Monday, September 05, 2016

Apo Island: How to go and the things you need to know

Ever heard about Apo Island? It is a volcanic island with a total land area of 12 hectares located in Dauin about 30 kilometers from the capital of Negros Oriental which is Dumaguete City.

Trying to remember our journey to this wonderful island, we had traveled from Bacolod City in Negros Occidental to Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental during the night for a total of 6 hours and another hour to reach the port in Malatapay going to Apo Island. It's not a terrible bus ride after all. All we did was sleep though it's hard to have a peaceful one while on a bus, we still managed to get some rest after a fun day at The Ruins and meeting a friend over dinner in Ading's Pala-pala market in Bacolod City.
Outrigger Boat to Apo Island.
Going to Apo Island from the port in Malatapay, we have to ride an outrigger boat (bangka) for almost an hour.  The boats are small and can only accommodate 4, 6, or 8 passengers at once. While on our way, most of the times the water splashed inside the open boat because the waves are high causing us to get wet. The same thing happened on our way back to Malatapay from Apo Island so it is best to wear your comfortable clothes and slippers. Don't worry much about your things, the boats have a secure place at the bottom where it won't get wet and everyone is required to wear a life jacket.
Apo Island
The Island
Apo is a tiny and hilly island with a small beach. Electricity is very limited and only available 3 hours a day around 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. There is no Wifi but globe cellular signal is strong enough to keep you updated on social media or for browsing and email communications.

Accommodation and food
There are no worries on looking for accommodations if you're staying overnight on the island because there are hotels with restaurants available and huge servings of foods are also served in local eateries along with table rentals near the shores.

Apo Island Activities
Activities that can be done in Apo Island are trekking to the lighthouse, relaxing at the beach,  diving, and snorkeling. 
A clownfish at the reef Apo Island (Photo by Kimbert)
Of all these activities, we only have tried the snorkeling since we have to catch the last ferry to Siquijor before the night fall. Snorkeling is also the main activity because of the sea turtles (pawikan) that appear in the shores of the island after the typhoon a few years back.

Snorkeling and swimming with the turtles
After registering, getting a guide, and renting snorkeling gears (if you don't have your own), the guide will lead you to the activity area. They know too well at what time the turtles will come near the shore to feed. Turtles only appear when the tide is high (morning-noon)so they can nearly be ashore where seagrass is abundant.
(Photo by Kimbert)
Sea turtles are adorable creatures and it was the first time in my life that I encounter them and could touch them if I wanted too but it's prohibited. They move softly and not minding the people that surround them while they were eating.
(Photo by Kimbert)
Aside from the sea turtles, Apo island is home to many different species of fish and corals that you'll get to enjoy. It is indeed a must visit place when you get a chance to be in Negros.

The Beach

The beachline of Apo Island is not purely about white sand. It might not be the best beach that I ever been to but it is quite good enough and has interesting rock formations, amazing marine life like the pawikan that I really enjoyed.

A boat that can carry upto 6 passengers from Malatapay to Apo Island cost 3,000 pesos. Good for 4 is 2,500, and good for 8 is 3,500 pesos back and forth. It is best to wait for other passengers if you wish to save for boat expenses. Another 100 pesos will be collected as island entrance fee upon reaching at Apo Island. Snorkeling gears, fins and aqua shoes are also available for rental at 100 pesos each.

How to go to Apo Island?
One should take a flight either to Bacolod-Silay Airport or to Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport which is closer to Apo Island.

From Bacolod City South bus terminal, ride a Ceres bus bound to Dumaguete or Zamboanga and drop off at the Ceres terminal in Dumaguete City. In Dumaguete City, ride another Ceres bus bound to Bayawan and alight at Malatapay Market. Passing the Malatapay market, walk around 400-500M to the port, register, and get a boat to Apo Island.

From Dumaguete City Ceres Terminal, ride a bus bound to Bayawan and alight at Malatapay Market. Passing the Malatapay market, walk around 400-500M to the port, register, and get a boat to Apo Island.
A video posted by Obert Engada (@obertengada) on
We really had a blast during our Apo Island experience and you should never skip this Island when you have a chance to be in Negros.

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