Apo Island, Philippines

The reason for my travel to Dumaguete was to access Apo Island, which is about an 45 minute boat ride off the coast. It’s a tiny little volcanic island that is well known as a successful marine reserve. Because of the increased marine habitat due to the reserve, Apo has become very popular as a dive and snorkel site. I stayed on Apo for five nights at one of the only two lodgings on the island, the Liberty Lodge and Dive Resort. You eat your three meals a day (included in the room rate) at Liberty – there is nowhere else to eat or even buy snacks. Everything on the island is pretty funky – the only electricity is generator powered and allotted into 9-12, 1-4:30 and 6-10 PM chunks. After that, the lights go off and it is all stars and moonlight. Seriously beautiful sky-watching here. There is a local village on the island numbering about 1,000 souls, mostly fisher-folk and service workers. It’s interesting to while your time away watching the locals lifestyle; unloading household goods and construction materials from boats, every night choir practice at the beach side chapel, the kids claiming the beach for playtime every day at 5:00.  The diving was good but not great – this area of the world has had two serious typhoons and one mega-major earthquake in the last three years and the natural habitat has just not returned yet to the way it was before. Remote and rugged, Apo is a real escape.

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