Tubbataha Reef - Palawan
Lying in the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reefs make up a 33,200-hectare expanse of diverse corals, serving as a rich habitat for pelagic fish, marine mammals, birds and invertebrates. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), 300 coral species, 46 coral genera, 379 fish species, seven sea grass species and 71 species of algae make up the rich diversity of the reefs. It is the country’s first national marine park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
According to WWF, Tubbataha’s marine diversity is virtually unparalleled by any other area in the world today. Large marine life is often present, including manta rays, tuna and jackfish. Four species of dolphins and two species of marine turtles also inhabit the surrounding waters. The small sand cays in the area offer breeding grounds for several species of seabirds, including boobies.
The Tubbataha Reefs National Park is accessible only by sea transport. It generally takes 10 hours to get to the park from Puerto Princesa, depending on the speed of the boat. Most of the vessels leave after dinner and arrive in Tubbataha at around 6:00 AM. Some slower vessels leave the wharf earlier in order to arrive in the park at first light. The park has become one of the country’s most popular dive spots, and is considered by many to be one of the world’s top scuba diving destinations.