the Philippines


Manila, Luzon




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In the coral waters around the island

The Philippines is situated in Southeast Asia in the Western Pacific. The Western Pacific is known for having some of the warmest waters on the planet. In the warm, shallow waters around the islands, we find the corals and the coral reefs.  Corals are micro organisms, so, they are the smallest animals you can imagine.  These 'microscopic small' organisms produce (secrete) lime which form miniscule small holes (cavities). These miniscule small holes serve as their living room. The corals use their tentacles to trap passing plankton. Plankton is the food for corals. As generations of corals die, the lime skeletons of the dead micro organisms will build-up the coral reefs.  It takes a coral reef 5 years to grow one inch. The forms of the reefs we can see today, are the result of a natural process of millions of years. These limestone forms are  the environment (the habitat) for the many different en coloured tropical fish.

Red coralCoral ReefCoral fish

Marine bio diversity

The coral reefs in the Western Pacific have  the highest marine biodiversity in the world. In the waters of the Philippines there are more than 2000 different kinds of fish. This area is one of the most unique in the Pacific Ocean. The coral reefs are very beautiful, ideal for divers and snorkelling tourists. Moreover, they also protect the shoreline by acting as a wave breaker.

Orange clown fish   Murene

All pictures © Harry Boer  ,

Threats for the coral reefs?

Its very sad that  many coral reefs have been damaged in the past  by fishermen. Many fishermen used cyanide and dynamite to get fish in a more easy and fast way. To use the cyanide was an effective way not to kill but paralyze (put them to sleep) the fish for some time. It was then easy to collect the fish in a relative short time. The fish was sold to traders. Using the dynamite by the fishermen caused a lot of damage to coral reefs.

Measures of the Philippine government 

The government of the Philippines, have realized that the reefs of the area can be a very good economic resource in another way than fishing! For tourists diving and snorkelling in these coral waters, is one of the most pleasant ways to spend holidays in a tropical country like the Philippines. For the Philippines, tourism is more and more an important economic sector. Tourism brings a lot of dollars to the country and creates many jobs.

Using dynamite belongs to the past

The Philippine government has taken steps to preserve these areas of biodiversity. The policy is effective. Fishermen are convinced too that tourism is a very good alternative for generating income. The result is that no further damage happened in the last years. The coral reefs can restore with the speed of one inch in five years.

Underwater world  Underwater world  Threats Types of  reefs Destructions