Apo Reef, located southwest of Mindoro Island, Philippines, is a National Park composed of three islands and a series of coral reefs covering almost 300 km2, making it the second-largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. The richness of this park is overwhelming, where in addition to coral reefs, there are seagrass meadows and mangroves that provide enormous biodiversity to the reef. In reality, it consists of two large reefs separated by a channel that supplies nutrients to the system.
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Diving in Apo Reef is only accessible by boat and stands out for vertical walls up to 80 meters filled with corals vying for space, visits from pelagic species such as sharks, large schools of jacks, barracudas, mantas, tunas, and turtles, and the multitude of colors provided by reef fish: sweetlips, anthias, clownfish, frogfish, Moorish idols, surgeonfish, and where you can find marvelous specimens of healthy table, brain, or staghorn corals. No, Apo Reef is not an easy diving spot due to its steep walls and strong currents, but it is highly recommended for divers seeking to explore an almost untouched environment away from the crowds.
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Diving Sites in Apo Reef
More than a diving spot, Apo Island is a diving area itself due to the large number and variety of diving sites it offers. The island features extensive walls where reef fish such as giant parrotfish, Picasso triggerfish, lionfish, and scorpionfish gather, and you can also dive with reef sharks in certain areas where hammerhead sharks can be spotted.
Shark Ridge is known for its reef sharks, occupying the crests and ledges of this wall, which can reach depths of over 50 meters. It's not a spot that stands out for its corals, but if you're a fan of these sharks, it will be worth your while to dive here.
Hunters Rock is not an easy or easy-to-find diving spot, ensuring a solitary dive with your companions. The most remarkable thing about this area, especially in summer, is the large number of venomous sea snakes you will encounter... although there will be no shortage of colorful reef fish in a very colorful dive filled with corals and sponges.