Apo Reef

Apo Reef is a magnificent marine biosphere community of the coast of Philippines that covers 34 square kilometers. It is one of the most famous diving sites in the World.


Location: Mindoro Occidental

Area: 34 square kilometres


Located on the southeastern edge of the South China Sea, it is only 2½ hours by boat from the diving island of Pandan Island on the west coast of Mindoro (15 nautical miles), 6-8 hours from Puerto Galera on the northeast coast of Mindoro and 4-6 hours from the island’s capital Coron on Busuanga / Palawan (21 nautical miles from the north-east of the island). The eponymous Apo Island should not be confused with the Apo Island of the same name near Negros.

The Mindoro Strait is an important sea route for national and international shipping routes to China, Korea and Japan. In order not to run aground in the shallows, there is a large lighthouse (coordinates: 12 ° 40 ′ N, 120 ° 25 ′ E). Its radio beacon is also an important landmark for air traffic.

The reef was looted with dynamite and later cyanide fishing well into the 1990s. Large areas have not yet recovered from this. With the presidential decree of September 6, 1996, the Apo reef became part of the Apo Reef Marine Natural Park. 8 park rangers are permanently stationed on Apo Island to enforce the total ban on fishing.

Among the 47 species of migratory and domestic birds is the endangered collar pigeon (also Nicobar pigeon, Caloenas nicobarico). Soup (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) use the seclusion to lay eggs. In a 1981 study, 190 species of coral were counted. 78 species of invertebrates such as giant clams (Tridacnidae), crawfish (Pasulirus), the conch (Charonia tritonis) and the pearl boat, also called Nautilius, are only a part of the underwater world. There are also dolphins and 385 fish species observed to date, including sharks, rays, manta rays, and whale sharks.

The reef is world famous among divers and snorkelers, in the region only the Tubbataha reef and the reef system around the Cagayan archipelago, both in the Sulusee, are comparable.