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Over the Mountain and Under the Sea of Apo Island

Having the best of both worlds. Living with the sound of the waves and smell of salt in the air. And living with the sound of leaves crashing to the branches of trees and the smell of fresh wild air. All of these you will experience in Apo Island. With just a short walk, you will witness a different scenery.

I was only looking forward to the sea turtles which this island is known for. But it has a lot more interesting things waiting to be discovered. Be enchanted by its beauty when you see it for yourself.

It was supposed to be a big group escapade, but on the day of the trip only five of us made it. It was pretty sad but we had to do this. We had to make this happen. The long wait. The long excitement. The burning emotion. I couldn’t contain it. I couldn’t cancel this trip. If I would, I will die. Just kidding :). I’m so glad I still have these three people left to share my sentiments. Without them, this post wouldn’t be here at all.

From Cebu South Bus Terminal we took the 1am bus going to Bato (via Liloan). Fare is 175php for the air-con bus. After four hours, we arrived in Liloan port and took the fast craft going to Dumaguete which costs 62php. It was just a short 30-minute ride going to Dumaguete. From Dumaguete we were fetched by my friend’s father with their private car so we got a free ride going to Dauin. But if you’re going to take the bus bound for Malatapay it would cost 50php or you could take the jeep for only 20php each.

We took a short stopover at my friend’s house in Dauin. Had our breakfast and then we moved on to  Malatapay where we rented a boat going to Apo Island.

At Malatapay, they have a small registration booth where they keep the information of tourists going to Apo Island.

There are two options for the boat. The one that could accommodate eight people costs 3000php and the other one that could accommodate four people costs 2000php. Since there were five of us, we had to pay 2250php for the roundtrip to/from Apo Island.

It was a sunny day, no strong winds whatsoever but the water was still rough. We all got wet. But our bags were safe inside the banka’s small compartment. I wonder how it would be like during a rainy/windy day. I’m sure it would be pretty exhilarating :).

Upon arriving in Apo Island, we again had to register and pay another fee. In our case, we had to pretend we are from Dauin since our friend is from Dauin and so we only had to pay 10php each.

registration area

And our search for the sea turtle begins…

But before that, we had to rent a mask and snorkel, life jacket, and a guide. Let me break down the cost for each:

  1. Mask and Snorkel: 100php

  2. Life Jacket: 100php

  3. Guide for the group: 300php

And there it goes; we saw not one, not two, not three but a lot of sea turtles. They come in different sizes. We saw big ones and small ones just a few meters away from the shore. As much as we’d love to touch them but we can’t. It is prohibited. We just swam and took pictures with them. Swimming with turtles – another item to check off from my bucketlist :).

We did not bring any food for lunch so we scouted for a restaurant. First we went to Apo Island Beach Resort but we found their menu expensive so we moved to Liberty’s Lodge which to our amusement share the same pricelist with the previous resort but then we settled here anyway. The food wasn’t that great. Most of their meals cost 230php and for a drink it costs 40php.

Going to Apo Island Beach Resort…

At Liberty’s Lodge…

Then we started climbing up the mountain to see the lighthouse. It wasn’t an easy climb but it was fun. We came across some kids picking lomboy fruits – we asked and picked a few fruits. We also came across a siniguelas tree where we picked a few fruits as well. We were greeted with some goats enjoying their abundant grass land. From afar, we envied the kids playing under a big mango tree. And there at the top, the lighthouse surrounded with cows and a horse.

When I travel, I make a mental list of places I wish to live during my retirement. Now I’m adding Apo Island on that list :).


We would like to thank the San Jose family for the hospitality during our stay in Dauin. We had a very comfortable bed and a happy stomach – so many food served during our whole stay. Such a happy and very welcoming family :).

Wish granted – buko juice!

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