ABOUT APO REEF
Apo Reef is considered as the second largest contiguous reef system in the world and the largest one in the Philippines. Its location in the middle of Mindoro Strait (between Mondoro’s west coast and Palawan’s north tip) make it a very remote place and a world class dive destination.
Since 1996 Apo Reef is part of “Apo Reef Natural Park” and appears on UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage sites. Together with its barrier zone this marine park covers around 275km²!
The reef itself consists of a northern, triangular shaped platform and a southern, more atoll like part, both parts separated by a up to 30m deep channel opening from east to west. While the main part of the reef is submerged three islands mark its position on the surface: “Cajos del Bajo” and “Apo Menor” are primary composed by rocky formations and hold little to no vegetation whereas “Apo Island” features a shallow lagoon surrounded by mangrove forests, providing food, nursery and spawning ground for several coastal and marine species of fauna as well as sanctuary for birds like the endangered Nicobar Pigeon. The islands characteristic lighthouse serves as a trademark and offers stunning views over the whole island with its picturesque sandy beaches.
Official papers mention almost 200 species of corals and around 385 fish species living within the marine park. Amongst this vast biodiversity green and hawksbill turtles, whitetip reefsharks, huge napoleons, immoderate tunas, eagle rays, schools of barracudas, jacks, snappers, fusiliers or bumphead-parrotfishes are commonly spotted while scuba diving or snorkeling. If you are lucky enough you can even see visiting manta rays or hammerhead sharks!
Find out more about the divesites in Apo Reef National Park: