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Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park or Bahurang Tubbataha is a protected area covering an area of 970.30 sq kilometers (97,030 hectares or 239,800 acres or 374.6 sq mi) in the middle of the Sulu Sea, Palawan Province, Philippines, consisting of two big atolls are North Atoll and South Atoll, also including the smaller is Jessie Beazley Reef as a sanctuary of marine animals and birds.

UNESCO declared in December 1993 Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park as a World Heritage Site as a unique example of coral reef atolls with very high densities of marine species. The site features pure coral reefs that live on 100-meter-high vertical walls, large lagoons and two coral islands.

Xvlor Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is spectacular lagoon atoll and sea wall

Xvlor.com Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is spectacular lagoon atoll and sea wall

In 1999, Ramsar enrolled Tubbataha as one of the Wetlands of International Importance where North Islet serves as a nesting ground for birds and sea turtles as part of the Coral Triangle known as a marine biodiversity center containing 75% of coral species and 40% of fish coral world.

History

Tubbataha Reefs is located in Cagayan Ridge which consists of extinct underwater volcanoes and atolls formed as coral reefs and volcanic islands when volcanoes erupt. Only the reefs are left and grow into sunlight as the volcano is extinct and the islands subsided for a long time. Very large corals surround the lagoon.

Isolation of Tubbataha in the middle of the Sulu Sea and away from the population has retained the marine resources. The two islands in Tubbataha do not have a fresh water source which prevents residences. By the 1980s fish had declined where many fishermen used destructive fishing techniques such as cyanide and dynamite to maximize catches

President Corazon Aquino on August 11, 1988 signed the Proclamation no. 306 to establish Tubbataha Reefs as a national marine park with an area of 332 sq kilometer (82,000 hectares) the first time the Philippines announced the sea area as a national park.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed the Proclamation no. 1126 on August 23, 2006 to raise park boundaries by 200% to 970.30 sq kilometers (239,770 hectares) including Jessie Beazley Reef and guarded by 24-hour armed officers for 7 days a week.

Biodiversity

Research since the 1980s revealed more than 600 species of fish, 360 species of corals, 11 species of sharks, 13 species of dolphins and whales, and 100 species of birds. Fish include lionfish (Pterois), clownfish (Amphiprion), giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis), barracuda (Sphyraena), moorish idols (Zanclus cornutus), parrotfish (Scaridae), and moray eel (Muraenidae).

Tubbataha is also home to manta rays (Cephalopterus manta), napoleon wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), whale shark (Rhincodon typus), tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna), cetacea, hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas).

Location: Sulu Sea, Palawan Province, Philippines. Located along 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of Puerto Princesa City. Uninhabited islands and reefs are part of the island of Cagayancillo, Palawan, which lies approximately 130 kilometers (81 miles) to the northeast of the reef.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Puerto Princesa International Airport in Puerto Princesa City. The park is about ten hours by boat from the city. All boat-based or "liveaboard" trips because there are no accommodation facilities. Visitors stay overnight on a cruise ship while staying in the park.

www.xvlor.com Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is spectacular lagoon atoll and sea wall

Xvlor Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is spectacular lagoon atoll and sea wall

Advice: Tubbataha has become a popular site for experienced sport divers where shallow coral reefs suddenly end by giving way to extraordinary depths forming sea wall ranks. Although the sand bar around Tubbataha is considered off limits to humans, tourists are allowed to set foot in Ranger Station and use the facilities.

The trip to Tubbataha National Marine Park from Puerto Princesa operates during the diving season from mid-March to mid-June where the tranquil waves, clear skies and visibility are about 30 to 45 meters (98 to 148 ft).

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