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skin diving

Rene Abesamis off to dive

Mar 26, 2011

Back to Apo Island

Roughing it to Apo Island
The second of the 2-day dive was Apo Island. Rene chartered a pump boat to take us (me, Alette and Jonathan) from Silliman Beach all the way to Apo Island. It was a last-minute decision as the water was choppy with menacing rain. Since I now qualify as a local, I save a bit on the usual dive fees - good thing Rene was there to vouch for me.

Apo Island Dive
First dive-stop on Apo Island was the Sanctuary followed by that area close to The Wall. As usual, as they disappeared down the depths, I ventured on my own close to the rocks...being careful I don't get caught up and get smashed into it. Water visibility was still low and surface water was choppy. I'd plunge down, but my threshold was low - I still haven't fully recovered from my congestion. I couldn't go as deep and I couldn't stay down as long - frustrating actually. I didn't push it for fear of nauseating.

Apo Island

Apo Island

Mario Pascobello
We had lunch at the dive homestay of Apo Island's former barangay captain, Mario Pascobello. Rene had good words to say about him along the lines of reef conservation. In a nutshell, supporting Mario with his diving/homestay enterprise supports his advocacy for a protected reef system.

Open Water Certificate?
Something might actually be in the works. I want to have my open-water certification (and Mario is DA MAN to talk to) and Mario needs a web presence for this enterprise (yeah, I'm DA MAN here). We'll see.

The Wild Ride Back
We were ready to call it a day and head back, but the pumpboat crew said we should wait until the sea settles a bit. When the crew took all our dry stuff inside the boat compartment, it gave me an idea it was going to be a rough one. Even after that wait, we were still pounded between the open water of Dumaguete and Apo Island. I had to give credit to the crew. They knew exactly when to let go of the throttle, when to immediately floor it, and the guy at the helm knew how to swerve the boat on a dime.

Dinner with the crew was at Kri Restaurant, followed by sisig at Hayahay. Sisig-queen Alette, had to try it. She gives it 4-stars - a little more crunch would have nailed it. I don't know what we talked about, but we ended up at Likha Tapas and Vodka Bar by South Sea Hotel. Jonathan was my good Samaritan that night and gave me the spare bed in his room - otherwise the specter of a habal-habal ride in the wee-hours to Valencia while being tipsy would have been unsettling. Thanks dude!

Ending Thoughts
2 back-to-back dives with marine bio dudes on the Coral Triangle? GET OUT! Yeah, it's one for the books. To top it up, I got to meet Mario and maybe something comes out of it. Hopefully, if and when I get tagged along again, I won't have to mind the adobo.

--- TheLoneRider

Thank you Rene, Jonathan and Alette!

pumpboat jonathan_rene alette boatcrew
rene_abesamis mario_homestay lunch mario_homestay2
boatman diver apo island alette_rene
kri_restaurant hayahay_sisig hayahay azalea

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)

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Ian La

Reader Comments:

Alette Yniguez
(Apr 23, 2011) Going back to reality was crazy! It was cool to hang out and get to do those dives. I do hope that you've gotten certified already in Apo Island :)

Jonathan Kool
(Apr 12, 2011) Nice article! I'm looking forward to being able to have you be the 4th horseman of Atlantis next time we're out.

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