How big is Tubbataha National Park?


Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park is located in the middle of the Sulu Sea. Only a few bits of rock and sand are above the water line for most of the day but underneath the waves lies a grand display of biodiversity.

The park covers three coral atoll formations – the North Atoll, South Atoll and the smaller Jessie Beazley Reef. The area covered by these atolls along with the surrounding waters put the total area of the park at 969 square kilometers (374 square miles)!

If you need greater contextualization, here are some scales that would help you appreciate this number.

Tubbataha is roughly one-and-a-half times larger than Metro Manila (609 square kilometers)!

The park is also larger than six other Philippine provinces (Batanes, Camiguin, Siquijor, Biliran, Guimaras and Marinduque).

Compared to international cities, Tubbataha could be closely likened to Bangkok (Thailand), Perth (Australia) and Frankfurt (Germany).

If we were only to measure the area of the actual atolls and not the entire area covered by the park, the figures would be as follows:

North Atoll  – (16 kilometers long x 5 kilometers width) = 80 square kilometers
South Atoll – (5 kilometers long x 3 kilometers width) = 15 square kilometers
Jessie Beazley Reef  = roughly 0.80 square kilometer

Even by these figures, the atoll structures are still comparatively big. For geographical references, the atolls combine for almost five times the size of the city of Makati.

Tubbataha really is vast and this makes it a great sanctuary for marine biodiversity. Various surveys in the area has allowed scientists to conclude that the area is home to at least 360 species of coral, 600 species of fish, 11 species of sharks and a dozen dolphin and whale species.

Tubbataha Wiki Page