Apo Island Marine Reserve

Apo Island is a volcanic island which lies approximately 10 kilometers off the southeastern tip of Negros Island and 30 kilometers south of the Negros Oriental capital of Dumaguete in the Philippines.

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The area around the island is a protected marine reserve and has become one of the most popular dive sites in the Philippines.  With a population of under 1000 people, the island has remained virtually untouched by developers resulting in a healthy and thriving ecosystem. The small town uses gathered rainwater as tap water. There is electricity only 3 hours a day, and there is no wifi connectivity (except for Liberty Lodge, and it is strictly for hotel guests only—eating at their restaurant will not grant you access to the wifi).The island is currently home to over 650 documented species of fish and estimated to have over 400 species of corals. Most of the Philippines’ 450 species of coral can be found here, from tiny bubble corals to huge gorgonian sea fans and brain corals. Visitors and tourists pay a fee to enter Apo Island and to snorkel or dive in the marine sanctuary there. These fees are used to keep the sanctuary clean and in good condition

The island is currently home to over 650 documented species of fish and estimated to have over 400 species of corals. Most of the Philippines’ 450 species of coral can be found here, from tiny bubble corals to huge gorgonian sea fans and brain corals. Visitors and tourists pay a fee to enter Apo Island and to snorkel or dive in the marine sanctuary there. These fees are used to keep the sanctuary clean and in good condition

From our hotel in Dumaguete, we headed 45 kilometers south to Malatapay where we chartered a private bangka boat for 2500 pesos.  We arrived at Apo Island about 30 minutes later.

None of the small boats have any curtains on the sides, so assume that you will be wet within minutes of leaving. Dress accordingly and be ready to be wet, and keep all your belongings (especially camera, money and documents) in your bag. The boatman will keep your bags inside the boat in the bottom, so it is safer.  The trip to Apo takes close to an hour and is over rough, choppy, open ocean.  Wear a life vest, be prepared to hang on tight, and enjoy the ride!

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Upon arrival, you will be asked to pay a 100 peso per person “island fee.” There are several eco trails on the island, a lighthouse trek, a small beach for sunbathing, a decent restaurant, but most people come here for one thing.

The wild sea turtles…..

 

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