New coffeetable book highlights Palawan’s Tubbataha Reefs

tubbataha_03MANILA — Palawan’s precious coral reefs — the Tubbataha Reefs — became the subject of a new coffeetable book expected to set the Philippines as a model for conservation and a diving hub of choice.

his, after the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched the coffeetable book on the sidelines of one of the world’s leading global travel and trade show, the World Travel Market (WTM) in London earlier this week.

“The Tubbataha: A National Treasure” coffee table book is published by Marissa Floirendo of the Don Antonio O. Floirendo, Sr. Foundation (AOF) with photos by Maria Teresa “Tet” Lara.

Present during the launch was DOT Secretary Wanda Teo who herself presented the first ever coffeetable book on Tubbataha Reefs at the WTM.

“This book encapsulates the depth and breadth of our magnificent and rich marine heritage, and strongly amplifies our country’s proud position as the center of marine biodiversity,” Teo said.

Teo meanwhile expressed hope that besides enticing global divers, the book will push its campaign on environmental conservation and protection.

DOT continues to double its efforts to position the Philippines as a sports tourism hub, relying on the country’s growing niche markets such as diving and marine sports.

Recent data from DOT showed that the Philippine diving industry only makes up 1.7 percent market share of the 7.3 million active divers worldwide.

However, the reefs receive acclaim from diving enthusiasts and environment advocates for possessing 97,030 hectares of waters and reefs comprising Southeast Asia’s only purely marine UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Moreover, the Tubbataha Reefs have also been declared an ASEAN Heritage Site and a Flyway Network Site.

Home to the reefs is the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park which is home to 600 species of fish, 360 species of corals, 21 species of sharks, skates and rays, 13 species of dolphins and whales, and two of seven species of marine turtles.

It is an underwater nature reserve located 150km southeast of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.

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