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7 Last Frontiers of the Philippines (Tubbataha)


Photo by: Teri Aquino

This is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site for nothing.  For many scuba divers, this is one of the ultimate destinations in their diving careers. You will see the biggest and dense populations of pelagics (that's large fishes like tuna, sharks and manta rays for us land-locked mortals). The quality of this destination is so high that businessmen have actually purchased live-aboard dive boats (where one can stay for up to a week living on the boat) for only a few months of open season during summer. The waves on other months only allow hardy and really commendable wardens (no, heroes)  living on a very small station to keep watch over this national treasure from illegal fishing boats that catch turtles and destroy coral reefs. Its a very lonely and dangerous job they chose to get into. Of course, they now have to watch out also for the huge U.S. navy ships that might get lost and stranded in the shallow reefs of Tubbataha.

One of the only two islets in Tubbataha. This one is called Bird Island, and its off-limits to humans
Photo by: Teri Aquino

Scuba divers have to save a lot of money if they want to reach this frontier, stay on board for several days, and endure the 12-hour boat ride from Puerto Princesa City to the site. But once in the area, its a huge buffet table of diving and diving and diving. And as they say, nobody leaves Tubbataha without that crazy smile on his face.

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