Philippines – Apo Island Snorkelling

– FEBRUARY 03-07, 2016

Early this morning we rode a bus from Oslob to the south Liloan Ferry Port, then rode a 30 minute ferry ride to Sibulan Ferry Terminal on the island of Negros. Then we rode a tricycle to the town of Dumaguette, transferred to a Jeepny and rode for 40 minutes to the Malatapay Whaft to secure a boat to Apo Island.  Here the boat people look to squeeze every last penny out of the tourists.  There is a public ferry, but it only moves between islands once early in the am and once late in the afternoon.  This is for the locals to go between islands and it can be used by the tourists, but the boat people will not talk about it as an option so the tourists will pay much higher rates for private boats.

The boat people try to book the tourists into groups for riding on the private boats.  After talking with a few of the boat people we were able to piece together the whole story and secure one-way rides to Apo Island for the low rate of $10/person.  Otherwise tourists were paying almost $100 to ride on a two-way boat whether they needed to return to the mainland or not.

Our boat was small…large enough for maybe 6 people tops, and everything we were wearing got soaked as the boat crashed through the waves.  Fortunately our bags were kept relatively dry in the cargo hold area.

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The approach to Apo Island

We have moved on to the tiny island named Apo Island.  Apo Island is a volcanic island covering 12 hectares in land area, 7 kilometers off the southeastern tip of Negros Island and 30 kilometers south of the Negros Oriental capital of Dumaguete.  The name “Apo” was derived from a Filipino word for “grandchild“.

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Apo Island waterfront

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Apo Island waterfront

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Apo Island Marine Turtle Sanctuary (but the locals drive their boats right into it with no regard to the turtles…its just a tourist tax so they can charge tourists to swim here)

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Apo Island

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Apo Island coconut x-mas tree

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Jill with a very big beer

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Apo Island sunset

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Apo Island sunset

Apo Island is a great place for snorkelling and diving, but we chose to spend our time there in the water with our snorkel gear in hand.  Sea turtles, colourful fish, and coral provide some awesome underwater photo opportunities.

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Apo Island Snorkelling

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This place was very relaxing as we moved from adventure mode to vacation mode in our final weeks on this sabbatical.  It was exactly what we needed as we unwind on the islands of the Philippines.  We have a day of travel back to Cebu City next, a quick stop over there, then we move on to Palawan Island…more to come!

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For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.