Today is Fri, October 20, 2017

Crown jewel of the Verde Island Passage

Source: MANILA BULLETIN, March 17, 2009

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro—With the onset of summer, people from all walks of life, all over the country, will once again troop to this island resort to savor the God-given natural beauty of the tropics. Puerto Galera, which is likened to a "jewelry box" for containing precious and unique marine life, is gifted for being at the heart of the "center of the world’s marine biodiversity ", which is the Verde Island Passage.

The unique position of Puerto Galera in the mainstream of Verde Island Passage could be the reason why this island resort was made the 32nd member of the Paris-based World’s Most Beautiful Bays Club (WMBB), a singular distinction still unsurpassed by any bays in the Philippines.

The WMBB Club is sponsored by UNESCO, which also declared Puerto Galera a biosphere reserve under its Man and the Biosphere Programme in the 1970s. The Verde Island Passage is at the apex of the so-called Coral Triangle – the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia – which has the distinction of being the "global center of marine biodiversity".

The passage houses 2,983 individual species of algae, corals, crustaceans, mollusks, fishes, marine reptiles, and marine mammals, based on a study conducted by scientists Carpenter and Springer in 2005.

As part of the triangle or the "eco-region", Verde Island Passage is under the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape, and is one of the only four Marine Biodiversity Conservation Corridors in the Philippines.

The four MBBCCs are the Balabac Strait that links Sulu Sea with the South China Sea; the Tri-National Sea Turtle Corridor that links Sulu Sea with the Sulawesi Sea; the Cagayan Ridge (Tubbataha Reef National Park, Palawan); and the Verde Island Passage.