The Philippines has many different dive sites, an archipelago of more than seven thousand islands gives a lot, but one area stands out among all for the quality of its reefs and the impressive life that shelters, Tubbataha reefs. This interesting place for diving, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its marine biodiversity, is the only marine national park in the Philippines. We found it in the Sulu Sea, about 93 miles south of Puerto Princesa. One of its peculiarities is that due to the strong currents of the area, you can only dive from mid-March to mid-June, it goes without saying that to travel to this destination you have to book well in advance, and when I say a lot In advance I want to say well in advance!
Having a very short diving season, few boats covering the area and the constant vigilance of the authorities, Tubbataha is a destination where we will find reefs in perfect state full of life and an impressive fauna, which includes 11 different species of sharks among which the Whale, almost 500 different species of fish, two species of marine turtles, giant blanket, other pelagic, barracudas and more than 350 species of coral. Tubbataha is also an important refuge for seabirds, which we will find here in great and varied quantity.
Tubbataha is divided into three zones, the North Atoll which is the largest, the South Atoll and located to the west of the North Atoll we found the small reef of Jessie Beazley.
Obviously the only way to access Tubbataha is in liveaboard, which depart from Puerto Princesa, sailing about 10 or 12 hours to reach the first reef. Once we arrived and before the first dive, the staff of the Tubbataha Marine Park went on board and they gave us a video and gave us a talk about the care and conservation of the seabed. Once all the procedures are done … The water!. I came across a whale shark already in the first dive of “check dive” so from now on the surprises are repeated. There are usually four dives per day of diving with the night, the last day of diving are usually three dives
The dives are usually drifting in a “drop off” with impressive coral gardens that fall to more than 100 meters deep. You have to do previous neck exercises because during the dives it is a non stop to look everywhere, because the same thing can happen to a whale shark above us while we observe a “frogfish” that a school of hammers by the blue, meet with turtles , Napoleon fish etc. It is not a diving destination for beginners, the currents can be strong and it is better to have a certain level and experience to fully enjoy these dives.
There are many dive sites, the most famous for its wildlife are Wall Street, Washing Machine, Shark Airport, Delsan wreck, Fish City Triger, Black Rock, Amos Rock, Seafan Alley and Malayan wreck.
During the trip one of the afternoons we went ashore to the small island of North Atoll where one of the guard points of the “Rangers” is located. Here we will enjoy a spectacular sunset and dinner pick nick on the beach watching the stars.