Photo Blog: Postcards Above Tubbataha Reefs

We are already halfway on our Tubbataha Dive Logs series, but before we proceed, let us take a break to have a peek of how the place looks like above sea level with this photo blog.

Located in the open water of Sulu Sea, the UNESCO World Heritage Tubbataha Reefs is under the jurisdiction of the town of Cagayancillo, Palawan. It is believed that around 90% of the marine species in Philippine waters are found here. The area is comprised of  two coral atolls, the North and South, which are eight kilometers apart, and the Jessie Beazley Reef,  covering a total of 33,200 hectares.

Simply put it like this, the surface area is composed of white sandbars that submerge during high tide.

Here are some of the images I took above the reefs of Tubbataha.

The Tubbataha Sunset: The unobstructed view of the sun as it slowly hides in the seemingly endless horizon is truly a sight to behold. As the the darkness envelopes the reefs, a whole new underwater world is revealed as nocturnal marine species come to life.


Lonely Sentinel of Tubbataha: The lighthouse of Tubbataha is perhaps the loneliest of all the lonely sentinels of the Philippine seas.Originally built in 1938 in the islet of South Atoll, the lighthouse serves as navigational aid to the sailors at night. It has an 15-meter octagonal concrete tower on octagonal keeper’s house that flashes two white lights every 10 seconds.


A Bird Sanctuary: Tubbataha’s actions are not only concentrated below. Because its sandbars and islets are home to unique species of sea birds, thus the place is considered also as bird sanctuary. The sandbar in the picture above is in front of the Ranger Station in North Atoll, it submerges during high tide. The islet in the South Atoll, where the lighthouse is located, is home to a large number of nesting sea birds, it is highly restricted to general public.


Home Away From Home: Rangers are assigned to guard Tubbataha for two months, and their simple life in their small world revolves in the 33,200 hectares of underwater life and probably some time lazing in this wooden balcony, waiting for uncertainty and the day of their return to mainland.


The Colors of Tubbataha: The sun painted the sky with its burning colors after sunset, one of the many vivid colors of Tubbataha.


Divers’ Boat: Divers on live aboard cruise use small trigger boats like this to go to the dive sites. Cruise ships, like the Hans Christian Andersen as shown afar (upper left) are not allowed to get close to the reef.


The Ranger Station: The power rangers of Tubbataha stay here for two months to guard and patrol the park. They are made up of competent people from Philippine Navy, Tubbataha Management Office, WWF Philippines and the Local Government Unit.


Underwater Action: On the surface, the place looks dull and boring. But below is an action packed underwater world, a marine paradise and a dream destination for most divers. The sandbar above is in the southwestern part of Northern Atoll, with the Amos Rock on the right side partially revealed on the surface.


Gotcha: No one is allowed to enter the park premises without approval from the Tubbataha Management Office. The wooden boats above are probably some of those who knowingly or unknowingly entered the premises illegally that are captured by the rangers.


  1. nicole

    How much lahat for tubbataha dive? 😀

  2. King Nocom

    Jane, where’s your office? What’s the best way to go to Tubataha? Can I call or visit you in your office? Tnx.

    King Nocom / 09175301772 / 02 2151650

  3. Jane Aaron


    I’m working in Tubbataha Management Office. I’am happy to read your blog about tubbataha. I also, read the comments and I was amazed that people really loves to support the conservation of the Park. On thing I just want to clarify, the composite team or the rangers that guards the park are compose of 2 Personnel fr Philippine Coast Guard, 2 from Philippine Navy, 2 from TMO, 2 from Local Government Unit of Cagayancillo. Thus, we don’t have rangers from WWF but they support certain activities like seabirds and research monitoring etc. I hope you could visit the park, hopefully next dive season. We will be happy to here your experience once again.



    1. Thanks for the clarification Jane. I am planning to revisit Tubbataha this 2014 🙂 I need to save first 😛

    2. Jasper

      Hi jane,

      im very interested to visit Tubataha this summer. Can you give me tips on how i can make the most out of my trip there?

  4. Rhea

    abot tainga ang ngiti ko tuwing nakakabasa ako ng blog about Tubbataha. I had onced visited this paradise. I know not many of the filipinos know or even have the chance to see Tubbataha at isa ako sa pinaka maswerte na nakawitness ng yaman nito. I will need to go back someday! :))

  5. Hi All!

    Magkano ung magagastos for stay of 3d/2n stay? or magkano nlng magagstos ung pinakamura lng,,haha,

  6. Yelrine B. Buisan

    Good evening,please try to help us to correct this term because the author is not a Samal thats why he wrote it by mistake.

  7. Yelrine B. Buisan

    Good morning, hope you are not offended by our comment,”TUBBATAHA” has no meaning with the SAMAL Dialect or BADJAO dialect, the correct spelling and pronunciation should be “TBBA TAHAH”, meaning TBBA means SHALLOW and TAHAH means LONG. There is no such word TUBBATAHA in any SAMAL or BADJAO dialect, hope you don’t mind if we ask you to correct this term. The National Office should correct this term in your favor.


    1. Wow Yelrine! Thanks for the correction! No I am not offended at all, I really welcome corrections on any of my posts. This will be for the benefit of my readers.

      Thanks again!

  8. Luisa


    I do love to have a pictures/postcards of Tubataha reef. I’ve been searching for quite some time. Could you please help me?

    Maraming Salamat po

    Luisa Santos

    1. Hi Luisa, how can I help?

  9. Lonely paradise indeed, but still a place to be on top of everyone’s list.

    1. I want to go back Marky 🙂 I’ll make sure I have a better U/W cam and I hope blue skies 🙂

  10. btw, congrats! consistent asa top 9 na blog mu top blogs! yihey!

    1. Nye, haha, more than half of the visits siguro dyan galing sa akin :))

  11. I can’t tell you how envious I am! I rmmbr asking a frnd 3 yrs ago how to get there, and she told me, uhmm…you have to be a diver, and she spent 50K daw for Tubbataha! ang yomon yomon mu tlga kuya jack! =)

    More posts about Tubbataha pls!

    1. Hahaha, alam mo naman na kuripot ako di ba? Kaya di ko papayagan na umabot sa ganyang halaga ang nagastos ko, mas mababa ko syang nakuha 😛 Sabihin ko sa iyo pag nagkita tayo :))

      1. Kelly

        Sir, pwede po bang humingi ng backpacked IT papuntang Tubattaha? Yung mura lang sana, Sir.


  12. ang ganda nmn dyan…pero kailangan mag-intro dive muna ako…kasi fail yung sa apo reef, snorklers lang kami..kaya kailangan diving na sunod!

    1. Sama ako pag nag intro kayo :)) Sana makasama ko kayo mag dive someday :)) Congrats El Supremo Dar!

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