Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental Guide






Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental 




 Apo Island Guide

One of the most memorable things I did in 2016 was when I went on a solo adventure to Apo Island. It wasn’t planned at all. I was in Cebu for Kawasan Canyoneering when my friends suggested I also go to Dumaguete and Apo Island for swimming with the turtles. Right then and there I’m sold.  Being my spontaneous self, I gladly followed their advices and just went for it the next day. I took an early bus to Santander and then a quick ferry ride to Dumaguete. It was a beautiful sunny morning when we docked at the humble port of Sibulan. I then hopped on a Jeepney bound for Dumaguete City.  
I had booked my hotel accommodation while I was on the bus through Agoda and check in time is usually at 2 pm so I decided to roam around Dumaguete before I go to the hotel.  The quick tricycle ride around town was enough for me to get a good glimpse of Dumaguete. We passed by Silliman University, I also passed by their city hall where I saw a hefty number of motorcycles occupying pretty much about 90% of the parking lot. I haven’t seen so much motorcycle in my life. I went to Harold’s Mansion Dive Center and had I registered for the Apo Island day tour. I also had a quick stopover at their boulevard and went to my hotel thereafter. I did a lot of touristy stuff, meet a good friend and called it a day early so I can rest well for a fun activity the following day.



Where is Apo Island?

Apo Island is in Dauin, Negros Oriental; please don’t confuse it with Mindoro’s Apo Reef. It is a small volcanic island, roughly around 70 hectare and with a few thousand in population. It is under the municipality of Dauin, Negros Oriental.

Apo Island is home to wild sea turtles and is a haven to a plethora of fish and other documented marine species. With the islands rich marine life, Apo Island is considered as one of the best dive sites in the world, making it part of the world’s top 10 dive sites. The underwater life in the seas of Apo Island, even if you’re just a few feet away from the shore is already magical. The seabed is naturally decorated with hundreds of different beautiful coral species.

How to get there?

You may fly to Cebu City or directly to Dumaguete City to lessen travel time. Travel time from Cebu City to Dumaguete alone is around 5 hours.

FROM CEBU CITY

  • ·     In South  Cebu Bus Terminal, Take a bus to Liloan, Santander – Fare is around P165 (As of March 2016)
  • ·        Drop off at the Pier
  • ·        Take the Ferry to Sibulan

Fare from Liloan to Sibulan
·        Regular – Php62.00
·        SP- Php55.00
·        SC- Php52.00
·        Half (3-9 yo) – Php25.00

·        Once in Sibulan, take the Multicab to Dumaguete City – Fare is Php20.00

FROM DUMAGUETE

 It is accessible via a boat ride from Malatapay Market.
·        Rent an outrigger boat- Cost will be around Php1,500.00 – Php2,000.00 (Good for 4 pax) A bigger boat (Good for 8 pax) will cost you Php4,000.00
·   

Where to stay?

There are only a few accommodations in the island. Below are the lists of potential places you can book. Note that electricity is only available for three hours in a day so expect that there would

Liberty’s Lodge
Apo Island Beach Resort
Mario’s Homestay
Ronor’s Guesthouse


What to do?




Given that this island is small, the things to do here are also limited but I suggest you’d do the following.

Hike to the Lighthouse
The trek to the lighthouse is an easy one and will give you a 360 view of the surrounding island. It's perfect to trek to the lighthouse on sunrise or during sunsets.

SNORKELING.

It’s not recognized as one of the top best dive sites in the world for nothing. The underwater life is amazing.



HIGHLIGHT: SWIM & CHASE WILD SEA TURTLES.



The moment our boat arrived on the first snorkeling site, I hurriedly grab my snorkeling gears and hastily jump in the water. I AM IMMENSELY EXCITED TO SEE THE SEA TURTLES! I just swam nearer to the shore and my first encounter with the sea turtles was amazing. I smiled giddily and signaled "great" and "ok" to my guide and then a couple of sea turtles finally showed up! It was fantastic. We went to three or four sites, aside from the sea turtles there are also a bunch of wildlife creatures you will get to see. It was a fun four hours of snorkeling and swimming. I had a great great time!


DIVE



Although I am not an experienced diver or licensed even, I can tell that the dive spots in Apo Island is beautiful. The divers on the same tour group I was with kept raving on the different species they got to see and species that they only got to see for the first time. I have to try this one day. 


Or if you are like me who don’t have much time and only have a day to spare, you might as well just book the same tour I booked with Harold’s Dive Shop. But honestly, I swear I wanted to stay for a couple of days had I known I have a relative (my mother’s cousin who I just met a month after this trip in Bantayan during a family get together) who resides in the island. They’ve been barging me to visit. However, if you have a couple of days, please stay longer or YOU MUST ATLEAST STAY FOR A NIGHT. I bet sunrise in Apo Island is lovely.


Anyway, so much talk. When booking with Harold’s Dive Shop for a day tour you will get the following:

  • ·        Transportation to and from the Jump off point to the Island (Dumaguete – Dauin VV)
  • ·        Boat ride to and from Apo Island
  • ·        Snorkeling gears ( Dive mask, snorkel, fins, and life jacket)
  • ·        A guide, photographer, and life safer rolled into one (I was with two other Korean guests)
  • ·        Light lunch, make your own sandwiches’, fruits, drinking water, and free flowing tea & coffee.
  • ·        MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE.







Bonus! I've filmed my chasing turtles experience and you can watch it below.




Swift Hotel Booking with Traveloka App

I am a huge fan of travel booking apps. Whenever I have an upcoming trip, I would usually spend endless hours on my phone checking out potential hotels to stay. With the high surge of travel apps and websites, many travelers can now book travel deals with just a few clicks. I am pretty sure I’ve tried almost all travel apps in the market. I pride myself when it comes to hunting good travel deals so when my friend asked help for his upcoming trip to Davao City; I gladly obliged and helped him with his entire planning.


I’ve heard so much good things about Traveloka, I even saw its advertisement on TV and I got really curious. My friend told me I am in total control with the planning so I had to give Traveloka App a try.

How to use Traveloka App?

• Download the Traveloka App on Play Store or your Apple Store (if you are an IOS User)
o Search for “TRAVELOKA”
• Install the app on your phone
• Register for an account
• Search for flights or hotel deals
• Book and pay.
• Wait for your Flight/ hotel voucher. 

IT'S THAT EASY!


One thing I noticed with the Traveloka App is its user interface. The app is very user friendly, giving you just the easiest and most convenient way of booking experience. Traveloka App is such a sweet discovery! I am completely amazed!

**Check the photos and descriptions below for my personal experience.**



Downloading and Registering for an account was easy as 1 2 3.


STEP 1: SEARCHING FOR A HOTEL.

We are keen on hotels near a specific site/area since my friend will have an exam, a closer hotel would be ideal so as not to be late and of course lesser travel time. Convenience is a top factor I always consider when booking a hotel. Also, great value for money. I clicked on “Hotels” tab, key- in my desired dates, number of nights, number of people staying and hit search. The app gave me a number of selections that is within the vicinity of the area I inputted. I am surprised to find that the hotel rates are undeniable lower than any other travel booking websites. I HAD TO COUNTER CHECK. It’s a few hundred cheaper than the travel booking website I checked on my desktop. SWEET!



For this booking, I chose Alu Davao Hotel as it is approximately just 300 meters away from my friend’s appointment. Convenience wise, my friend could just walk right from the hotel down to wherever his business is. The most amazing thing about this app is price transparency. Once you browse for available places to stay, you will immediately see the exact price you will be paying. No added hidden charges when you check out! This booking is a room good for two (2) and also comes with free breakfast for two and I got to save around Php600.00 by booking through Traveloka App. Sweet sweet deal, yes?



NEXT STEP: PAY FOR YOUR HOTEL BOOKING.

There are three (3) options to pay for your booking.
• Credit card (Visa and Mastercard)
• Bank Counters (Via Dragonpay)
• Payment Centers ( 7/11, Cebuana Lhuiller, and M Lhuiller)





Since my credit card is acting up, I channeled my payment thru bank counters (Via Dragonpay). Luckily, my bank, BPI is available. I would have chosen to pay thru payment center cause how cool is it to pay for your booking at your nearest 7/11 store?

Paying was a breeze, I just opened my mobile banking app, transferred the exact amount to the merchant’s account number, validated my payment, and voila! Payment was processed successfully within two minutes. You will then receive a system generated email confirming your payment and the booking voucher will soon follow after.

Note: Payment instruction will be sent to your email.



FINAL STEP: Wait for your Flight/ Hotel Voucher in your email.


The hotel booking voucher was sent to my email right after I validated my payment. I booked the hotel in just a few minutes! Talk about easy, swift, and convenient booking. That’s the yay factor in my opinion.


That was quick! Booking was made in just a few clicks in a few minutes. Now, here’s to hoping my friend will like the hotel I chose for him. You are awesome, Traveloka! I think we are going to be very very good friends from now on. *winks*



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