Abundant life beneath the water

Stretching from Batangas province in the west to the island of Romblon in the east, the Verde Passage is a busy sea lane. Many coastal villagers still set their daily rhythm to the regular schedule of passing ferry boats.

For scuba divers and other tourists, probably the most popular destination in the area is Anilao where a string of resorts caters to the needs of visitors, especially on weekends. Another perennial favorite is Puerto Galera on the island of Mindoro where the beaches and coral reefs vie for the attention of holiday makers.

In recent months, Verde Passage landed on the front pages of newspapers following a report from prominent scientists Kent Carpenter, global marine species assessment coordinator for the World Conservation Union, and Victor Springer, curator emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution.

Analyzing almost 3,000 maps showing the distribution of marine species from all over the world, they found that the highest percentage (2.5) of biological diversity was found in the Philippines. Aside from having the most number of species that are found nowhere else, the highest number of 1,736 species found in a single 10-by-10 kilometer square area was also found here