development, engineering practices, environmental protection, and management in karst areas (ISO/TC 319). Publication of three to five papers is expected as well as the submission of the conclusion report to the UNESCO, The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


By the Lands Geological Survey Division





Captured photos from the meeting on April 27, 2022 for the cooperative project, which include representatives from

Guangxi, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.