Your Guide to Diving Holidays to Tubbataha, Philippines

Introduction to Tubbataha

Nestled within the heart of the Sulu Sea lies a marine sanctuary of unparalleled beauty and biodiversity — Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this remote gem in the Philippines is a diver’s paradise, offering a glimpse into the vibrant underwater world that thrives beneath the surface. In this article, we embark on a virtual journey to explore the breathtaking scuba diving reefs and marine life of Tubbataha.

A Jewel of the Coral Triangle

Tubbataha Reef is located in the Coral Triangle, an area renowned for its exceptional marine biodiversity. Spanning over 130,028 hectares, Tubbataha is the largest marine protected area in the Philippines and serves as a crucial habitat for countless species of marine life. Its isolation from human activity has helped preserve its pristine conditions, making it a haven for divers and researchers alike.

Spectacular Coral Reefs

One of the most captivating aspects of scuba diving in Tubbataha is its vibrant coral reefs. These reefs are teeming with life, boasting an impressive array of hard and soft corals in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Divers are treated to breathtaking underwater landscapes adorned with towering coral formations, intricate coral gardens, and mesmerizing coral walls. The sheer diversity and health of the coral reefs in Tubbataha are a testament to the park’s ecological importance.

Diverse Marine Life

Beyond its coral reefs, Tubbataha is home to an astonishing diversity of marine life. Divers can encounter a myriad of species, including reef fish, sharks, rays, turtles, and pelagic giants such as whale sharks and manta rays. The park’s protected status has allowed populations of marine species to flourish, offering unforgettable encounters for underwater enthusiasts. From bustling fish schools to elusive sea creatures, Tubbataha never fails to impress with its abundance of marine biodiversity.

Thrilling Dive Sites

Tubbataha boasts over a dozen dive sites, each offering its own unique attractions and underwater wonders. The top 5 of the must-visit dive sites include:

1. Jessie Beazley Reef

Known for its stunning coral gardens and vibrant marine life, Jessie Beazley Reef is a must-visit dive site in Tubbataha.
Divers can explore towering coral formations, swim-throughs, and underwater canyons, providing ample opportunities for photography and exploration.
This site is particularly famous for encounters with sharks, including white-tip and black-tip reef sharks, as well as sightings of turtles, barracudas, and various reef fish.

2. Malayan Wreck

The Malayan Wreck is an artificial reef created by the sunken cargo ship, MV Malayan, offering a unique diving experience.
The wreck is now home to a diverse array of marine life, including colorful coral colonies, schooling fish, and macrophotography subjects such as nudibranchs and crustaceans.
Divers can explore the intricate passageways and chambers of the wreck, providing an opportunity to witness firsthand the fascinating process of marine life colonizing a sunken vessel.

3. Delsan Wreck

The Delsan Wreck is another popular dive site in Tubbataha, featuring the remains of a sunken barge resting on the seafloor.
This artificial reef attracts a wide variety of marine species, including groupers, snappers, jacks, and reef sharks.
Divers can explore the wreckage and surrounding reef, observing the rich biodiversity that thrives in this underwater habitat.

4. Washing Machine

Washing Machine is a thrilling dive site characterized by strong currents, making it suitable for experienced divers.
As the name suggests, divers can experience the sensation of being “washed” along the reef, encountering pelagic species and large schools of fish along the way.
This site offers an adrenaline-pumping drift dive experience, with opportunities to spot sharks, rays, and other pelagic species cruising in the open water.

5. South Atoll

South Atoll is a pristine dive site known for its healthy coral reefs, diverse marine life, and impressive underwater topography.
Divers can explore steep walls, coral pinnacles, and swim-throughs adorned with colorful corals and sponges.
The site is frequented by reef sharks, turtles, schools of jacks, and other reef inhabitants, providing a memorable diving experience for enthusiasts of all levels.

These top five dive sites in Tubbataha offer a glimpse into the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of this remote marine sanctuary. Whether you’re a novice diver or a seasoned underwater explorer, Tubbataha promises unforgettable underwater adventures and encounters with some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures.

Conservation Efforts

Preserving the ecological integrity of Tubbataha is paramount to its continued survival. The Tubbataha Management Office, in collaboration with various stakeholders, implements strict conservation measures to safeguard the park’s marine resources. These efforts include marine patrols, scientific research, and community engagement initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable tourism practices and raising awareness about marine conservation.


Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park stands as a testament to the unparalleled beauty and biodiversity of the Philippines’ underwater world. Its pristine coral reefs, diverse marine life, and thrilling dive sites make it a bucket-list destination for scuba diving enthusiasts from around the globe. As we continue to cherish and protect this marine sanctuary, let us ensure that future generations of scuba divers have the opportunity to experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Tubbataha for years to come.

Oyster Diving Offer Diving Holidays to Tubbataha and other Philippines Destinations. Get in touch with us on 0800 048 7519 or e-mail to get your free quote.