Tubbataha Logs Day 1: Sharks Tale

From an overcast sky of Puerto Princesa, our boat Hans Christian Andersen cruised for 13 hours in the  vast water of Sulu Sea. We woke up on a sunny blue sky above of the Tubbataha Reefs of Cagayancillo, Palawan. A perfect weather and calm seas, just as what we prayed.

There were 25 divers aboard, all excited to dive the reefs of Tubbataha. More than half of the divers were Filipinos, while the others were from different parts of the world – Australia, Canada, Slovakia, United States and etc.

From the ship, we always ride a speedboat to go to the dive sites

I was grouped with all Filipino divers from Mindanao: Father John Christian Young, President of Father Saturnino Urios University in Butuan City, Sir Dodong Uy and Ma’am Nana Uy of Mantangale Alibuag Dive Resort Camiguin, Doctor Candy Estacio, Sir Jan Surposa, Sir Marc Allen Du and Ate Claudia Artazo. With us was our Dive Master Wally.

We excitedly geared up after our heavy breakfast. Afterwards, our DM briefed us for our first dive – no cameras allowed for it was a check out dive.

Dive 1: Malayan Wreck (Sharks Welcome)

A wreck submerged to a shallow area with its top part partially seen on the surface was our first dive spot.

We descended at 0920H on a water with a very mild current, great visibility and temperature. There were so many fishes in the wreck including a good number of Many-Spotted Sweetlips.

Many-Spotted Sweetlips in Malayan Wreck

Shortly after we descended, two Gray Reef Sharks showed up and swam below us. Then a lot of pelagics and tropical species followed. It was all eye feast seeing Barracudas, Giant Bluefin Jacks, Giant Snappers, Bumpheads, Trevalies and Groupers, Huge Sea Cucumbers, Giant Eels and the usual small and colorful species including Fire Goby, Scorpionfish, Butterflyfish, Morish Idols, Anemonefish, Wrasses, vivid corals, sponges, seafans and crinoids.

On the final stretch of our dive, before we went to to 15 feet for our safety stop, I was looking on a small cave when a small Gray Reef Shark came out. It was such a view.

I spent a good 48 minutes underwater at a maximum of 29.8 meters and came up with 600 psi of air left on my tank.

Dive Profile: Maximum Depth – 29.8 meters/Date-Time of Descend – 06-May-2011 0921H/Bottom Time – 48 minutes/Water Temp – 31°C/Start Air – 3100 PSI/End Air – 600 PSI

Dive 2: The Wall Street (More Sightings)

Snacks were served on the boat and after a short rest, everybody geared up again for our second dive in the site they called Wall Street. It was 1209H.

From the name itself, it is a beautiful wall full of colorful marine life.

White Tip Shark in Wall Street

I started with 3200 psi of air when we descended to a maximum of 28.9 meters. There, another great underwater show graced my eyes. Four sharks, including a White Tip and Gray Reefs, a lobster, huge Tunas, Bluefin Jacks and Trevalies teased us. The usual Wrasses, Groupers, Snappers, Sweetlips, Giant Eels and other pelagics were also present, plus the macro species of Nudibranches, Gobies and tropical fishes, corals, crinoids and seafans.

The visibility, temperature and current were great and after 51 minutes of diving to a maximum depth of 28.9 meters, we surfaced with big smiles on our face.

Dive Profile: Maximum Depth – 28.9 meters/Date-Time of Descend – 06-May-2011 1219H/Bottom Time – 51 minutes/Water Temp – 31°C/Start Air – 3000 PSI/End Air – 500 PSI

Dive 3: Amos Rock (It’s Getting Better)

We had a sumptuous lunch during the two hours surface interval before going down again for our third dive at Amos Rock, another wall with a rock exposed on the surface.

Yellow Seafan, common in the walls of Tubbataha Reefs

The visibility was still good, so as the current and water temperature with some areas of noticeable thermoclines.

I only saw one shark during the dive, but there were a lot of Giant Eels, Bluefin Jacks, Snappers, Sweetlips, Groupers, Nudis, Gobys, other pelagics and the usual tropical species.

I reduced my weights to four kilograms for better buoyancy and spent 51 minutes underwater to a maximum depth of 21.5 meters. Another great dive.

Dive Profile: Maximum Depth – 21.5 meters/Date-Time of Descend – 06-May-2011 1513H/Bottom Time – 51 minutes/Water Temp – 31°C/Start Air – 3200 PSI/End Air – 800 PSI

Dive 4: Ranger Station (Sunset Dive)

It was already getting dark when we descended for our fourth and final dive of the day so we all brought our torch. Time stamp was 1751H.

Cute Fire Gobies, they go by pair

The Ranger Station was near the white sandy island where the Tubbataha Rangers stay. It was another wall dive where we saw Lobsters, Eels, Bluefin Jacks, Sweetlips, School of Jacks and the resident tropical marine creatures.

We didn’t see any shark this time, perhaps they were already sleeping on their caves.

Forty-four minutes of diving to a maximum depth of 19.6 meters.

Dive Profile: Maximum Depth – 19.6 meters/Date-Time of Descend – 06-May-2011 1751H/Bottom Time – 44 minutes/Water Temp – 30°C/Start Air – 3200 PSI/End Air – 700 PSI

A beautiful Sea Cucumber

It was already dark when we surfaced, and a vivid after sunset color already enveloped the western sky. The moon seemed smiling at us, with the glittery stars of Tubbataha adorning the sky. It was a lovely day and tomorrow is a promise of another great one.

Tubbataha is love!


  1. […] By Angel Juarez. Original post in full is on Lakwatsero.com. […]

  2. Gary Huerto

    great dives and nice photos.

    this is on my bucket list. do you have any recommendation where to book this tubbataha dive trips?? thanks.

    1. jess boadilla

      Hi. If you’re looking for accomodation, check this site http://philippinehotelreservations.com/hotels-in-palawan/ they have a lot of hotels in puerto princesa and I think they arrange tours also depending on your preference.

  3. BPS

    galeng ang ganda! btw if you dont mind me asking, how much did it cost you?

    1. Haha, isisikreto ko sana yan, bu then naisip ko hindi makakatulong kung isiskreto ko so heto: around 45K excluding the airfare from Manila to Puerto and Puerto to Manila 🙂

      1. BPS

        thanks for the info, mejo nanikip dibdib ko dun ah hehe. anyways by your pictures mukha namang sulit yung experience ng tubbataha, hope to go there one day pag may pera na ako at marunong na akong lumangoy. =D

  4. pd

    angel,it’s me again…may caption na pala ung mga pix mo..hehe naka-mobile kc ako..hindi ko nakita kanina..anyway,thanks again for sharing…rock on!

    1. PD? As In PD Barcelona? Hehe! Musta? Yep, may caption nga 🙂 Anyway, I used Olympus Tough 8000 for the underwater shots, medyo di ko nga gusto yung quality dahil may blue casting yung mga wide angle shots. I ordered a Panasonic Lumix TS2 and Marine Pack which I think has better image quality pero hindi dumating so I settled on my old Olympus 🙂

      1. pd

        yup, angel…PD Barcelona, now PD Barcelona-Ongchangco. kakagaling lang namin honeymoon sa Panglao-Bohol, Camiguin Island, Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. Anyway, natuwa nga ako sa quality ng pictures eh, maganda sya. Ang galing ng mga kuha mo, tsaka astig na mapicturan ung mga sharks..hindi ba talaga kayo lalapitan nung mga yun para kainin,hehe nakakatakot..parang naaalala ko ung Finding Nemo habang binabasa ko blog mo..kumpleto sa casting, ang lupet! continue being a lakwatsero bro!

  5. pd

    hello angel! nice shots,ano gamit mong camera? tip bro, palagyan din ng caption ung mga pix hehe thanks for sharing…adventurer din ako pero di ko pa natry mag-diving… Mas lakwatsero ka sa kin, adik!

  6. beautiful creatures – one can only see at the bottom of the sea 🙁 – *putting diving on top of my things to do list* hehe

    1. Thanks Marky! Yep bro, you should go diving! You will surely enjoy it 🙂

  7. toni protacio

    ang astig mo talaga! hats off!!!

    1. Hehe. Thanks Toni 🙂

  8. WOW! *drooling

    ang ganda naman 🙂

    1. Thanks Tina 🙂

    2. Thanks Tina 🙂 Dive na din 🙂

  9. Stunned. Great pictures and adventure! 🙂

    1. Thanks Sir 🙂

  10. Jona

    woothoot! congrats lakwatsero!

    1. Dear Jonahbeh,

      Pakibilisang umuwi at nang makapagdive na 😛


  11. Congratulations, Angel. This is something I don’t even dream of doing. I will certainly “dive” along with you , vicariously experiencing your underwater adventures. Thanks for sharing . Looking forward to your sequels.

    1. Thanks Lili! You should give diving a try, I will gladly dive with you 🙂

  12. Sea cucumber does not look yummy.

    Anyhoo, I heard the waves have been pretty rough daw sa Tubbataha recently. May nag capsize daw na boat 🙁

    1. Yep, on our last two days, choppy na masyado yung waters. I threw up ;( So when I returned to land, may four days yata na feeling ko lumulutang pa din ako. A small boat capsized last April, and a Chinese guy aboard the boat is still missing up to now.

  13. OMG. Super astig! Can’t wait for the next!

    1. Thanks bagets na Brenna 🙂

  14. can’t wait for the next entry =)

    1. Thanks Jerome 🙂

  15. Phebe

    Finally, the most awaited post from your recent Tubbataha Dive. :)Can’t wait for the next post. Keep it coming and congratulations to both of you! 🙂

    1. Thanks Phebe 🙂

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