Conditions looks awesome ! , which time of the year you went ?
It was the last week of May, right in the peak of the season.
Tubbataha Reefs are only open for 3 months from Mid-March to mid-June. Mainly for weather reasons. The reefs are 150km from the nearest shelter. There is no shelter at the reefs. And typhoons do pass through to the north, with the occasional one running right across the reefs. Believe me, you wouldn't want to be out there in a storm.
But, also for conservation, they want to limit human impact. Access is tightly managed and controlled, with only a few boats being licensed each season. The rangers, who live there year-round in a storm-shelter, do a great job, patrolling the reefs, armed with M16 rifles, chasing away cunning fishermen. Before the dive boat leaves the harbour, volunteers from the National Parks come on board to explain the rules and encourage good diver behaviour. Having seen Marine parks all over Southeast Asia, and having a passion for improving them*, I was suitably impressed by what the Philippines is doing at Tubbataha.
For more information: http://tubbatahareef.org
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