The twin atolls of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the middle of Sulu Sea once fell victim of human transgressions. The precious wealth it once contained were looted and the reefs were left almost ruined by fishers from nearby islands.
Local environmentalists and dive enthusiasts fought for its protection and lobbied Tubbataha’s declaration as a marine protected area. Since its declaration as Philippines’ first national marine park on 11 August 1988, the protection afforded to the reefs has reclaimed Tubbataha’s unique and outstanding natural beauty.
After 26 years of persistent protection, the Tubbataha Reefs has become an inspiration to other marine protected areas in the country. It continues to deliver services vital for the survival of millions of Filipinos, whose lives depend on the bounty of the waters of the Sulu Sea.
Tubbataha Reefs remains the best-managed marine protected area in the country and was dubbed by local marine experts as a ‘reference oceanic reef’, a model of what a healthy offshore reef ecosystem should be. These attributes will persist for as long as we faithfully fulfill our duties as stewards of these vast resources – unwavering, unfaltering.