Exploring the Deep Seas of Tubbataha Reef


Last month of May was the fifth year of our Tubbataha 2011, but until now it still bring a lot of fond memories. Reminiscing and scribbling once more those wonderful moments…..

If you are a Filipino diver, chances are you have cruised to Sulu seas towards Cagayancillo, Palawan for the only UNESCO marine heritage site in Asia – the Tubbataha Reef National Park. If you love the marine world, this is your place and you will never get disappointed. Most often, works and beauty of nature are beyond the surface and it can only be revealed to curious spirits who choose to tread afar for a paradise quest.

Diving in the Tubbataha Reefs was a dream come true, the four-day expedition was total immersion in this hidden paradise. What about having four dives in a day? It was really wet! The richness and diversity of the park is hard to equal – from bobbies to sharks! Not to mention turquoise waters, azure skies and vast open horizons decorated with sunrise and sunsets. There was stillness and serenity.

My thirteen dives were filled with great sightings and here is my account for what I encounter in different spots in the park.

Malayan Wreck

A wall dive decorated with active fish life, then with a sandy slope to the wreck. It is the home of white tips and gray reef and giant trevallies. We sighted two white tips perching on white sand as if sleeping, so with gray reef in different locations. There were triggers, large snappers, groupers, sweetlips, napoleon wrasses and breams. There was a turtle, a school of barracuda, moray eel with a remora, fusiliers and emperors and there was lot more I couldn’t name them all. Of course, I didn’t miss the large gorgonians in lavender, yellow and green.

The small shipwreck here was also an attraction, I love wrecks and my last of the three dives here had a safety stop going around searching every corner of the wreck!

Wall Street

It is another wall dive with filled with white tip & gray reef sharks, variety of tropical fish
variety of colorful sea fans and soft corals. You must be careful not to bump with the sharks!

Amos Rock

This is located in the southwest of the North Atoll with a breathtaking wall decorated with large gorgonians and variety of colorful corals. Sharks are again often seen here, we found more than ten swimming coyly. Other species are sweet lips, groupers, trigger fish, large parrots, giant moray eel, boxfish and puffers.

Ranger Station

It was already late afternoon almost a night dive when we descend here. Large groupers, sweet lips, snappers were the common residents. Variety of sea cucumbers like ananas and leopards were sighted here.

Seafan Alley

I found more fish life here than the seafans.Like snappers, triggers, wrasses, parrots surgeons, emperors, angels and pufferfish. Sighted here at least two turtles swimming coyly before us.

Shark Airport

This dive site is also located in North Atoll, is one of the best places for spotting a variety of marine life. Perhaps, it is a playground of white-tips, gray reefs and silver tip sharks as they abundantly swam in the area. We encountered a giant manta ray here! Or was it a devil ray? It was a real surprise!

Delsan Wreck

I could still vividly remember having a relaxed dive here waiting for some little surprise that day. Indeed, a whale shark about 5 meters trooping with white tips & gray reef sharks, giant tunas and trevally parading before us! And as if to emphasize its splendor, they made another round for all of us to watch. It was a real show!

There were triggers, blue fin trevally, sea turtles and one of my favorite – a large school of jacks!

Lighthouse (Delsan)

Located in the South Atoll, the site features a large reef and a steep wall with another active marine life – black tips, gray reef, blue fin trevally, barracuda, moray eel, turtles to name a few. Anemones, sea fans, sea cucumbers and colorful hard & soft corals abound in this site.

The excitement of getting into the waters and breathing deep down or discovering the unknown are just coating of this incessant aquatic adventures. It’s more about passion of the marine world, the life beyond the depths – just pure love for these creatures, admiring and watching in awe all these wondrous forms of life. You can’t help not to fall in love and feel grateful you had the chance to witness its splendor. My dive buddy and I agree it was worth for another visit.

The great waterworld of Tubbataha is a piece of heaven on earth. The exhilaration of being surrounded by colorful fish of great variety is simply hard to equal. It was a very moving experience. While you’ve probably seen photos and videos on diving, you won’t understand what it’s really like or how it really felt until you’ve experienced it yourself.

Tubbataha – where a brave and passionate diver’s dreams come true!

NB. This piece was written for letspalawan.com

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