After exploring the mystical place of Siquijor, we caught the first trip back to Dumaguete the next day for our next adventure.

Negros Oriental isn’t as popular as its neighboring provinces are. But, there is an island located at the southest part of the province, which is known to be a haven for both free divers and scuba divers.

Not so much people may have heard of Apo Island, but for those who have, this place has a wonderful marine biodiversity. On their website, it’s stated that it is “home to over 650 documented species of fish and estimated to have over 400 species of corals.” And did I mention that this place is full of cute pawikans (sea turtles)?

From Dumaguete, we rode a bus bound to Bayawan, and asked to be dropped off at Zamboanguita. By 10 am, we arrived at Kav’s Beach Resort, and rested for a while before heading out to Malatapay Market.

If you plan to visit Apo Island, make sure you visit on Wednesdays so you could also experience the market madness in Malatapay. My cousin, who lives in this province, said that this market is only open every Wednesday. Suppliers and buyers of livestock, fruits, vegetables, and farming tools gather here to trade and sell.

The marketplace was lively by the time we arrive. It was my first time seeing so much carabaos (water buffalo) in one place! The market also has an eatery where they serve food, like lechon, grilled fish, and sinigang.

 

By 11 am, we decided to catch a boat to Apo Island. At first, we wanted to try riding the passenger boat since it’s cheaper, but there were no available seats left, and we might have a problem going home since they aren’t going to wait for us in Apo Island. We decided to find other travellers (Hi, Tina!) going to the island, and rented a private boat.

  

Going to the island may be a bit tough as the waves were strong that time. Upon arriving to the small island, you have to pay a general admission (PHP 100.00/head). Another fee is collected if you want to dive within (PHP 300.00/head/dive) or outside (PHP 200.00 /head/dive)the sanctuary, or if you want to snorkel within the sanctuary (PHP 50.00).

There are resorts and stores available. The island also has guides that accommodate tourists and travellers during diving or snorkelling.

While snorkelling, I panicked twice for being too close to the sea turtles. They literally would just swim beside or under you– they’re so chill!

   

There are five species of sea turtles in the island. I was able to spot two kinds. Not bad for someone who snorkelled for the first time!

By 4pm, we decided to depart from the island, and went back to the resort for dinner.

It was a fun experience to be swimming with sea turtles! It was my first time learning how to snorkel, and it was worth the gulping a handful of sea water. I think I need to keep an eye, and save money for basic diving courses from now on. LOL

Notes:

  • Apo Island should not be confused with Apo Reef. Apo Island is located in Negros Oriental, while Apo Reef is located in Mindoro.
  • Apo Island is considered as a marine sanctuary and is currently protected by the National Integrated Protected Area Act (NIPA), and under the jurisdiction of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB)
  • You have two options on how to reach Apo Island: 1) you can rent a private boat (what we did) for PHP 2,000.00 that is good for 2-4 person, or 2) ride the passenger boat, a public boat used by locals when they go to Malatapay Market
  • The waves going to Apo Island may be big, so make sure to bring a dry bag where you can put your valuables.
  • Do not touch the sea turtles! It is a violation, and a fine is collected for the violators.
  • Electricity runs 3 hours a day, but resorts have generators that can provide 24/7 electricity.
  • If you wish to stay for the night, make sure to contact the resorts beforehand. For lists of accommodations, click here.
  • Always practice responsible travelling!

 

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