Going to Apo island
When you get visitors all the way from Sweden, what can be better than show them the little pearl of the Visayas, Apo island. Apo island is probably most famous for its sea turtles. Wednesdays is a good day to go there because it's market day at the Malatapay market just near the port for Apo island. There will be many locals going back and forth Apo island and the market so it will be easy to get seats on a boat. Facts about how to get there, fees etc see here >>>
A short clip showing the lively livestock market
Never sit under a coconut tree!
Instead of hiring a boat we had arranged a transfer through Liberty lodge where we were going to stay. We shared the boat with two other tourists and some locals. We were waiting over an hour for the boat to show up and get ready for the trip back. When we patiently were sitting there waiting we suddenly heard big THUMP! A big vicious coconut had fall from the palm tree and hit the woman in the striped t-shirt. She was very lucky since she wasn't hit in the head. The woman fainted by the shock and was carried away by some helpful people. Obviously she missed the boat but I guess, at least she survived the incident with just the fright and some minor bruises.
We were lucky, we swam with the sea turtles
We arrived at lunch time so we had the afternoon for snorkeling with the famous sea turtles. At first we didn't see any of them but later on we were lucky. That time of the day it was relatively many tourists and the snorkeling guides were busy towing around tourists who were not able to swim and snorkel by themselves.
A video clip showing the sea turtles
Life is wonderful
In the afternoon most of the tourists went back to mainland and only those who would stay over night were still on Apo island. After dinner we went up to the lighthouse at the top of the island and enjoyed the sunset. At 10 PM the electricity was shut down in order to conserve energy and the whole island got totally quiet. It was an almost surreal feeling to sit there on our balcony star gazing and contemplate about the all the wonderful things in life.
A compilation of pictures from our trip
Don't expect to sleep long in the morning
At roughly 4 AM the first rooster was calling good morning. Even the dogs were still sleeping at that time. 30 minutes later all roosters on the whole of Apo island were calling good morning together with the dogs which were barking. I guess they were also awakened by the roosters. 6 AM the boatsmen started up their boats. The good thing was that we took an early breakfast and plunged in the sea snorkeling before all the tourists were coming from the mainland. Time goes fast when you enjoy so already at 1 PM it was time to take to boat back again.
The budget for us on this trip was:
A double room with an extra bed at the Liberty lodge 3700 PHP with three meals included.
600 PHP per head back and forth with the boat, ask Liberty for the transfer.
100 PHP an environmental fee upon arriving to Apo island.
28 PHP with bus from South Terminal in Dumaguete going there.
20 PHP with jeepney going back to Dumaguete.
Not included in our budget, but available if you need it: Rent of life vests (when snorkeling), renting a table ( to put your stuff), snorkeling gear and snorkeling guides.
Take a jeepney from Dumaguete city centre, around 20 PHP. Tell the driver to let you off at the Malatapay Market in the town of Zamboanguita, around 40 min from Dumaguete. Go down to the shore and rent a motorized boat that will take you to Apo island. The round-trip boat ride costs 2500 PHP (good for 4 passengers), 3000 (good for 6 passengers) or 3500 PHP (good for 8 passengers). Solo travelers may join other groups, and share the costs for the boat rental.
Or you can let the lodge arrange with the transfer as we did on this trip.
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