In the center of Sulu Sea in the Philippines, a reef ecosystem made of two atolls is found. It is called Tubbataha Reef. Tubbataha Reef lies on the Cagayan Ridge in the Philippines. The reef is a line of extinct underwater volcanoes. The Sultana Shoal is where the reef starts in the north and ends at the San Miguel Islands in the south.
Tubbataha is 92 nautical miles in the southeast side of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines and 80 nautical miles in the southwest side of Cagayancillo, Philippines. Cagayancillo has political jurisdiction over Tubbataha.
Tubbataha was proclaimed a National Marine Park last August 11, 1988. In 1993, the reef was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tubbataha has a universal value regarding the richness of the reef's marine life species and diversity.
A dynamic nature scene surrounds Tubbataha as evidenced by one of the north islets called Bird Island. Bird Island is a nesting ground for thousands of sea birds and is a low, flat, and sandy island. In 1911, according to naturalist Dean Worcester, Bird Island is 75 meters wide and 400 meters long. But now, Bird Island is only 23% of the recorded land area in 1911.
Tubbataha Reef Diving
Tubbataha is a great site for diving. The reef you'll come across offers the awesome beauty of the sea. Be amazed at the richness of Tubbataha. Many of the diving operators in Tubbataha offer the live-aboard trips to the reef. You can stay for a few days aboard the vessels and dive into the reef for a wonderful adventure.
The word Tubbataha is from the local word of the Samal people that means "long reef exposed at low tide". Tubbataha is estimated to be 10,000 hectares of coral and other marine life. The reef has two atolls. Tubbataha has very little land. Each reef's atoll is an islet that is two meters above sea level. Shallow lagoons are present in the atolls. 200 to 500 meters of flat reef surround the atolls and it drops steeply into the deep water. At low tide, reef crests are exposed.
The remoteness of Tubbataha has been its greatest advantage, protecting it from exploitation. Tubbataha is open to the shifting winds of the Philippines. The summer months are the safest time to dive into the reef in Tubbataha.
Feel the life of the creatures under the sea while diving in Tubbataha. The richness of marine life that the reef offers will keep you in touch with nature.