Apo Reef Sablayan

apo reef sablayan
Apo Reef Sablayan | @philspaceagency

Apo Reef Sablayan

LOOK: Diwata-2 captures the Apo Reef in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

Apo Reef is home to diverse species of marine life and is the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world! The corals span approximately 34 km² and are visible in this Diwata-2 image.

The Apo Reef, also considered as the second largest atoll-like reef in the Philippines comprises of two isolated coral reefs that are disconnected by a 30-meter deep channel. The clear blue waters of the channel are teeming with 285 species of colourful marine life, including tropical aquarium fish, snappers and the crevice-dwelling moray.

It is one best dive spots in the world, attracting hordes of divers all the year round. The soft white sand and patches of fine corals, clearly visible through the crystal blue waters, is truly an entrancing sight to behold!

The Reef and the vast expansive waters around are protected areas in the Philippines, administered as the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP). The National Park is located 33 kilometres (approximately) off the coast of Sablayan in the Occidental Mindoro province.

Although most of the areas of the Reef are submerged, three beautiful islands: the Apo Island, Apo Menor and Cayos del Bajo mark it on the surface. The pristine surroundings, the occasional chirping of the birds and the incessant murmurings of the rippling waters enhance the idyllic beauty of the Apo Reef. People flock to these islands for recreation or just to enjoy a sporting vacation (scuba diving, snorkelling, bird watching, dolphin watching, reef cruising, kayaking, lagoon rafting and turtle monitoring are best enjoyed in the calm waters of the islands).

The Apo Reef was declared as a protected area under the category of Natural Park due to Presidential Proclamation No. 868 that was issued in 1996. The DENR’s Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) listed the Apo Reef for the consideration of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (https://www.apo-reef.com/)

This image (image above) was taken on 21 November 2021 by Diwata-2 High Precision Telescope (HPT), and underwent the Support Vector Machine (SVM) classification scheme to classify corals, water, and terrain.

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