Diving the Philippines – Tubbataha… These remote reefs in the Sulu Sea enjoy a stellar reputation for their pristine quality and the random pelagic encounters that often happen there.
They had been on my personal wish-list for a number of years. But they are not easy to get to and trips there are pretty expensive, so they always kind of slipped into next year! Then in 2019 a diving buddy asked if I was interested a trip to Tubbataha he was organizing and I ended up signing up for two back-to-back trips scheduled for April 2020.
We all know what happened to 2020 and 2021… Then in February 2022 word came through that the trips were on for April. Plus, soon after the Australian borders opened again after being shut-tight throughout the pandemic.
So in April 2022 I was finally heading to Manila on my first international trip in two years. It was quite a journey to actually get to Tubbataha, with overnight stays in both Manila and then Puerto Princesa in Palawan. Then an overnight sail out to the reefs some 150kms offshore. Plus, because I was doing both trips, that meant another overnight sail on the wayback, another hotel stay followed by an overnight sail back out to Tubbataha.
Then at the end of the second trip a final overnight sail back to Puerto Princesa. Plus another hotel stay while I got a RT-PCR test so I could get back to Australia! You get the picture a lot of time burned up and money spent on hotels and meals etc… Was it all worth it? Short answer is absolutely – longer answer, see below for why!
Tubbataha is a stunning example of tropical reefs in superb condition and simply teeming with life. The incredible biodiversity that abounds there has to be seen to be believed – it’s that good!
Only accessible from mid-March to mid-June, Tubbataha is an absolute must-do destination – Read more…
Words like world-class conservation and the Philippines are rarely used in trhe same sentencew. But these isolated reefs and atolls are a world-class example of how to save a national marine treasure.
And it is largely through the efforts of a very determineds former dive-guide that it all happened – Read more…
Angelique Songco Interview
Known locally in the Philippines as “Mama Ranger” Angelique Songco is a remarkable woman. Who, through her role as the manager of the marine park, has become synonymous with Tubbataha.
She first dived those reefs and atolls in the early 1980’s – realising they were a national treasure that must be protected – Read more…