APO Island

Posted: May 4, 2011 in P└aÇëš
Tags: , , , ,

Dumaguetrip : Alone Together  

Day 1 : APO Island

April 28-29, 2011

We could only say, “Finally!” After realizing the long and well-planned Dumaguete  trip has finally come 🙂

We started our trip at the night of April 28, Thursday. Prayed at Sto. Niño church , for a safe and wonderful trip. Lit up some candles, and witnessed their fireworks for the church’s anniversary. The fireworks — as if saying “Have a wonderful trip!” 🙂

Basilica of Sto Niño de Cebu

sto Niño fireworks

I had to drive our van and take us to Dalaguete, because my Pop needed it. After a 2-hr travel, we arrived there @ around 11.30pm and  slept over at our ancestral home. Early on the next day, after a quick Hi to Ma and Pop,  we went on a Ceres Bus trip again to Puerto Del Sur Port in Liloan, Santander. Travel time: 4.30am -5.30am.

* P  62 : Dalaguete to Liloan Port : Regular Ceres Bus (1 hr)
(Bus from Cebu City to Liloan, Santander is P162 for 3 hrs)

Puerto del Sur Port - Liloan, Santander

Santander Express Fast Craft has an hourly travel from Liloan to Sibulan. We took the 6am ride. I’m quite surprised with their comfortable and air-conditioned waiting area. It had a decent restaurant, too. Ceres AC Bus also stops by the port for passengers going to and fro.

We arrived in Sibulan @ around 6.30am, and our first visit was to Bantinguel to meet a new friend, Ajay. I met him online at this awesome website  dumagueteinfo.com forum, while researching the place for our trip. He was gracious enough to lend us his underwater camera- HD Hero 960 for a good P500 (only!). (He’s selling it for P13K. Let me know if interested.) It’s not your ultimate hi-resolution camera but it’s a pretty decent one! You only need to buy an optional underwater lens to go pro. But even without the lens, we had some pretty amazing shots!

From Ajay, we went straight to Southbound Terminal, rode a Ceres Bus to Bayawan, and dropped ourselves at the APO island terminal in Zamboangita. We waited for an hour or so, for the boat to pick us up.

* P   63 : Liloan to Sibulan: Santander Express Fast craft (30 min)
* P 130: Jeepney rent from Sibulan to Batinguel to Bus terminal (we sooner realized this was overpriced!)
* P   25: Ceres bus to Zamboangita terminal (25min)
* P 300: Boat ride to APO island via Liberty Lodge (45min). This rate is applicable if you choose to stay at Liberty Lodge.

Some boats offer P1k+ for groups of 4, and P2K+ for groups of 8.

our small boat to APO Island

Getting wet on your way to APO Island is a sure thing! Whether you ride the small boat or the large one. ;p

And.. here we are 🙂 This is the first scene that greets you in the island… captivating! 🙂

APO Island rock formation

the beach righ in front of Liberty Lodge and Pauls Diving Center

First, checked into our room, after being welcomed by Liberty Lodge.  Our room good for P 2150 inclusive of 2 meals. Very good deal! 🙂 The customer service is excellent.

our room

view from our room

The view from our room was perfect! 🙂

It was around 11am, so despite the excitement, we decided to fill in our tummies first. Liberty Lodge has Filipino-European foods. Not bad really. The servings are big! and most of all, the view is scenic!

view from the restaurant

sweet and sour pork

chicken adobo

Food was okay… it was Filipino-European indeed. I would have loved the conventional Filipino taste but overall, food was good.

And not long after lunch, we headed to the beach! We met Rich, our tour guide.

Our first encounter was with the Sea Turtles! (Pawikan in Cebuano). How thankful are we to our new friend, Ajay, for lending us his a full-on decent underwater camera.  We can’t thank him enough! Here are some awesome pics!

sea turtle - touch for the very first time ;p

And oh, I’m inserting this comment because I got a few reminders that touching sea turtles or any living creature in (or any) reef/sanctuary is a no-no… I just got over excited there and should’ve known. Sorry guys, wont do it next time. 😦

sea turtle peeping!

You will have to be very keen when spotting one because they camouflage with the sea bottom. It’s amazing how you can find turtles as shallow as 4-5m deep – just within your reach! It’s as if these turtles are tamed, and not afraid of the boats on steady atop.

here's a map from http://www.dumagueteinfo.com

met a lagoon on our way to the marine sanct.

Next stop was the Marine Sanctuary. It was a 5-min walk through the APO village. There, we saw the simple villagers of APO. We saw some signs of really cheap rooms for rent, too, at 150 per day,  and some by-the-house restaurants. It’s only that you don’t get the beach view if you check in to these rooms, since they are situated inside the village… and I would imagine the accommodations are of course, less classy, since the rooms are part of the villager’s homes . (Aside from Liberty Lodge, another good-looking resort, just near Liberty is APO Island Beach resort, just a little more expensive.)

Clown fish city!

apo island

another one!

It was low tide when we got there so life jackets are a must, so as not to step on the island’s precious corals.


* P 300 – spent 150 each for the tour guide (we could have just given him 200.. there’s no minimum fee for the guides)
* P 100 – life jacket. if you’re a good swimmer you really don’t need this. I got rid of it the next day.
* P 100 – snorkel mask and goggles
* P  50 – snorkel fee at marine sanctuary
* P  30 – APO Island general admission. (Tell them you’re from Dauin or somewhere close so they don’t charge you a hundred! ;p)

Our trip was budgeted and there were some costs unexpected but hey, no regrets! The experience was awesome! APO Island just got us aquaholic! I have  probably drank seawater 5 times! LOL.

the Marine Sanctuary

Apo Island Marine Sanctuary

Waterproof  SPF lotion, and underwater camera are the must-haves in this island. And a water-resistant watch to keep your skin from burning! I tell you, you would hardly notice how much time has passed once you start snorkeling! 🙂

At around 3pm, we washed up and rested our tired bodies,  while waiting for the sun to set. I have been so eager to watch sunset in APO island because I loovve sunsets in the West! More than that, I had my little surprise waiting. 😉

dusk at APO Island

Purple skies in Apo Island

At round 530pm, the sun started hitting the horizon… and the view exceeded my expectations! It was captivating! romantic. 🙂


As the sun finally set, the sky went from pinkish to fiery!

apo island sunset

fiery sunset in APO Island

fiery sunset in APO Island!

We stayed at the beach until the sun finally went down; met some village kids carelessly playing around the beach.

Liberty Lodge serves dinner until 8Pm, and they a take a little while to serve  so by 6pm, we got upstairs and ordered our food.

chicken curry was just okay


I forgot what this one was called. I was thrilled at first when I knew it had mashed potato with cheese and fish… but it tasted rather flat. I only loved the cheese on top. Everything else was a weird combincation.

shake it!

Mango shake was not good at all… almost tasteless. But the cookies and cream was perfect!

The next day… LIGHTHOUSE CLIMB 🙂

climb to the lighthouse @ dawn

Rich, the tour guide did not show up that early morning (tsk!tsk!), so we walked alone to the lighthouse as early as 530am. Girlfriend was scared of “the others” all throughout the walk, she wouldn’t let me take pictures with the fear of disturbing “them”. The dawn was still dark, and I should admit, walking alone, just the two of us did give me some goosebumps! But when one is weak, one’s gotta be strong, right? I had to pretend I wasn’t scared, too! ..o.O_  It’s creepy how the bamboos sway and “creek” every time we pass under them.. oohh! ;p Nevertheless, we met a couple of village people on the way who showed us the way to the light house.. but still, when we got there, the eerie feeling did not disappear.. awwoooh! It’s a love and hate feeling… scary but exciting! hek.hek.;p

The lighthouse was just a 10-min walk from the beach. 300 steps, according to the village people.

the old lighthouse

the new lighthouse

We would have wanted to climb them but the old one’s unstable and the new one’s locked. 😦

sunrise in APO island

trying hard to get a good pose LOL.

After a 20-min stay on the mountain, it was time to go down… because the someone’s-watching-us feeling was still there! ..o.O_

By nearly 7am, we got back to our room. Girlfriend decided to catch some more sleep. She was sleepless that night because lights had to be off at 930pm, and she was scared. She couldn’t sleep without a light on. Good thing, the staff at the lodge lent us a flashlight, we had to keep it on all throughout the night, which was, of course, not enough to keep her asleep. Lights on APO Island are on only at 8am-11am, 3pm-5pm, 6pm-9pm.

While she was catching some sleep, I decided to go solo swimming, hoping to catch more moments with the Sea Turtles. This time, I didn’t wear a life jacket… and so I had my 20-minute video of the seat turtle! I only saw one, though. How I wanted to ride over his back. If I wasn’t very scared, I probably had. LOL.

These turtles are harmless. Rich, the tour guide told us of  a recent incident, wherein a boat from Palawan sank in the middle of the ocean, and one of the Sea Turtles rescued a passenger by carrying him on his  back. The passenger, according to him, was brought to APO island by the turtle… ain’t that amazing? I’ve heard of such stories in the past, too — Sea Turtles helping out.

<< link Here’s my long video with the Seat turtle.

oh, Day couldn’t get any better. We had a FULL day!

At 9AM, we headed back to Zamboangita, this time with a larger  boat. But still, it did not keep us from getting wet. ;p


and that was the end of Day 1 🙂


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  2. Paul says:

    Good looking blog, fair comments on Apo Island and Liberty’s Lodge (I should know I built the resort and lived on the island for the best part of twelve years).

    But come on man, think about it…., Apo Island is a marine reserve…. You don’t touch turtles (or anything on the reef) as they are very sensitive too their environment. Remember we are only guests on the reef.


    Take Care Our World Belongs To Us All

  3. o o says:

    hi Paul,

    i know, i got the same reaction from the folks of dumagueteinfo.com forum.
    i feel bad about it. sorry i got over excited there.. 😦 i know should have known the rules.
    promise wont do it next time. thank you for the reminder.


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