Diving Tubbataha is like a vivid dream. You jump into the water, expecting to see the vibrant marine life underneath. But for those who have been there, describing this sanctuary as such is an understatement. To many, the 97,030-hectare Tubbataha Reefs Marine Park in Cagayancillo, Palawan is an underwater wonderland that is home to 360 species of corals and the highest volume of fish known in the country. It is no ordinary diver’s paradise.
“It was so clear it looked like the fish were floating in the air. You couldn’t see the water,” says Angelique Songco, who first dove in Tubbataha in 1981. Today, she is the protected area superintendent of the Tubbataha Reefs. Bell Cruzet, a professional dive instructor who has been organising dive tours for decades describes it as “unbelievable”. Robert Suntay, a marine conservation educator and an underwater filmmaker, recalls what the Nat Geo Wild TV presenter Nigel Marven had to say after they shot together some footages of the Tubbataha for the network. “Nigel told us that his trip was one of the most spectacular dive adventures of his life. Not a small compliment from one who has experienced some of the finest diving on the planet,” Suntay enthuses. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco was also impressed by its marine biodiversity when he explored the park in 2016.
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