Swimming with Sea Turtles in Apo Island

Apo Island
Small boat (up to 4pax): Php2,000
Big boat (up to 8pax): Php3,000
Environmental Fee: Php100/pax
Snorkeling gear: Php100/pax
Life vest: Php100/pax
Guide (required): Php300/group

Apo Island.
Is that in Occidental Mindoro?
Nope! That’s Apo Reef.
In Davao?
Nope. There is a Mount Apo in Davao, but no Apo Island.
Aaah… The one in Dumaguete then?
Not even! But, well… pretty close.
Technically, Apo Island is part of the municipality of Dauin, Negros Oriental. But since the closest airport to reach it is in Dumaguete City, Apo Island is closely associated with it.

We were lucky to have arrived in Dumaguete from Siquijor really early. This gave us time to check-in; go to Malatapay, Zamboanganita; and get a boat and arrive in Apo Island at around 9:30am. There was no time for photos during the boat ride, what with the repartee going on between the waves and my mom – the former lapping against the boat, and the latter shrieking each time. Yup, not the friendliest of rides, I have to say.

The prominent Boluarte rock formation welcomed us to Apo Island, a 12-hectare volcanic island most famous for being a community-organized-and-maintained marine sanctuary that rewards divers and snorkelers alike with such rich marine life, with over 650 documented species of fish and over 400 species of corals.

Boluarte rock formation, Apo Island

Boluarte rock formation

Since I’m not a certified diver (yet), we contented ourselves with snorkeling, and boy were we rewarded just the same!

Sea turtle in Apo Island

Me swimming with a sea turtle!

And then hunger struck! The cheapest is probably to ask the nearby eatery to cook for you while you snorkel, but since I hadn’t considered that earlier, we had lunch at Apo Island Beach Resort. Quite hefty at ~Php300 per meal mostly, partly compensated by being in a good spot with a good view.

Apo Island

Lunch with a view

We took another go at snorkeling after lunch (we couldn’t get enough – and how could we!), and then a swim in the beach in near Apo Island Resort. We also had some Nemo sighting, as well as other types of fish and corals.

Apo Island Sea Turtle

Did you know that sea turtles can’t retract their legs and head into their shell? Yeah, it became pretty obvious when I saw one up close.

Apo Island

Beach area with rock formation in Apo Island

For divers, I heard the rates aren’t so bad – around Php1-1.5k per dive.


  • Take tricycle to Ceres bus station (Php8/pax)
  • Take bus with signboard Bayawan, ask to be dropped off at Malatapay in Zamboanganita (Php25 ordinary, Php50 air-con, ~30-40 mins)
  • Follow the Apo Island signage at Malatapay drop-off (and maybe buy some trinkets/souvenirs along the way)
  • Take boat to Apo Island (Php2/3000 for 4/8 pax, ~30-40 mins). Boat returns to Malatapay no later than 4pm


  • For those who want to stay overnight, there are only two beachfront resorts – Apo Island Beach Resort (owned by the same owners of Coco Grove Resort in Siquijor) and Liberty Lodge. There are, however, some other hostels within the island. Electricity only runs at night, around 6-9pm.
  • Bathing and changing rooms at Malatapay – Php10
  • You will get wet as you get on the boat, during the boat ride (thanks to the waves), and as you get off the boat – bring extra clothes for going back to the city if doing a day trip.
  • Worth bringing your water shoes, if you have a pair.
Swimming with Sea Turtles in Apo Island was last modified: January 16th, 2016 by Acrosscities


  1. Inggit sa swimming with the sea turtles! 😀 Birthday well spent! 😀

    Bat pala di kayo nagstay sa Apo Island?

  2. dyan ko na experience ung first Scuba Diving ko. hihihihi ang saya. kaso wala man lang remembrance na pic. me naghello din sa ting sea turtle kakatuwa. kaso ndi pa uso go pro at wala akong under water camera pa nung 2009 (gang ngayon pala) e. hehehehe.

    gusto ko bumalik.

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