Apo Reef

Satellite image of Apo Reef

I’ve decided to participate in Blog Action Day for the first time this year. Blog Action Day is a collective action among the world’s bloggers to talk about one important topic on October 15 of every year. For 2009, the topic is climate change. This is a timely topic since Typhoon Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng recently ravaged the Philippines with record-breaking (and heart-breaking) effects, which many meteorologists and scientists are attributing to climate change. In addition, the world’s leaders will be meeting in Copenhagen to discuss this topic, so collective voices are needed worldwide to guide the leaders on a suitable course of action.

View from Apo Island Photo by stiffler meister (CC)

So for my Blog Action Day post, I’ll be presenting Apo Reef which is located between Mindoro and Palawan within the Mindoro Strait. Why Apo Reef? Well, global warming is widely believed to be the primary change that is happening to the climate and as oceans and seas warm, coral reefs are the major casualty. Most coral species live within a very narrow range of temperature. When the water get hotter than normal, the corals start to die in a process called coral bleaching. This is a bad thing since corals sustain marine life and without corals, there will be less fish and marine biodiversity. Apo Reef is the largest coral reef system in the Philippines—even bigger than the popular Tubbataha Reef.

Apo Reef is said to be the second largest contiguous coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I don’t know if that claim is true, since the Mesoamerican Reef is the second largest reef in the world though there is no “contiguous” word there. Anyway, there are three islands in the reef: Apo Island (not related to the one in Negros Oriental), Apo Menor (Binangaan), and Cayos del Bajo. Apo Island is covered with mangroves and has a small lighthouse. The whole reef covers an area of around 34 square kilometers (comparable to the size of the City of Manila) and was added in 2006 to the tentative list of places to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Fishing is banned in the area and the reef system has been designated as a protected natural park.

Unfortunately, there is still no high-resolution satellite imagery of Apo Reef in Google Maps yet, so we have to make do with the low-resolution Landsat imagery for now. (The thumbnail shows Apo Island.)

You might also want to check out these other somewhat climate-change-related posts here in Vista Pinas:

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Posted on
October 16, 2009
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IslandsMindoro and Sibuyan Sea
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  1. Marie wrote on April 18, 2010 @ 05:01PM

    Philippines is so much to offer

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