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Tubbataha Reef - Palawan Travel Guide

The Philippines is a tropical country that has its share of natural treasures. Since it is a tropical country the beaches in the Philippines are among the world’s best. Aside from the beaches, the Philippines can also be proud of the wonderful marine life they offer divers. One place in the Philippines where marine life is abundant and great is the Tubbataha Reef.

Tubbataha reef is located in Palawan (another island in the Philippines). You will need to travel 182km south of the capital of Palawan (Puerto Princesa) to be able to reach Tubbataha reef. This reef has become famous because of its marine life the UNESCO named it as one of the world heritage sites since 1993.

Separated by a channel, Tubbataha reef is actually 2 small atoll like reefs with an inner lagoon. The place also has overhangs, caves, crevices, stony corals and gradual slopes that made the place more interesting. It was also discovered on 1982 that Tubbataha Reef has 379 species of fish and 300 species of corals. The place will be a paradise for people who love the marine life.

There is also a Bird Islet located on the northeast end of the north reef of Tubbataha. Birds such as sea birds and Brown Boobies usually nest there and breed. If you suddenly became interested because of the word brown boobies, they are birds and not what you have in mind. Even though the boobies you are looking for is not in Tubbataha, there are other things that can amaze you there. Aside from the birds, it is also a nestling ground by sea turtles.

The north face of the slope has coral heads that are 15 meters or 50 feet high and has a sandy slope. The east face has coral heads that measure 14 meters or 45 feet to 20 meters or 60 feet. The east wall will then drop as a wall that has crevices and caves in which a experts divers can dive deeper. The corals that can be seen there are usually leathery, whipped, and stony corals.

The marine life that one can see in Tubbataha is very abundant as stated above, it has 379 species. Some of them are turtles, leopard sharks, Guitar sharks, black tip sharks, white tip sharks, gray reef, nurse sharks, eagle rays, sharks manta rays, flounders and blue-spotted lagoon rays.

There are also large fishes that patrol the gorgonian coral walls. Among them are jacks, unicorns, dog tooth tuna, snappers and surgeons. There are also lots of Pacific reef fish that can be found. Some of them are corentfish, trumpet fish, damsels, anthias, angelfish, anemones with clownfish, boxfish, titan, scorpion fish, orange-striped triggerfish, peacock groupers, clown, Moorish idols, red tooth triggerfish, sleeping parrotfish, Star puffer fish, female Napoleon wrasse, hawkfish and big wrasse.

Although quite dangerous because of the current which can become strong without warning, night dives are interesting. During the night you can be able to see the fishes feeding. You can also see crustaceans, pleurobranchs, garden eels, morays, segmented worms, Feather Duster worms, crinoids, nudibranchs, Bohadschia, sea stars, sea cucumbers, basket stars and flashlight fish.

The southern area of the Tubbataha reef has been affected by dynamite fishing which has affected it in a way. But now, since environmentalist have taken action the southern area is slowly becoming better.

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