Apo Island: One Week Ago

It is only fitting that I blog about my latest trip to Apo Island today, since it is exactly a week ago today that I was there, along with my lolo, my dad, sister, cousins, and aunt. The trip was almost canceled, with the intertropical convergent zone stepping in and out of the Philippine area of responsibility like a sadistic tinikling dancer. But good weather prevailed on Saturday morning, and we felt optimistic as we drove to Malatapay, Dauin, where the wharf was located.

Our banca driver was Randy, the lady from Liberty Community Lodge had told me the night before when she called. He lives in Apo, but works as a banca operator ferrying tourists to and from the island. He was sent by Liberty, since the lodging house also takes care of the boat rides to and from the island if you stay there. Randy arrived at around 8 am, as the lady from Liberty said he would (banca operators are seldom late, since they usually have to deal with foreigners who don't tolerate Filipino time, ehehe).

Our banca, the Samuel Rose
The ride took 45 minutes. The waters were surprisingly calm, and although it was only eight in the morning the sun was already unusually high. We knew we had arrived when we saw the volcanic rock structures that jutted out from the blue-green water. They looked so inviting, I almost wanted to jump in right then and there.


Apo Island in the distance Apo Island up close
First view of the beach

The Liberty Lodge
We stayed at the Liberty Lodge, where the cheapest is the dorm with 300 pesos per bed, perfect for students or those who are simply like to rough it out. We had to go past the kitchen to get to the dorm, which did not look half-bad. It was painted white, and the white paint gave the impression that the walls were made of stucco. Inside were seven makeshift canopy beds made of rough wood. One of the best things about it was that it was clean, and the linens were all new. Other options are more expensive (1k to 2k plus a night) and located over the restaurant, but they have the best views of the island. The dorm has no view whatsoever, except for the back portions of the houses built right next to the lodge. But that didn't bother us since we planned on spending the entire day at the Sanctuary.
The other resort, Coco Grove had a 50 peso entrance fee,and was no doubt more expensive than the Lodge. Trying it out was definitely meant for another day.

The entrance to Coco Grove

After we settled in we headed to the Marine Reserve, which was a short walk through the community. The sanctuary was started in 1982 by Dr. Angel Alcala and SU. Back then the colorful corals and diverse marine life were almost non-existent in Apo. Now it's home to 400 and more species of corals and more than 600 species of fish.

Everyone donned a mask and a snorkel (even my lolo), although we all accidentally drank a few gulps of seawater trying to get used to breathing with the snorkel on. The corals were unbelievable. This trip is my second trip in Apo, but the corals still take my breath away. (If only I had an underwater cam!) The sanctuary patrol was still in full force, which was a good thing. They make sure that tourists go and snorkel where they're supposed to so that no one steps on the corals.

Getting ready for the swim
There were a lot of people on the sanctuary with us, but fortunately we were able to get the best (and only) cottage on the beach, which no doubt left some Korean tourists very disappointed. We met a lady who freaked us out for a minute because she couldn't find her American boyfriend anywhere. He was snorkeling a few yards away from the beach. She came up to change suits and when she came back he was nowhere to be found. We joined her for a few minutes yelling "Rob! Rob" only to find out that the guy was just quietly snorkeling near one of the divers' boats.

More pics.






And finally, there's the Apo Sunset.

the Apo Island sunset
Best sunset that I have ever seen so far.

It pretty much goes downhill after dark, especially after the lights go off at exactly 9 pm. We were at the restaurant having coffee when the lights went out, which sent the staff scrambling for candles. Another group was still halfway through their dinner and had to finish by candlelight. Pretty romantic.

We spent the morning in the restaurant while waiting for our ride back to Malatapay. The restaurant is pretty well-stocked, and at very reasonable prices,too.

The restaurant
coffee!!!
Tempted to get some breakfast. The food looked really good as we were passing by the kitchen, hehe (scrambled eggs with cheese, mushrooms, and bacon...yum!)But Randy was already on the island, so instead of 9 am he agreed to take us back earlier.

One of the best spur-of-the-moment escapades that I've had so far. Apo Island is truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth! It's a good thing its only a couple of minutes away. Maybe next time when the urge hits me I'll catch a banca and be there in time for the sunset.

8 comments:

Robert said...

Hi Joselle,
Thanks for dropping my 'sorry all the clever names are taken' blog.
I've added a link to your blog on my website and featured you blog on one of my other blogs Dumaguete website

lursil said...

Hi Joselle,

nice pics..! :)

followed a link from Kat's blog and got to your page. :)

Have a nice day!

~Lurchie
Anthology of Snippets

JoSeLLE said...

robert: Thanks Robert! I went to the Dumaguete website, and I must say, its pretty impressive!Will put it on my blogroll so that I can look it up from time to time. Enjoyed looking at your photos of Dgte! I'm hoping to post more of mine soon!

Vir Antonio said...

hi joselle, thanks for the comment. You're definitely right but the babbles i had is way overdue, was just melancholic so I decided to decipher love and trust at the same time. Cheers, I'll add you up on my blogroll after this one. :)

JoSeLLE said...

vir antonio: Thanks! haha, yeah it's good to dissect love and all other deep stuff once in a while. Stumbling on your blog made me realize that, hehe. Okies, will be adding your blog to my b-roll too :)

lursil said...

hey joselle...! :)

i actually knew it was you when I looked around the WH website.. :)

You are a year ahead of me in HS.. ;)

Thanks for adding me by the way.. hehehehehe

I'm adding you up

~Lurchie
Anthology of Snippets

Z'riz said...

Wow! Nice photos! It must be uhmm what? 5 years since I lest set foot on the shores of Apo Island and the guys selling t-shirts are still there! The highlight of my day was snorkeling at the marine sanctuary and checking out the beautiful corals and gorgeous marine life! :)

*Thanks for dropping by my blog!
Deranged Insanity

JoSeLLE said...

@lursil: Really? Yeah, you looked familiar when I had a look at the WH multiply site. :)Murag gamay ra ta nga taga Dgte didto :)


@ zriz: Yeah. the women selling apo shirts are still there. kulang nalang manghatag sila calling cards haha. But they're very friendly---really some of the nicest people I've ever met.

 

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