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Tubbataha Reef Philippines offers World's Best Dive Destination
Tubbataha Reef Spectacular Dive Sites Tubbataha Reef Exotic Marine Life Tubbataha Reef Worlds best dive sites

Tubbataha Reef is located in the middle of Sulu Seas which lies on the Cagayan Ridge. Tubbataha Reef is 92 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan and 80 nautical miles southwest of Cagayancillo. Tubbataha Reef has an area of 33,200 hectares including the North and South Reefs and was declared a National Marine Park in 1988 and a World Heritage Site in 1994. Tubbataha Reef was called "Gusong" by the islanders of Cagayancillo which means "coral reef". Tubbataha Reef is one of the most popular diving destination in the world and one of the best diving spot in the Philippines.


Tubbataha Reef Philippines World-class wreck Dive SitesTubbataha Reef is a unique example of an atoll reef with a sanctuary for marine life. A high variety of exotic and marvelous marine species can be experience in here. Tubbataha Reef is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands.

Tubbataha Reef is so popular to experience and adventurous diver. This site is not so accessible because it can only be reachable by live-aboard boats which can be found in Puerto Princesa itself. The remoteness of Tubbataha Reef has been its greatest protector against over exploitation. Puerto Princesa is the Capital of Palawan and Tubbataha Reef lies 182 km southeast of Puerto Princesa.

Tubbataha has two atolls that is made up of corals and many other forms of marine life. Each atoll has one islet which have shallow lagoons and are surrounded by approximately 500 metres of reef flat which ends in a steep drop off into deep water. These atolls are visible above water's surface at low tide.

The best time and safest months to visit Tubbataha Reef is from the end of March to June. Currents here in Tubbataha Reef can be strong and changeable so there is a lot of drift diving. Night diving is possible, but only if there is no current.

How to get there

10 hours from Puerto Princesa, Palawan Philippines

Famous Diving Sites in Tubbataha Reef Philippines

Bird Island: This dive site has a depth of 5-60m and the current can be fierce and changeable. It is not good to dive in this site if the condition is bad. This site is located on the north face of the north atoll in which the wall starts in 5-8m of water. The wall has huge gorgonians, barrel sponges and soft corals. In here, you can see nurse and leopard resting. Divers will also see Small manta rays, lagoon and eagle rays, together with flounders and turtles. Not only that, Blacktip, whitetip and grey reef sharks can normally be seen as well snappers, surgeonfish, groupers, Moorish idols and jacks. Large manta rays are common and pelagics are here all the time.


Tubbataha Reef most popular Diving SpotsAmos Rock: This dive site has a depth of 6 to 70m and the current can be strong. Amos Rock is located on the south side of the north islet. Amos rock starts on a gentle slope that covered in corals and ends with a wall covered in gorgonian fans and whip corals. This site offers a good opportunities for photography so that you can take shots to the amazing and beautiful variety of underwater wild life can be seen in this site such as large fish like mackerel, snapper and large groupers. You can also encounter white tip and gray reef sharks that inhabit these waters in large numbers. Look out for manta rays, eagle rays and turtles closer to the surface . Other fish that can be seen include Moorish idols, angelfish, surgeonfish and fusiliers.

South Islet - North Face: This dive site has a depth of 10 to 70m and the current is usually calm but can be strong and unpredictable. Diving in this site is not good when the current is strong. This dive site is excellent for sports divers. This dive site is popular and known because Green and Hawksbill turtles are very common in here. There are plenty of marine life in here such as reef fish and larger pelagics including mackerel and barracuda. Whitetip reef sharks, together with manta and eagle rays occasionally venture into these waters.

North Islet - East Face: This site has a depth of 15 to 70m and the current can be fierce. Currents can be changeable so diving in this site is not always possible. But this site is excellent in diving. The best time to five in this site is when the fish are feeding. The sandy bottom of this site is covered corals. Every type of native fish can be found in here. So there are a lot of colorful and exotic fishes you can see in this site such as damselfish, angelfish, lionfish and scorpionfish. Sea cumcumbers, nudibranches and crinoids are everywhere. Larger fish can be found below 30m like trevallies, tuna, barracuda and whitetip and blacktip reef sharks.

South Islet - East Face: This site has a depth of 10 to 70m and the current is calm but can become fierce. The reef is home to a variety of exotic underwater marine life life angelfish, groupers, parrotfish and butterflyfish. The wall is vertical and Moorish idols, surgeons and triggerfish are among the many different types of schooling tropicals seen here. whitetip and blacktip sharks are common and barracuda occasionally pass by as do manta rays when dive deeper.

South Islet - South Face: This site has a depth of 20 to 70m and the current can be fierce. This site is also known as The Lighthouse due the location of one right on the southern tip. Diving in this area is the same and similar to the north face of the southern islet. In this site, you can see small reef fishes, corals, sponges and anemones. While diving you can see blue-spotted lagoon rays, sea cucumbers and sea stars which are common in this site.

Jessie Beazley Reef: This site has as depth of 7 to 50 and the current is moderate and can sometime be strong. This dive site is located about 20km north-west of North Tubbataha. This site offers some amazing scuba diving to adventurous divers. The reef offers a beautiful underwater view for photography. Porites and Acropora corals covered the shallows that supports a huge and diverse population of reef fish. Whitetip and blacktip reef sharks are common as are tuna, groupers, barracuda and mackerel. Hammerhead, mako and thresher sharks also occasionally venture into these waters.

Basterra Reef: This dive site has a depth of 5 to 70m and the current is normally mild but can be strong sometimes. This dive site can be found 90 km to the south-west of South Tubbataha. This reef is small but it offers a diversity of underwater marine life. Two wrecks, of The Oceanic and a Tristar B, lie to the east and north. Basterra Reef is one of the best diving site in Sulu Sea. This reef is also excellent for sports divers.

Basterra Reef is rich in corals and can see exotic underwater life such as snappers, surgeonfish, parrotfish, trevallies and wrasse. Divers will also encounter masses of hydroids, gorgonians and barrel sponges. Regular pelagic visitors include reef sharks, hammerheads, tuna, mackerel, manta rays and turtles.

Bancoran Island: This is also a great dive site to visit. This island is located 70 km southwest of Basterra. But this dive site is now inhabited which has meant that the standard of diving has declined, but it is still a good spot to discover Giant Clams, lobsters, barracuda, tuna and reef sharks.


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