In all things of nature there is something of the marvellous
A marvellous image conjures up when you visualise the beautiful Apo Reef, the largest coral reef in the Philippines! It spreads over an area of 34 square kilometres, making it the second largest connecting coral reef in the world (the first place being occupied by the Great Barrier Reef of Australia).
The Apo Reef, also considered as the second largest atoll-like reef in the Philippines comprises of two isolated coral reefs that are disconnected by a 30-meter deep channel. The clear blue waters of the channel are teeming with 285 species of colourful marine life, including tropical aquarium fish, snappers and the crevice-dwelling moray.
It is one best dive spots in the world, attracting hordes of divers all the year round. The soft white sand and patches of fine corals, clearly visible through the crystal blue waters, is truly an entrancing sight to behold!
The Reef and the vast expansive waters around are protected areas in the Philippines, administered as the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP). The National Park is located 33 kilometres (approximately) off the coast of Sablayan in the Occidental Mindoro province.
Although most of the areas of the Reef are submerged, three beautiful islands: the Apo Island, Apo Menor and Cayos del Bajo mark it on the surface. The pristine surroundings, the occasional chirping of the birds and the incessant murmurings of the rippling waters enhance the idyllic beauty of the Apo Reef. People flock to these islands for recreation or just to enjoy a sporting vacation (scuba diving, snorkelling, bird watching, dolphin watching, reef cruising, kayaking, lagoon rafting and turtle monitoring are best enjoyed in the calm waters of the islands).
The Apo Reef was declared as a protected area under the category of Natural Park due to Presidential Proclamation No. 868 that was issued in 1996. The DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) listed the Apo Reef for the consideration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.