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The Tulapos Marine Sanctuary is a small marine reserve located in the north of the island of Siquijor. Established in 1986, it is the oldest marine protected area on the island. It includes mangroves and coral reefs that are home to schools of barracuda, giant clams, starfish, turtles, and several species of clownfish. A guide is mandatory to snorkel in the reserve (available on-site).

The shore at Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, Siquijor
The shore (snorkel entry) at Tulapos Marine Sanctuary.

How to get to the Tulapos snorkeling spot

The Tulapos Marine Sanctuary, located in Enrique Villanueva, in northern Siquijor, is easy to reach by tricycle or taxi. To get there, take the island’s circumferential road, then turn at this crossing (in front of a basketball court) to reach the shore.

A hut is found at the entrance to the reserve, open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Here you can pay for your entry fee (100 PHP pp for snorkeling) and your guide (250 PHP for two people). It is not permitted to visit the reserve without a guide.

One hundred Philippine pesos (PHP) are equal to less than $2 USD and 250 PHP is about $4.50 USD.

Tulapos Marine Sanctuary snorkeling map, Siquijor.
Tulapos Marine Sanctuary snorkeling map, Siquijor.

Water entrance for snorkeling Tulapos

Water entrance is from the sandy beach. Follow your guide’s instructions.

Tulapos snorkeling exploration tips

Near the shore, you will first snorkel at the edge of the mangroves, in which small fish, such as juvenile snappers, shelter. The submerged roots provide them with shelter until they reach adult size and move to the reef.

Ocellaris anemonefish in Tualpos seagrass beds
The ocellaris anemonefish is quite common in Tualpos seagrass beds.

Facing the mangroves are large, shallow seagrass beds (↕2-6 ft). In these seagrass beds, you will spot several species of invertebrates such as horned starfish, blue starfish, and mollusks.  There are also dozens of gigas clams which seem to have been deliberately grouped together on the seabed.

In places, among the grasses, you will notice carpet anemones in which ocellaris anemonefish live.

Giant clams at Tulapos
The Tulapos Marine Sanctuary hosts large communities of gigas clams, the most massive clam species, which can reach a length of 4.5 feet.

About 220 yards from the shore, the seagrass beds give way to the coral reef, which slopes gently towards the depths (↕6-20 ft). The seabed is covered with digitate corals, tabular corals and massive porous corals, overall in healthy condition.

Hundreds of species of reef fish have been recorded in the Tulapos Marine Sanctuary. Among the most often observed are anemonefish (several species, see list at the bottom of the page), parrotfish, razorfish, triggerfish and butterflyfish.

Coral reef at Tulapos
Tulapos reef slopes are covered with colorful hard corals.

Your guide will also show you the compact school of several hundred barracudas patrolling at the foot of the drop-off (↕20 ft).

Even if they are not spotted every day at this location, green sea turtles also are common visitors to the reef.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

The Barakoda restaurant is located next to the entrance to the reserve.

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaTulapos Marine Sanctuary
  • Maximum depth20 ft / 6 m over the reef
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsEntrance fee 100 PHP per person + guide 250 PHP for 2 persons
  • Restaurants nearbyYes, near the reserve entrance

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.