By ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Story & photos by TRNP. With photos from Bo Mancao, JC Gonzales, Rowell Alarcon, TOPPX2, Ifiniti Liveaboard, Eric Madeja, Yvette Lee, & Tommy Schultz.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) is one of a few marine ASEAN Heritage Parks. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Ramsar Site, a Blue Park, and a Hope Spot.


Map pf the Coral TriangleASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

It lies at the heart of the Sulu Sea, the apex of the Coral Triangle, the world’s center of marine biological diversity. 

From The Marine Diaries

Map of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park by TRNPASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Tubbataha is composed of two uninhabited atolls: the South and North Atolls; and the Jessie Beazley Reef. The atolls are separated by a 5-nautical mile channel.

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park Corals by Bo MancaoASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Tubbataha is lauded as one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world. The park is over 90 nautical miles southeast of the Palawan mainland and access is seasonal.  The scuba diving season begins in March and ends in June when sea conditions are at their best.

Lighthouse in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park by Rowell Alarcon/TMOASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

A lighthouse is found on the South Islet of the South Atoll.

The ranger station, the home and workplace of the marine park rangers, and the Bird Islet are found in the North Atoll. The park is managed under a strict “no-take” policy, with tourism and research being the only activities allowed within it.

Corals by TOPPX2ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Ninety per cent (90%) of the coral species in the Philippines, and more than half of all coral species worldwide are found in Tubbataha.

Experience biodiversity (2018) by Danny OcampoASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Green sea and hawksbill turtles, whales, rays, and sharks are common and so are pelagic species such as tuna, jacks, and barracudas. 

Waterbirds in Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park by JC GonzalesASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Over 100 species of birds have been observed in the park.

The South and the North Islets are one of the few remaining seabird strongholds in Southeast Asia today. Mixed colonies of breeding boobies and terns are found on these islets, some of which are endangered.

Whale shark by Ifiniti LiveaboardASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

But not all is well in paradise.

Marine debris threatens wildlife & the aesthetic value of the park. Climate change & the consequent rise in sea surface temperatures are causing coral bleaching.

Rough sea conditions caused by more frequent and more intense storms erode the islets, home to the most viable seabird colony known in the country.

Coral and fish in TRNP 2 (2015) by Eric MadejaASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

There is much we can do as individuals and as a collective.

Learn more about the marine environment and encourage others to do the same. Do not trash the planet. Most of our trash ends up in the ocean. YOU are the difference it takes to save our oceans!

Logo of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park by TRNPASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Learn more about the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park and how you can help.


Facebook page: @OfficialTubbataha
Instagram:  @TubbatahaReefs

AHP logo by ACBASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

ASEAN Heritage Parks

ASEAN Heritage Parks (AHPs) are protected areas of high conservation importance that provide valuable contributions to safeguarding ecosystems and biodiversity. 

AHPs provide a window to the world, showcasing a wealth of biodiversity that is uniquely ASEAN.

Credits: Story

Story and photos by the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. With photo contributions from Bo Mancao, JC Gonzales, Rowell Alarcon, Toppx2, Ifiniti Liveaboard, Eric Madeja, Yvette Lee, & Tommy Schultz.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.