Imagine jumping in the water and finding yourself staring down the side of a mountain. The twin atolls of Tubbataha have huge slopes and vertical walls twinned with often 30 metre plus visibility, giving you the feeling of flying next to an aquatic Everest. From the shallows to the depths, Tubbataha is carpeted with corals and, given its remote location in the middle of the Sulu sea, it’s a place of shelter and a hunting ground for a lot of the Big Stuff that lives in this part of the ocean. There are currents which make for exhilarating drift dives, but you have to watch your depth and pay attention to possible down currents and washing machines.
The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is made up of almost 100,000 hectares of Marine Protected Area. Since it was discovered in the 1970s, the Tubbataha has become well known as the very best of the Philippines diving and one of the top spots for diving worldwide. Being located in the middle of the Coral Triangle, the highest marine biodiversity on earth, the plethora of marine life found here is simply astonishing.
The reef system has over 600 species of fish and 300 coral species, as well as being a nesting site for hawksbill and green turtles and many species of bird. The North Atoll has a field station that is manned year-round by rangers and often trips involve a visit to discover about the conservation and protection of this delicate marine system.
The reefs are made up of endless reef flats and vertical walls dropping to over 100m in depth, as well as large areas of deep sea. Thresher sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks can be seen on the walls, whilst the shallow reef tops are overflowing with colour reef fish, sting rays, manta rays, turtles and much more. Huge schools of jack fish and snapper hang out with a large barracuda presence as well.
Tubbataha is more than just the Philippines’ finest diving destination – it’s an important part of the country’s national heritage. Tubbataha was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1993 and is also featured on the 1000 Philippine peso banknote.
Video By: yourpalawan.com