The Philippine Sea is a marginal sea east and northeast of the Philippines occupying an estimated surface area of 5 million square kilometres (2 million square miles). The Philippine Sea Plate forms the floor of the sea, which forms a portion of the western North Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by the Philippine archipelago (Luzon, Catanduanes, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao) on the southwest; Halmahera, Morotai, Palau, Yap, and Ulithi (of the Carolines) on the southeast; the Marianas, including Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, on the east; the Bonin and Iwo Jima on the northeast; the Japanese islands of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyūshū on the north; the Ryukyu Islands on the northwest; and Taiwan in the west.
The sea has a complex and diverse undersea relief. The floor is formed into a structural basin by a series of geologic faults and fracture zones. Island arcs, which are actually extended ridges protruding above the ocean surface due to plate tectonic activity in the area, enclose the Philippine Sea to the north, east and south. The Philippine archipelago, Ryukyu Islands, and the Marianas are examples. Another prominent feature of the Philippine Sea is the presence of deep sea trenches, among them the Philippine Trench and the Mariana Trench, containing the deepest point on the planet.
Location within the Pacific Ocean
Philippine Sea (Philippines)
|Part of||Pacific Ocean|
The Philippine Sea has the Philippines and Taiwan to the west, Japan to the north, the Marianas to the east and Palau to the south. Adjacent seas include the Celebes Sea which is separated by Mindanao and smaller islands to the south, the South China Sea which is separated by Philippines, and the East China Sea which is separated by the Ryukyu Islands.
The Philippine Sea Plate forms the floor of the Philippine Sea. It subducts under the Philippine Mobile Belt which carries most of the Philippine archipelago and eastern Taiwan. Between the two plates is the Philippine Trench.
The Philippine Sea has a marine territorial scope of over 679,800 square kilometres (262,500 sq mi), and an EEZ of 2.2 million km2. Attributed to an extensive vicariance and island integrations, the Philippines contains the highest number of marine species per unit area relative to the countries within the Indo-Malay-Philippines Archipelago, and has been identified as the epicenter of marine biodiversity. With its inclusion in the Coral Triangle, the Philippine Sea encompasses over 3,212 fish species, 486 coral species, 800 seaweed species, and 820 benthic algae species, wherein the Verde Island Passage is dubbed as “the center of the center of marine fish biodiversity”. Within its territory, thirty-three endemic species of fish have been identified, including the blue-spotted angelfish (Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus) and the sea catfish (Arius manillensis). The Philippine marine territory has also become a breeding and feeding ground for endangered marine species, such as the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the dugong (Dugong dugon), and the megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios).
The Coral Triangle, or the Indo-Malayan Triangle, is considered as the global center of marine biodiversity, its total oceanic area approximately 2 million square kilometers. It encompasses the tropical waters of Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The Philippines is found at the apex of the Coral Triangle, taking up 300,000 square kilometres (120,000 sq mi) of the Coral Triangle, with the country's coral reef area in the Coral Triangle ranging from 10,750 square kilometres (4,150 sq mi) to 33,500 square kilometres (12,900 sq mi), which has over 500 species of scleractinian or stony corals, and 12 endemic coral species have been identified here as well.
The Coral Triangle houses 75% of the world's coral species which is estimated to be at around 600 different species, along with over 2000 different types of reef fish. It is also home to six of the world's seven species of marine turtles, namely hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, green turtle, olive ridley, and sea turtle. Up until now, there is no single explanation of the diversity found in the Coral Triangle, as most researchers have attributed the diversity to geological occurrences like plate tectonics.
It also helps in providing and supporting the livelihoods of 120 million people, and is able to provide food to the Philippine coastal communities and millions more worldwide. The whale shark tourism in the Coral Triangle also helps provide a steady source of income for the community. Apart from the Philippines, the marine sources found in the Coral Triangle have high economic value across the globe. Countries surrounding the Coral Triangle also help provide their locals with technical assistance and capability to build toward conservation and sustainability for food security, livelihoods, biodiversity and economic development.
Climate change also continuously affects the coastal ecosystem found in the Coral Triangle, as it contributes to rising sea levels and ocean acidification, thus endangering marine animals like fish and turtles. Consequently, this also has a negative effect on local livelihoods such as fishing and tourism. Corals are not able to adapt and survive if water will keep on warming, as this makes the corals absorb more carbon dioxide, altering pH balance making it acidic.
The Philippine Sea hosts an exotic marine ecosystem. About five hundred species of hard and soft corals occur in the coastal waters and 20 per cent of the worldwide known shellfish species are found in Philippine waters. Sea turtles, sharks, moray eels, octopuses and sea snakes along with numerous species of fish such as tuna can commonly be observed. Additionally, the Philippine Sea serves as spawning ground for Japanese eel, tuna and different whale species.
The Philippine Sea is both a centre of marine biodiversity as well as a biodiversity hotspot. At least 418 species are being threatened because of unsustainable practices. According to the Asia Development Bank, there is a 90% reduction in marine life in the area, due to the various economic procedures being performed. The Philippine Sea he terminal point of sewage pipelines from the cities. Mangrove forests are also being removed for the sake of both property development and wood production. Mercury wastes and mining runoff also end up within the Philippine Sea. These are some of the reasons why the Philippines is ranked as one of the highest in reef degradation.
The rise in temperature change caused shifts in the marine ecosystems. The ideal temperature for coral to is 24-29 degrees Celsius. If the water temperature goes above or below this threshold, the coral growth would slow down or even die. As fish and other marine life rely on corals for sustenance and habitat, communities that rely on fishing are heavily affected as well. As the Philippine Sea is within the Pacific Ring of Fire, the physical damage caused by typhoons coming from the east can further destroy the marine habitats.
The first European to navigate the Philippine Sea was Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, who named it Mar Filipinas when he and his men were in the Mariana Islands prior to the exploration of the Philippines. Later it was discovered by other Spanish explorers from 1522 to 1565 and the site of the famous galleon trade route.
Between June 19 and 20, 1944, the Battle of the Philippine Sea (a very large and decisive World War II naval battle between Japan and the United States) took place in the eastern Philippine Sea, near the Mariana Islands. The aircraft carriers Taihō, Shōkaku, Junyō, Hiyō and Ryuho were bombed, torpedoed and sunk by American carrier-based planes and assaulted from other naval vessels. The aerial part of the Battle of the Philippine Sea was nicknamed the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" due to massive losses of Japanese aircraft and pilots. The battle facilitated the Allied conquests of Saipan, Guam and Tinian in the Marianas, Palau in the Southwest, and ultimately the Philippines.
Following an escalation of the Spratly Islands dispute in 2011, various Philippine government agencies started using the neologism "West Philippine Sea" to refer to the South China Sea. However, a PAGASA spokesperson said that the sea to the east of the Philippines will continue to be called the Philippine Sea.
A historic war between the naval fleets of the United States and Japan took place in the vicinity of the Philippine Sea. This was called The Battle of the Philippine Sea, and occurred near the Mariana Islands from June 19–20 of 1944. It was also the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history which featured the United States Fifth Fleet and the 1st Mobile Fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Aside from the navy, aerial activity was also present in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, as hundreds of aircraft from both countries fired at each other. The Americans indisputably won, and nicknamed the aerial war the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” due to the number of Japanese aircraft shot down.
Japan struggled to recover from the severe damages of its imperial navy and air strength suffered from the battle. This heavily attributed to the victory of the United States in the Battle of the Philippine Sea which was a vital part of the Americans’ reclamation of the Philippines, and the Mariana Islands from Japan.
The Philippines depends on the Philippine Sea for one of its sources of food and livelihood. In the Coral Triangle area, the Philippines harvest seaweeds, milkfish, shrimp, oyster, mussel and live reef fish as aquaculture products. Fishermen also catch most fishes like small pelagics, anchovy, sardine, mackerel and tuna, among many other species found.
Recent scientific expedition has found that the Benham Rise (also known as the Philippine Rise) within the sea is diverse in its marine ecosystem that it attracts migratory commercial fish like tuna, marlin and mackerel. The Benham Rise is also considered as a rich fishing ground for fishermen from Aurora, Quezon and Bicol. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources thought it necessary to teach fishermen sustainable fishing so as to prevent the destruction of coral formations which could negatively affect the food chain of the migratory fish. They have considered migratory fish to be in quite of a high value, as, for example, a single blue tuna fin found in the Benham Rise, can be sold at ₱2,000 in the market.
The 1965 Philippine Sea A-4 crash was a Broken Arrow incident in which a United States Navy Douglas A-4E Skyhawk attack aircraft of Attack Squadron 56 (VA-56) carrying a nuclear weapon fell into the sea off Japan from the aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga. The aircraft, pilot and weapon were never recovered.Battle of the Philippine Sea
The Battle of the Philippine Sea (June 19–20, 1944) was a major naval battle of World War II that eliminated the Imperial Japanese Navy's ability to conduct large-scale carrier actions. It took place during the United States' amphibious invasion of the Mariana Islands during the Pacific War. The battle was the last of five major "carrier-versus-carrier" engagements between American and Japanese naval forces, and pitted elements of the United States Navy's Fifth Fleet against ships and aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Mobile Fleet and nearby island garrisons. This was the largest carrier-to-carrier battle in history.The aerial part of the battle was nicknamed the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot by American aviators for the severely disproportional loss ratio inflicted upon Japanese aircraft by American pilots and anti-aircraft gunners. During a debriefing after the first two air battles a pilot from USS Lexington remarked "Why, hell, it was just like an old-time turkey shoot down home!" The outcome is generally attributed to American improvements in training, tactics, technology (including the top-secret anti-aircraft proximity fuze), and ship and aircraft design.During the course of the battle, American submarines torpedoed and sank two of the largest Japanese fleet carriers taking part in the battle. The American carriers launched a protracted strike, sinking one light carrier and damaging other ships, but most of these aircraft returning to their carriers ran low on fuel as night fell and 80 planes were lost. Although at the time, the battle appeared to be a missed opportunity to destroy the Japanese fleet, the Imperial Japanese Navy had lost the bulk of its carrier air strength and would never recover.Benham Rise
The Benham Rise, officially known as the Philippine Rise, is a seismically active undersea region and extinct volcanic ridge located in the Philippine Sea approximately 250 km (160 mi) east of the northern coastline of Dinapigue, Isabela. The Rise has been known to the people of Catanduanes as Kalipung-awan since pre-colonial times, which literally means 'loneliness from an isolated place'.Under the Philippine Sea lie a number of basins including the West Philippine Sea Basin, inside of which is located the Central Basin Fault (CBF). The Benham Plateau is located in the CBF and its basement probably is a micro-continent. Several scientific surveys have been made on the feature to study its nature and its impact on tectonic subduction, including one about its effects on the 1990 Luzon earthquake. The Philippines claimed this feature as part of its continental shelf in a claim filed with the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on April 8, 2009, and which was approved under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 2012.It is designated as a "protected food supply exclusive zone" by the Philippine government in May 2017. Mining and oil exploration is banned in the Benham Plateau as a protected area. On May 16, 2017, Executive Order No. 25 was signed, renaming the feature to “Philippine Rise”.Davao Gulf
Davao Gulf is a gulf situated in the southeastern portion of Mindanao in the Philippines. It has an area of 308,000 hectares. Davao Gulf cuts into the island of Mindanao from Philippine Sea. It is surrounded by all five provinces in the Davao Region. The largest island in the gulf is Samal Island. Davao City, on the gulf's west coast, is the largest and busiest port on the gulf. The Bagobo, a tribe known in Davao, are living in the Davao Gulf. With the thrust of Davao City towards Information Technology and IT-Enabled Services (ITES), Davao City and the Davao Gulf area have also earned the moniker Silicon Gulf.Japanese aircraft carrier Hiyō
Hiyō (飛鷹, "Flying Hawk") was the name ship of her class of two aircraft carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Begun as the ocean liner Izumo Maru (出雲丸) in 1939, she was purchased by the Navy Ministry in 1941 for conversion to an aircraft carrier. Completed shortly after the Battle of Midway in June 1942, she participated in the Guadalcanal Campaign, but missed the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October because of an electrical generator fire.
The carrier's aircraft were disembarked several times and used from land bases in battles in the South West Pacific. Hiyō was torpedoed in mid-1943 and spent three months under repair. She spent most of the next six months training and ferrying aircraft before returning to combat. She was sunk by a gasoline-vapour explosion caused by an American torpedo hit during the Battle of the Philippine Sea on 20 June 1944 with the loss of 247 officers and ratings, about a fifth of her complement.Japanese aircraft carrier Shōkaku
Shōkaku (Japanese: 翔鶴, "Soaring Crane") was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of her class. Along with her sister ship Zuikaku, she took part in several key naval battles during the Pacific War, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands before being torpedoed and sunk by a U.S. submarine at the Battle of the Philippine Sea.Japanese aircraft carrier Taihō
Taihō (大鳳) (meaning Great Phoenix), was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Possessing heavy belt armor and featuring an armored flight deck (a first for any Japanese aircraft carrier), she represented a major departure in Japanese aircraft carrier design and was expected to not only survive multiple bomb, torpedo, or shell hits, but also continue fighting effectively afterwards.
Built by Kawasaki at Kobe, she was laid down on 10 July 1941, launched almost two years later on 7 April 1943 and finally commissioned on 7 March 1944. She sank on 19 June 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea after suffering a single torpedo hit from an American submarine, due to explosions resulting from design flaws and poor damage control.Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku
Zuikaku (Japanese: 瑞鶴 "Auspicious Crane") was a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Her complement of aircraft took part in the attack on Pearl Harbor that formally brought the United States into the Pacific War, and she fought in several of the most important naval battles of the war, before being sunk during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.One of six carriers to participate in the Pearl Harbor attack, Zuikaku was the last of the six to be sunk in the war (four in the Battle of Midway and Shōkaku in the Battle of the Philippine Sea).Japanese submarine I-185
The Japanese submarine I-185 (originally I-85) was a Kaidai type cruiser submarine of the KD7 sub-class built for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the 1940s. She was sunk with all hands by an American destroyer during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in mid-1944.Leyte Gulf
Leyte Gulf is a gulf in the Eastern Visayan region in the Philippines. The bay is part of the Philippine Sea of the Pacific Ocean, and is bounded by two islands; Samar in the north and Leyte in the west. On the south of the bay is Mindanao Island, separated from Leyte by the Surigao Strait. Dinagat Island partly encloses the gulf to the southeast, and the small Homonhon Island and Suluan Island, sit astride the eastern entrance to the Gulf. It is approximately 130 km (81 mi) north-south, and 60 km (37 mi) east-west.Several municipalities are situated on the coast of the gulf: Balangiga, Giporlos, Guiuan, Lawaan, Mercedes, Quinapondan and Salcedo. There are also eleven marine reserves in the gulf region.
Leyte Gulf was also the scene of the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which extends to Surigao Strait during the Battle of Surigao Strait, the largest naval battle of World War II and started the end of Japanese occupation in the Philippines.
In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan stirred up a storm surge in Leyte Gulf, resulting to massive loss of lives, agricultural land and property along Leyte's shores.List of ports in the Philippines
The following is a list of major ports in the Philippines organized by water mass.
This list consists primarily of shipping ports, but also includes some that are primarily or significantly devoted to other purposes: cruises, fishing, local delivery, and marinas.Mariana Trench
The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is located in the western Pacific Ocean about 200 kilometres (124 mi) east of the Mariana Islands, and has the deepest natural trench in the world. It is a crescent-shaped trough in the Earth's crust averaging about 2,550 km (1,580 mi) long and 69 km (43 mi) wide. The maximum known depth is 10,994 metres (36,070 ft) (± 40 metres [130 ft]) at the southern end of a small slot-shaped valley in its floor known as the Challenger Deep. However, some unrepeated measurements place the deepest portion at 11,034 metres (36,201 ft). By comparison: if Mount Everest was placed into the trench at this point, its peak would still be over two kilometres (1.2 mi) under water.At the bottom of the trench the water column above exerts a pressure of 1,086 bars (15,750 psi), more than 1,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level. At this pressure, the density of water is increased by 4.96%, so that 95.27 of any unit of volume of water under the pressure of the Challenger Deep would contain the same mass as 100 of those units at the surface. The temperature at the bottom is 1 to 4 °C (34 to 39 °F).The trench is not the part of the seafloor closest to the center of the Earth. This is because the Earth is an oblate spheroid, not a perfect sphere; its radius is about 25 kilometres (16 mi) smaller at the poles than at the equator. As a result, parts of the Arctic Ocean seabed are at least 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) closer to the Earth's center than the Challenger Deep seafloor.
In 2009, the Marianas Trench was established as a United States National Monument. Xenophyophores have been found in the trench by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers at a record depth of 10.6 kilometres (6.6 mi) below the sea surface. Data has also suggested that microbial life forms thrive within the trench.Philippine Mobile Belt
The Philippine Mobile Belt is a complex portion of the tectonic boundary between the Eurasian Plate and the Philippine Sea Plate, comprising most of the country of the Philippines. It includes two subduction zones, the Manila Trench to the west and the Philippine Trench to the east, as well as the Philippine Fault System. Within the Belt, a number of crustal blocks or microplates which have been shorn off the adjoining major plates are undergoing massive deformation.Most segments of the Philippines, including northern Luzon, are part of the Philippine Mobile Belt, which is bounded by the Philippine Sea Plate to the east, the Molucca Sea Collision Zone to the south, Sunda Plate to the southwest, and the South China Sea Basin to the west and north-west. To the north it ends in eastern Taiwan, the zone of active collision between the North Luzon Trough portion of the Luzon Volcanic Arc and South China. The Philippine Mobile Belt has also been called the Philippine Microplate and the Taiwan-Luzon-Mindoro Belt.Philippine Sea Plate
The Philippine Sea Plate or the Philippine Plate is a tectonic plate comprising oceanic lithosphere that lies beneath the Philippine Sea, to the east of the Philippines. Most segments of the Philippines, including northern Luzon, are part of the Philippine Mobile Belt, which is geologically and tectonically separate from the Philippine Sea Plate.
Philippine Sea plate is bordered mostly by convergent boundaries:
To the north, the Philippine Sea Plate meets the Okhotsk Plate at the Nankai Trough. The Philippine Sea Plate, the Amurian Plate, and the Okhotsk Plate meet at Mount Fuji in Japan. The thickened crust of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc colliding with Japan constitutes the Izu Collision Zone.
To the east, Philippine Sea Plate meets the Pacific Plate, subducting at the Izu-Ogasawara Trench. The east of the plate includes the Izu-Ogasawara (Bonin) and the Mariana Islands, forming the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc system. There is also a divergent boundary between the Philippine Sea Plate and the small Mariana Plate which carries the Mariana Islands.
To the south, the Philippine Sea Plate is bounded by the Caroline Plate and Bird's Head Plate.
To the west, the Philippine Sea Plate subducts under the Philippine Mobile Belt at the Philippine Trench and the East Luzon Trench. (The adjacent rendition of Prof. Peter Bird's map is inaccurate in this respect.)
To the northwest, the Philippine Sea Plate meets Taiwan and the Nansei islands on the Okinawa Plate, and southern Japan on the Amurian Plate.Philippine Trench
The Philippine Trench (also Philippine Deep, Mindanao Trench, and Mindanao Deep) is a submarine trench to the east of the Philippines. The trench is located in the Philippine sea of the western North Pacific Ocean and continues NNW-SSE. It has a length of approximately 1,320 kilometres (820 miles) and a width of about 30 km (19 mi) from the center of the Philippine island of Luzon trending southeast to the northern Maluku island of Halmahera in Indonesia.
Immediately to the north of the Philippine Trench is the East Luzon Trench. They are separated, with their continuity interrupted and displaced, by Benham Plateau on the Philippine Sea Plate.South China Sea
The South China Sea is a marginal sea that is part of the Pacific Ocean, encompassing an area from the Karimata and Malacca Straits to the Strait of Taiwan of around 3,500,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi). The sea carries tremendous strategic importance; one-third of the world's shipping passes through it, carrying over $3 trillion in trade each year, it contains lucrative fisheries, which are crucial for the food security of millions in Southeast Asia. Huge oil and gas reserves are believed to lie beneath its seabed.According to International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition (1953), it is located
south of China;
east of Vietnam;
west of the Philippines;
east of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra, up to the Strait of Singapore in the western, and
north of the Bangka Belitung Islands and BorneoHowever, in its unapproved draft 4th edition (1986), IHO proposed the Natuna Sea, thus the South China Sea southern boundary was shifted northward, from north of the Bangka Belitung Islands to
north and northeast of Natuna Islands.The minute South China Sea Islands, collectively an archipelago, number in the hundreds. The sea and its mostly uninhabited islands are subject to competing claims of sovereignty by several countries. These claims are also reflected in the variety of names used for the islands and the sea.Surigao Strait
Surigao Strait (Filipino: Kipot ng Surigaw) is a strait in the southern Philippines, between the Bohol Sea and the Leyte Gulf of the Philippine Sea.USS Philippine Sea (CG-58)
USS Philippine Sea (CG-58) is a Flight II Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser on active service in the United States Navy. She is named for the Battle of the Philippine Sea during World War II and is the second ship to bear the name. She has completed multiple deployments as part of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001.USS Philippine Sea (CV-47)
USS Philippine Sea (CV/CVA/CVS-47, AVT-11) was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers of the United States Navy, and the first ship to be named for the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She was launched on 5 September 1945, after the end of World War II, and sponsored by the wife of the Governor of Kentucky.
During her career, Philippine Sea served first in the Atlantic Ocean and saw several deployments to the Mediterranean Sea as well as a trip to Antarctica as a part of Operation Highjump. Sent to the Korean Peninsula at the outbreak of the Korean War, she sent aircraft in support of United Nations ground troops, first during the Battle of Pusan Perimeter and then during the Inchon Landings and the Second Battle of Seoul. She subsequently supported UN troops during the surprise Chinese attack and the Chosin Reservoir Campaign. Philippine Sea saw three tours to Korea during the war, receiving nine battle stars for her service.
For the remainder of her service, she operated primarily out of San Diego and San Francisco, seeing several deployments to the Far East and being redesignated an anti-submarine warfare carrier. She was decommissioned on 28 December 1958 and sold for scrap in 1970.
See also: Bodies of water of the Philippines