For many experienced divers, their best underwater experiences have come from the area known as the Coral Triangle, which covers 6 million square kilometers. It encompasses the seas off Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, and the Philippines. And guess what? The Philippines is smack in the apex of this marine haven. It’s really impossible to overstate the beauty of the diverse and thriving ecosystem in the Coral Triangle, also referred to as the “Nursery of the Seas.” The Philippines is one of the best places to encounter its marvels.
The Importance of The Coral Triangle
For divers, The Coral Triangle is synonymous with unparalleled biodiversity. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) counts more than 600 coral species of reef-building corals in this region, including 76% of all the coral species in the world. Together with the highest diversity of coral species in the world, comes the highest rate of reef fish diversity of 2,000 species as well, and six of seven marine turtle species on the planet. Blue whales, sperm whales, and the endangered sea cow all frequent or make their homes in The Coral Triangle.
But it’s not just under the water that The Coral Triangle plays a vital role. Coastal communities in the countries that bound the triangle depend on its bounty for their food and livelihood. The WWF says resources from The Coral Triangle directly sustain more than 120 million people.
The Philippines’ Verde Island Passage
It’s the Verde Island Passage located between the waters of Batangas and Oriental Mindoro that gets the most press when talking about The Coral Triangle and the Philippines. The Verde Island Passage is integral to The Coral Triangle, which is itself integral to the health of all the world’s seas. Verde Island is where you can spot rare and threatened species of turtles and wrasses, and new species are being discovered here all the time. You can find more than half of all known fish species in the Philippines right here. Marine conservationists and scientists have labeled this passage “The Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity,” as if to underscore its importance.
But Verde Island Passage is not the only world-class dive site in the Philippines. Because its in the middle of the Coral Triangle, there are top dive sites to be found all around the Philippines such as the Tubbataha Reef National Park in the Sulu Sea and Apo Reef in the Mindoro Strait. But natural disasters like global warming and manmade problems like over fishing, pollution, and unregulated tourism are taking a toll, thus an urgent call from divers and conservationists to step up efforts to protect, sustain, and preserve the Philippines’ remaining healthy coral reefs.
What Travelers and Divers Can Do to Help
As travelers and divers, we have an active role to play in being aware of environmental challenges and supporting sustainable tourism whenever possible.
Hello PH! offers you the knowledge and the means you need to protect and preserve the dive sites you visit on your trip. When you travel with us we choose hotels and dive operators who care for and give back to the environment. Many of our local partners are very knowledgeable about and actively involved with conservation efforts. If you’re interested in responsible tourism, there’s a lot you can learn here while also enjoying some of the best dives of your life.
Ready to see the beauty of The Coral Triangle for yourself? Check out our Tours page to learn more about the dive holidays we offer.