Everyone is a bit excited for Riza's birthday since we will be going to Negros Oriental to go to the island of turtles - Apo Island. We have been planning it for almost a month, but we kept on changing the dates because of the weather.
To get there from Cebu, you need to go to Dumagete City first. There are few options to choose to get there. One is by plane. Second is by boat from Cebu City, you may google the shipping lines as there are also a few to choose from. Third, which is what we did, is via land tracking from Cebu City to Dumageute.
You just need to go to the the Cebu City South Bus Terminal, you have 2 options: one is the bus that gets you directly to Dumaguete City and this is via Bato - Tampi, which will take you a bit longer since, the bus itself will ride the RORO. Next, is the Bato-Tampi ride usually takes about 40-60 mins; Second, ride a bus to Lilo-an, from Lilo-an port, you may ride the fast craft and will only take 20-30 mins.
Once in Dumaguete, you need to get to Malatapay. There are several options to get to Malatapay. Across Robinson's Place, you may ride a jeepney for Php 25.. Another option would be the bus heading south located near the cockpit of Dumaguete, which is what we did that costs us Php 20, just ask them to drop you at the Malatapay Market.
BOATS to Apo Island
Once in the Malatapay Market, just head strait to the beach. A lot of barkers will be offering you a tour to the Island. They pretty much offer the same price, depending on how may you are. Php 2,000, good for 4 and Php 3,000 for 8 persons. The boat ride will take between 40 minutes to one hour depending on the boat and the water conditions.
When we were there, it was kind of windy, so the boat ride was an adventure. I almost had a heart attack! The waves were so big that I really thought that we were not going to make it. Good thing that the captain of the boat really knows what he was doing and I guess he's got experience. Apparently, that's really a norm when crossing the sea to Apo Island since it's an open sea. But, it was one hell of a ride!!!
On the island
You'll notice right away the amazing rock formations once you get near the island. Perfect for a weekend getaway, perfect for selfies and groufies!
Once on the Island, go straight to the collector's house of the Bantay Dagat where you need to register and pay the fees. I was shocked of the fees though, they have fees for everything. It's best to bring your gears like snorkel and life vest if you have them. But in order for you to really enjoy the diving, you need a guide, they will be the ones to look for the turtles for you and make sure your safe.
Php 100.00 - for guests from Outside Negros Oriental
Php 25.00 - for guests from Negros Oriental (ID is needed)
Php 5.00 - for senior and people with disabilities (ID is needed)
Php 300.00 - guide good for 4 persons
Php 100.00 - snorkel and mask rental
Php 100.00 - life vest
I was overwhelmed by the turtles that I forgot the positioning of my underwater cam (sad face), I wasn't even able to get a good picture of them. You'll see the colorful coral garden of the Island, colorful fishes and you'll find nemo there too; you'll see the biggest turtles! Our guide said that they are friendly and are already used to humans. You are not allowed to touch them though.
So pack your bags and come visit the turtles!