Apr 10, 2017
Revisiting Apo Island
GPS waypoint: 09°04'40.08"N 123°16'09.19"E
Location: Apo Island, Dauin (municipality), Negros Oriental (province), Philippines
Apo Island on the Cross Hair
Having my respite in Camotes Islands and Cebu City, I was off to one of my favorite dive spots in the country - Apo Island. The invite by Mario Pascobello to teach yoga to a group of local youth in Apo Island as part of his annual community outreach program (FAKP - Future Apo Kids Program) was an offer I could not refuse. I'd share my yoga to these youth, scuba dive and hike around Apo Island for the next 2 weeks.
Passing through Dumaguete from Cebu has it perks - sikwate (hot native cocoa drink P10), puto maya and budbud cabog (sticky millet rolled into a cigar shape with banana leaves, P14/pc) at the Painitan in the market. I have my favorite Manangs at Sison's Painitan where I get thick sikwate and the best budbud cabog in town. Of all the places I'd been to in the country, Davao and Dumaguete serve the best sikwate.
Night Boat Ride
I arrived Dumaguete 10:45am but it was not until 7pm that we boarded the boat that would take us to Apo Island. I was standing on a cargo pumpboat (not for passengers) traveling to Apo Island at night on a full moon. It had the feeling of adventure all over it.
Plongeurs du Monde
Mario was able to get the assistance of a French non-profit dive group (Plongeurs du Monde) to provide free certification training to 16 of Apo's youth - Advance Diver, EFR (Emergency First Response), Rescue and Dive Master Certification. This is huge! Without this free program, it would not be economically viable to these kids to get this kind of certification that would open doors to a career in diving.
I've interacted with members of the group and found them knowledgeable, friendly, giving and impassioned by what they do. Heading the dive master training group was Roger, aka The Legend, an amiable and senior diver with over 50 years experience. Another member of the group I developed a fondness to was Jean-Jacques Gautier (JJ for short), scuba diving and freediving instructor. I would later join JJ's freediving classes in the coming days and would default to him for the most part of my stay.
Mario's Homestay and Dive Facility
Mario's dive shop and homestay has expanded considerably - more rooms and consequently, more divers. The place was full - Plongeurs du Monde, 16 participating youth, the regular guests and me! It was fertile ground for social interaction and dive sharing. The overall energy was high and people got along well.
I will be staying 2 weeks on the island. The only thing I know is that I conduct morning yoga to the participants - anything on top of that is gravy. I look forward to all wonderful possibilities that are about to take place.
Next stop: Hiking in Apo Island
Apo Island, Dauin, Philippines
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:
- Goodbye Apo Island Apr 23, 2017
- Freediving Certification Course in Apo Island with Jean-Jacques Gautier of Plongeurs du Monde Apr 11-22, 2017
- Scuba Diving in Apo Island Apr 13-23, 2017
- Teaching Yoga in Apo Island Apr 10-22, 2017
- Hiking in Apo Island Apr 17, 2017
- Revisiting Apo Island Apr 10, 2017
- Scuba Diving Apo Island with Mario's Scuba Diving and Homestay June 14-17, 2015
- Apo Island with Amanda Ackiss Aug 3-4, 2012
- Sunrise Dive, Apo Island Aug 21, 2011
- Free Diving at Mamsa Point, Apo Island Aug 20, 2011
- Open Water Diver Certification in Apo Island with Mario Pascobello May 15-19, 2011
- Back to Apo Island - Mar 26, 2011
- Apo Island with Bianca and Gianne - Oct 14, 2010
- Skin Diving at Apo Island - Apr 17-18, 2010
»» next Traveling story: Hiking in Apo Island
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