Apo Island Trip
An Apo Island Trip is on the schedule of most visitors of Dumaguete and Negros Oriental. This tiny Island just off the coast is known worldwide for its beautiful coral gardens and abundance of fish, not to forget the turtles which are just about everywhere in the waters of Apo Island. There are several options to get from Dumaguete to Apo Island, which belongs to the municipality of Dauin.
The most convenient way to get the Trip to Apo Island of your bucket list is to book it with a local travel agency. This might not be the cheapest option but everything is usually organized and one doesn’t need to think about anything, other than standing up in the morning and enjoying the day. However, it is also not that difficult to get to the Island by yourself or with your friends. The saved money can be spend on a couple of shakes, cold drinks or snacks.
Getting from Dumaguete to Apo Island
Starting from Dumaguete your first leg will be getting to Malatapay. The boats to Apo Island are starting from the famous Malatapay Market, so when you plan your Apo Island Trip on a Wednessday, you should start an hour or two earlier. That gives you plenty of time to stroll over the Market, enjoy the scenery and get some of the freshest and best lechon (roast pork) and other delights.
There are several options for getting to Malatapay. You first take a tricycle to the jeepney station, which is across Robinsons Place on the south highway. Another option would be the Ceres Liner Terminal near the cockpit. A public trike should not cost you more than 15 Peso per person getting to either of them from within Dumaguete. Even as a private ride, where the driver is taking no other passengers one should be fine with 40 Peso.
Jeepneys to Malatapay leaving each 15 minutes and take about 45 minutes, depending how many times the driver stops. The price is 25 Peso only. Ceres Liner are a little bit faster. Just tell the attendant to stop at the Malatapay Market. Any Ceres bus heading south will pass the Market, so you have plenty of options.
Boats to Apo Island
Upon arrival you just head straight down to the beach. The boats run every day (Monday – Sunday) with the first trip around 7:00am, the last at 3:00pm in the afternoon. Residents of Apo Island pay 20 peso. Many times the boatmen give them a free ride if there is space on a boat.
As a group you may consider renting one of the pump-boats. For a day-trip to Apo Island a small banka, which is good for four people costs 3,500.00 Peso. This is a round trip from Malatapay port to Apo Island and back. A bigger boat good for 9 persons is 5,000.00 Peso. You can book the boats directly at the small pier at the waterfront. The coastguards from the Zamboangita Tourism Office are very friendly and helpful. They are controlling the lineup of the boats and write the logbooks with the passengers.
NOTE: As of now, only fully vaccinated guests can ride the boats to Apo Island. Simply present your vaccination card upon arrival or when asked by the coast guards.
Depending on the banka and the surface conditions the ride can take between 40 minutes and one hour. You may want to contact Manang Sabing (contact numbers in the picture above) before you start your Trip to Apo Island to ensure that there are boats available. Plenty of people take the trip on weekends or public holidays. Also during fiesta times in Apo (April 4-5), Dauin or Zamboanguita bankeros are more into the celebrations than driving their boat.
Arriving on Apo Island
Now that you arrived, your first way is to the collector’s house of the Bantay Dagat, where you need to register as a visitor and pay your fees. The fees are different, depending if where you come from (Check below for the Apo Island Fees). Residents get discounts on the regular fees. If you went on you Apo Island trip via a public boat, you want to make sure that you secure already your ride back.
If you don’t have mask snorkel and fins, don’t worry, you can also rent all needed gear there. With the new Snorkeling Guide of Apo Island, visitors can see the best areas of the reef to go snorkeling. The Snorkeling Guide Fee is good for 4 persons.
Enjoy your Apo Island Trip.
Swimming and snorkeling in the colorful coral gardens of Apo Island is of course the main attraction. However, you can walk through the village to the other side of the island or have a walk up the 369 steps to the lighthouse. If you haven’t brought your own snacks, you can buy food at different places on the island. Of course you should not forget to get a souvenir-shirt or a sarong from the ever friendly vendors.
Getting Back to Dumaguete from Apo Island
Your boat-ride back will go latest at 4:00pm in the afternoon. When you arrive from your trip to Apo Island in Malatapay, just walk the few minutes to the highway and wait for a bus or a jeepney. The waiting time will not be much longer than 10 minutes. There are plenty of busses and jeepneys in the afternoon going towards Dumaguete.