It is hard to imagine that any one spot can have the largest concentration of marine life in the world, but that is exactly how Kent Carpenter of the World Conservation Union describes the Verde Island Passage. He goes further and states it is "the marine counterpart to the Amazon River Basin" a big call and it is right here a couple of hours south of Manila.
Looking at the area from the surface it looks just like the rest of the Philippines, beautiful turquoise waters scattered with islands. What makes this area different is what lies below. But this is not new for those lucky enough to have tasted the scuba diving in the Philippines, I'm sure they could have told you how fantastic and abundant the marine life is.
Where is the Verde Island Passage?
The Verde Island Passage separates the Philippines largest island Luzon, which is where you will find Manila and Mindoro Island, where you will find the diving destination, Puerto Galera.
The Verde Island Passage is roughly 100km long and at it's shortest distance, 20km wide. You have to cross it from Batangas to reach Puerto Galera.
This passage is a major seaway for passenger ferries and other ships carrying all sorts of supplies into the Visayas, some say it is an accident waiting to happen.
In the middle of the Verde Island Passage is Verde Island.
It's not what's on top that is impressive with Verde Island.
Don't get me wrong, Verde Island is a typical tropical island, you know the one, white sand, swaying palm trees and balmy weather, but it is what's underneath the water on the surrounding reefs that has made this island pretty special.
Incredibly the underwater reefs are called home to nearly 60% of the worlds known shore fish, that's right 60%!
The island was named after Captain Juan Verde. During a pursuit of Muslim warriors in the 1500's he was ordered to occupy the now Batangas area, which he did and spread Christianity as far as he could. The Captain stayed on Verde Island for just over six months, which he named after himself La Isla Verde.