Thursday, February 28, 2008

apo island

do at least 3 dives. that's the only thing solid in our plan. we didnt have accomodation on the island (there were only 2 resorts and they were both fully booked) and we didnt arrange for any transportation too. yup we were a lazy bunch.

from dumaguete, we hired a multicab to take us to malatapay market - the jump-off point to apo island. the trip took us around 40 minutes(300 pesos).

we took a pumpboat to take us to apo from the malatapay pier in the town of zamboanguita. their tiny pumpboat(1500 pesos round trip) could only squeeze in 5 people so i joined another boat. thats me with the 4 american teachers we met in the pier. we were drenched on most of the 45 minute ride.

our house in the island. 700 pesos a night. we had to pay for our bathwater though - P5 per container plus P6 for the kariton service(cart) - paid a total of 250 pesos. the best part was that the house was just around 100 meters from the awesome! awesome! marine sanctuary - we snorkeled in the morning, we snorkeled in the afternoon...

our first dive site was the chapel. we saw lots of interesting creatures like this cute black and yellow polkadot nudibranch.

and of course the resident yellow frogfish(upside down) was there.

and its neighbor - the pretty blue ribbon eel. we couldnt get too close though because it will hide on the ground upon our slighest move.

a cranky looking green sea turtle. it was huge but we were afraid to come near it, jao was saying it might bite. it had 2 passenger remoras on its back.

sym and the very lush coral garden. jao nicknamed it as "the salad", hitik daw.

when we're not diving, you'll probably find us snorkeling in the marine sanctuary. this is me checking out the nemo city. even if you dont dive, apo is still amazing. some folks we met just snorkel and they saw turtles and school of jacks in the sanctuary. plus its quite liberating to just swim without all those tanks and regs.

tomato clownfish

a classroom just beside the sanctuary. lucky lucky students. sym was wondering if they werent distracted by people coming in and out. not that there were a lot of us. i only saw a handful of visitors in the island, and that includes the 4 teachers we met in the pier.

kids playing near our house

sym, jao and me having breakfast at liberty's

apo island's dive sites. they have a vacant spot for a dive guide. about time they have a woman guide! jao? lala? sym?

buddies cath and anet on their intro to dive

our 2nd dive's highlight(cogon divesite) was the large school of jacks. according to future dm jao, the jacks love the current - they swim against it to hunt for food.

they were on our left and right...

and above us too! jacks all around us :)

this is me and the jacks. dazed eh? the current was strong so we had to hold on to rocks. dive guide dex told us if we just learn how to relax - we didnt need to hold on to something. and just float like the fishies. but how to do it? how???

golden damselfish from our 3rd dive. from rock east dive site, we were supposed to go all the way to the rock west but the current was too strong so we made a u-turn for the sanctuary

jao, lala and sym chasing the hawksbill turtle! (marine sanctuary)

thats my bony hand wanting so much to touch the hawksbill turtle. but of course we cant touch it

kilometer markings on the concrete posts in the island

next thing we knew, our pumpboat was already waiting to take us back to malatapay. i didnt have time to take pictures of the island so i just tried shooting while we're walking back to the boat. here's the island's chapel just near the docking area.

at night, when the island's lights are all turned off - the sky is spectacular. we just laid out my sarong on the beach and watched the stars, watched the planktons lighten up with the crashing waves.

how to get there:

from cebu, we were supposed to take the oceanjet fast ferry bound for dumaguete but we found out from the pier's security guard that the ferry crashed a few days ago. we decided to take the alternative route - from the cebu south terminal take the ceres bus bound for bato-liloan(3 hrs), then take the ferry to sibulan dumaguete(15 mins), then grab a multicab to rizal boulevard(20 mins). it was a very good idea. less than 4 hours, compared to the 4 hour oceanjet ferry ride. and cheap too(P200 versus P800).

from rizal boulevard (where we met the rest of the group), we took a multicab bound for malatapay market. (P300 for 40 minutes)

malatapay market is the jump-off point to apo island. P1500 for 1 boat good for 5 people (roundtrip)

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