Friday, May 23, 2008

DIVING IN APO ISLAND, NEGROS

After having gone to most of the beautiful beaches in the country and having snorkeled in them (although I still have to return to many of the beaches I’ve been to before in order to get photos from a digital camera, so that they could be uploaded in this blog), I realized that the challenge for me now was to go deeper into the sea. This means I had to get an open water diving course from a certified PADI instructor. Trying to look into the many possibilities where to get the certificate, I decided that it will be in Dumaguete. The main reason for the decision was that for a long time I have been wanting to go to Apo Island since it was being touted as one of the best diving and snorkeling site in the Philippines. Hence when I made arrangements with the instructor I made the condition that one of the dives should be in Apo. I did not regret that decision. My second concern was to look for a buddy who would also be willing to join me in this course. Since this was already May and barrio fiestas were already being celebrated, I knew it would be difficult to get a fellow priest to come with me. However, it proved to be no problem at all, when I called up my computer man Ronnie Ramirez who is also a beach bum like me. He right away accepted the invitation.
The first day of the diving course was done in the pool in the Antulang Beach Resort in Siaton, Negros, Oriental where our instructor, Jonathan Alerre was the dive center concessionaire. The sea dives the following day were done in the fish sanctuary of Dauin and the last day of diving was finally done in Apo Island.
To get to Apo island, one has to take the boat from Malatapay, a barrio between Dauin and Zamboanguita. Malatapay is famous for its Wednesday market day. We were told that this market day where people from all over Negros would go had been going on since the turn of the century. People from Apo would bring their fish to Malatapay and people from the mountains would also bring their crops and they would barter fish for their goods. Since then it has grown and has even become a tourist attraction where people would go not only to buy some goods but also were many would have their lunch among the many “carinderias” there.
The special boat trip to Malatapay costs 2,800. There are only two resorts found in Apo: the Liberty’s which is perched high above the beach and the village and the Apo Island Beach Resort which sits on a cove with its own white sand beach just near the village itself. It is secluded yet near enough the village. The sea is clear and the beach is made of small white pebbles which are pleasant to the feet. To get to this resort from the village one has to wade through the waters especially during high tides. Room rates at the Apo Island Beach Resort range from 1,350 to 1,950 but they have a dormitory which costs only 450. For reservations and inquiries, one can call Paradise Travel Center at (035)422-9663/ 422-9820/ tel/fax 225-5490 with email apoislandbeachresort@yahoo.com.


A typical market scene in Malatapay, the kick off point for Apo island.


Having lunch at one of the carinderias which served freshly caught fish.


A lady cooking the sinakol, corn cakes steamed over a clay pot and a bamboo.


Apo Island


The Apo Island Beach resort.




One of the distinctive sights of the Apo Island Beach Resort. A huge boulder sits precariously on top.


The village of Apo island.


With Jonathan Alerre, our dive instructor.




Doing the BWRAF inspection before doing the dive.


Finally getting in position for a sitting back roll entry into the waters.

11 comments:

James said...

Your information is helpful. I'll be going soon. Thanks!

Shane said...

Wheewwww!! grabe talaga.. :)

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Anonymous said...

Hey Padre, take underwater shots!

katty said...

Diving is the most exciting activity You can feel the immensity of the ocean. It's like traveling to another world. unexplained.This blog is amazing and very interesting.
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Philippines Travel Guide said...

Apo Island one of the most frequented diving spot in the Philippines

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