The Sulu Sea is located between the Philippines and the island of Borneo. The Sulu Sea is a part of the western North Pacific. It is bounded by northeastern Borneo to the southwest, the southwestern islands of the Philippines, including Palawan, to the west and northwest, Busuanga and Mindoro to the north, Panay and Negros to the east, and Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago to the southeast. In the middle of Sulu Sea is a large marine sanctuary known as the Tubbataha Reefs, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Sulu Sea has an average depth of over 4400 meters. The Sulu Sea covers an area of 260,000 square kilometers, 790 km from north to south and 603 km from east to west. In 2009, the area’s boundaries were expanded to triple its original size.
It is a very popular destination for divers and the trips usually have to be booked several years in advance.
Located near the center of the Sulu Sea, you will find the Tubbataha reefs. The marine life that has not yet been destroyed by man.
It was thanks to divers and environmental activists who pushed in the late 1990s that the reef must be preserved that the Philippine government designated the area a marine national park. It was the first ever in the country. Thanks to those regulations, no commercial fishing could be carried out or destroyed in any other way by man. Thanks to that, the reefs are some of the best preserved and untouched in the world.
The reef is home to over 600 species of tropical fish, over 350 coral species (estimated to be over half of all known coral species in the world), 14 species of sharks and more.
It is one of the world’s best dive sites that attracts tourists and ultimately adds more to the country’s economy than mass fishing does.
It is the income from tourism that accounts for over half of the park’s funding and receives money from the local authorities.
In addition, Tubbataha is also increasing the Philippines’ coral reef fishing, which contributes up to 29 percent of the country’s total fish production.
The sea currents ensure that fish larvae are transported from the Tubbataha reefs to the voyage of the Sulu Sea. It helps to replenish new fish in the dewatered waters and ensure that there is enough fish for the entire population of the country.
The depth of the Tubbataha reef is between 5 – 40m.
Visibility in the water varies between 20 – 40m. The currents can be quite strong and not suitable for a beginner.
At the surface it is usually calm.
The water temperature is between 27 – 30 ° C
To dive here, you should have some experience, the more experience the better. There are more than 20 dive sites.
It is enough to wear a thin wetsuit when diving here because the water temperature is high. However, it is recommended to wear a suit as it can get colder further down in the water and if several dives are performed during the same day.