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skin diving

Apo Island

Oct 14, 2010

Apo Island with Bianca and Gianne

2nd Time Around
I felt I didn't see much of Apo Island the first time around. I was with friends who didn't want to go on the drop-off where most of the action was supposed to be happening. I saw some cool corals, but hardly any fish. With Bianca's invite to join her and Gianne for Apo Island, I penciled it in. This would be the first time I'd chillout with Bianca after our brief intro at the marine park in Subic, and my first time to meet Gianne, but the vibe was spot on - seemed like hanging out with old friends.

Day Dive
It was a day-dive arranged through Scuba Ventures, who also took care of chartering a pumpboat. Two Italians also joined us. After stopping by a chicken-lechon nook, we were on our way to Apo Island. Woo-hoo!

Apo Island

Apo Island

A Should-Have-Been Drift Dive
We didn't even set foot on land. One of the Italians did a drift dive while we snorkeled on the reef where the Italian was to end up. Bianca, Gianne and myself stayed on the shallower end taking underwater pictures. The corals were pristine but hardly any fish. The drop-off was promising but the current was just too strong. No wonder they call it a drift dive. In hindsight, we should have snorkeled where the Italian started his dive. Then we would have done a snorkeling drift dive too. That would have been totally cool as I've never done that before.

The Wall
Next stop was The Wall, just off the white chapel where the main port is. This is where the green turtles gather to feed. Bianca and Gianne also started their dive here - scuba diving. I thought I'd stay with them until it got too deep, but they started off on a vertical descent. I was on the surface watching them disappear in the deep. Ah...alone again, naturally.

Green Turtles
I explored the drop-off, but there was nothing there. The shallower section offered more coral sights - but again, no fish! I was looking for turtles but didn't get to see them until I was waist deep. I followed one who didn't mind my presence. I felt like the annoying sampaguita vendor who wouldn't let up on a prospect.

Ala Thelma and Louise
When they finally surfaced, we all got back to the boat and headed back to the mainland. The following day, after a tour of Silliman University, Bianca and Gianne headed to Bacolod for the annual Masskara Festival.

Ending Thoughts
I had a lot of fun with Bianca, Gianne and their friends - good people in my parlance. Too bad they had to leave so soon. Their leaving was a bit like a Sagada moment where I"d meet and hang with people, bonding and sharing, and before you know it, they take off on the next leg of their journey. I get to play these two roles interchangeably - sometimes the host, sometimes the traveller. But with Bianca's visit, she played both host and traveller.

As for Apo Island, it was a pleasant diversion from the endless coding of webpages. But I'm not sure if I've seen the best of it - at least from a skin diver's point of view. I don't know. For a scuba diver, it's one of the best dive spots on the planet. But for a skin diver who can only go so deep and so long on one breath, it's a little frustrating to know what's out there but beyond sight. Ah....gotta get certified.

--- TheLoneRider

Thank you Bianca! I hope you stay longer next time!

All pictures courtesy of Bianca and Gianne
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Mario's Scuba Diving and Homestay

Mario's Scuba Diving and Homestay

  • Contact: Mario or Mila Pascobello
    Email: marspascobello@hotmail.com
    Mobile: 0906.361.7254 / 0915.819.3607
    Dive Services: fun dive, PADI diving courses, advanced OWD, rescue, EFR, dive master
    Homestay: rooms with private veranda, private toilet with shower

Apo Island FYI / Tips

  • Apo Island boasts of having the freshest fish on your plate - avail of it!
  • even though a marine sanctuary, fishing is still allowed in Apo Island, providing livelihood to the locals - but controlled fishing
  • electricity is only from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • internet is painfully slow and intermittent when on
  • public eating areas are hardly available except from resorts where guests are checked-in
  • drinking water is still sourced from the mainland

Apo Island Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 45.26 as of July 7, 2015)
  • $44 medium boat ride from Malatapay to Apo Island up to 4 people, roundtrip (Php 2000/boat)
  • $66 big boat ride from Malatapay to Apo Island up to 8 people, roundtrip (Php 3000/boat)
  • $22 open water dives (average, Php1000/dive)

How to get there from Dumaguete:

  • take a tricycle and ask to be dropped-off the jeep terminal going to Zamboanguita (the terminal is near Robinson's Plaza) - P8.
  • at the terminal, board the next jeep for Zamboanguita. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the Malatapay Market. P20, 42 minutes.
  • upon disembarking at Malatapay, walk towards the beach until you come upon the pier office. This is where you sign up for a boat ride. They're organized here with posted rates.
  • get onboard the pumpboat and enjoy the boat ride. For 4 people, P2000 return. For 8 pax, P3000 return, 40 minutes. (rate as of Nov 2011)

Apo Island Blogs:

Related External Link:


Reader Comments:

TheLoneRider"Well you were a most gracious host!" -- Bianca Espinos
TheLoneRider
(Nov 5, 2010) Actually, with your visit, you were the gracious host (and traveller)!


Bianca EspinosBianca Espinos
(Nov 4, 2010) Well you were a most gracious host! It was my pleasure to show you one of my most favorite islands in this country. Highly recommended snorkling and scuba diving to all water babies! I'll definitely stay longer next time...your turn to show me the "volkswagon"! And thank you for the sweet words in your article :)

Gianne MontelibanoGianne Montelibano
(Oct 15, 2010) I would have wanted to stay for a week hu-hu. Me and Biancs were talking lang about how we miss you too already. I'll see you soon. So bitin!




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Dumaguete Hotel/Resort

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