The World Below Us: Tubbataha

Falling in love with the ocean


If you’re a diver, and you love diving in tropical waters, Tubbataha Reef is, most probably, a dive destination which you have heard about. Most would say that it is the most beautiful dive destination in the world, more beautiful than the Great Barrier Reef, or the Red Sea. I haven’t been to both but I can confidently say that Tubbataha is a place that can make you think twice about scuba diving.

I was fortunate enough to go to this beautiful dice paradise as part of a project with UNESCO and the ICT Office of the Department of Science and Technology, Philippines.

I went with 6 other people, and our responsibility was to document the World Heritage Sites of the country.

Tubbataha Reef was first on our list.


Tubbataha reef is located in the middle of the Sulu Sea. To get there, you would need to take a boat from Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and travel approximately 8 hours into the open sea.

Once there, it would take 12 hours until you would once again see land.



We rode a small boat that want lent to us by the WWF. It was a small and simple one, with only the basic ameneties.

We were around 15 people on board, including the the crew.

And we spent 7 days out in sea, diving all day, everyday.


We started each day at 6:00 am. The captain would sound the bell, waking up all of us on board. After having breakfast, we would then gear up and prep ourselves for the first dive.


After diving, we would give ourselves a break and have a rest. Free time was spent sorting through the footages we took, playing around on the boat, playing cards, reading, taking more photos, and whatever we could think of doing that could pass the time.

After all, there was no network coverage; and electricity was only available at night when the generator was turned on, which didn’t bother us anyway.

We were happy enough to be amidst the vastness of the ocean, diving 3 to 4 times a day, living a simple life, seeing and documenting the magnificence of the reef.



We went to a total of 5 dive sites during our trip: Malayan Wreck, Delsan Wreck, Black Rock, Shark Airport, and Jessie Beazley Reef.

Needless to say, each and every site had its own magic touch.


We saw reef sharks at least once every dive. And once a while, we would be surrounded by a school of barracudas, charging their way through the depths of the sea.

There would always be a certain sense of inner peace whenever you’re underwater. You hear nothing but the sound of your breathing through your regulator, and the occasional mumbling of your buddies. But most of the time, you’re in your thoughts. That is a feeling that I’ve learned to love more and more ever since I went to Tubbataha.



Seeing all of those captivating marine creatures and being amongst them while passing through their endless little communities, made me fall deeper in love with the ocean.

Its beauty was endless.


I saw colors I had never seen before, I heard sound coming from all directions, and I felt energy I could never have imagined existed.

Creatures and animals: the corals, fish, slugs, crustaceans, turtles, snakes, rays, sharks, were swimming around me in complete peace and harmony. In occasion, I would see weird alien-like living organisms moving on the seabed. Creatures I never would have imagined existed.

After diving Tubbataha Reef, I discovered a new side of me that would care so much more deeply for this world below us, our little blue planet.

I fell in love, and have been ever since.


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