For the record, I didn't resign this time. I got retrenched - not because of excessive absences but due to acquisition (defensive?!). Every employee had the choice to 1. be retained or 2. be terminated and accept the tax-fee retrenchment package.
Obviously, I chose to get paid. Im now a glorified tambay and I love it! ♥
For me, a great beach must have a white sand, fine seabed, clear water, and a rich underwater kingdom. Apo Reef seems to be very blessed to have all of these. As early as January of this year, I opened a joining trip for this summer getaway.
Solo joiners Jeng, Otep, Maricar, Peng, Donnie and I took the plane to San Jose Mindoro, while the buddies Aisa + Kendra, and the officemates Gladys, Kate, and Jay rode the RORO bus straight to Sablayan - the jump off point to Apo Reef and Pandan Island. Prior to our arrival, I already arranged our booking at Sablayan Tourism (via phone and email). The overnight boat rental to Apo Reef costs P7,500 which is just perfect for a big group. Tent rental is P300, which can already accommodate 4pax. Food can be catered all throughout our stay in the island but it will cost us P200 per meal. Ang mahal. We unanimously agreed to bring our own food supplies instead.
After the 40-min airplane ride to San Jose Mindoro, the 2-hour bus ride to Sablayan, and another 2-hour boat ride to Apo Reef - we finally reached the paradise between the mountain and the sea.
The journey via airplane, the bus, and the boat was all worth it. Agree?
It's surprising to see a multi-function hall in this island. The tourism official imposed us that this island is remote, di naman pala gaano. There's already a small community in this place.
We're still thankful that this place can't be easily reached (and expensive at the same time), there were only a small number of tourists in Apo Reef island - considering it's the Holy Week season.
We're so excited to stroll around the shore so right after we placed our bags inside the hall, Donnie and I immediately grabbed our cameras and started taking hundreds of photos.
..and til now my heart was still pounding for the beauty of this beach. Probably ranks 5th of my most favorite beaches in the Philippines. Wanna know what's on my list so far?
5. Apo Reef
4. Malamawi Beach, Basilan
3. Dumaluan and Beach Club in Bohol
I have yet to see El Nido, soon.
Care to share yours too? What are your top 5 beaches in the Philippines?
Okay, more photos to convince you to visit Apo Reef while the summer heat is on.
Security wise - there are lots of soldiers in this island. There's nothing to worry about.
After we ate our lunch, our guide Harris told us we could start our snorkeling activity as soon as we're ready. Everyone changed outfits in no time.
Snorkel rental is P100 for those who still do not own one. I strongly suggest to buy your own, sulit yan in the long run.
After a short 15min ride, the boat stopped. That spot will be the start of our snorkeling acitvity. Apo Reef is the largest coral reef system in the country, and for us to be able a see lots of spots - the boat slowly pulled us around. Effortless snorkeling! We had to see such a big coral reef area by the use of the boat. Aylavet!
It's a must to bring an underwater camera in this kind of trip.
Here are some of the shots (c/o Jeng and Maricar's Canon D10)
Huge table corals, brain corals, fire corals and a huge variety of soft corals can be found all around. Im just a big fan of those colorful corals and swimming species. Sad to say, dead corals can bee seen too. These are obviously results of dynamite fishing. I really hope this area will be preserved and protected.
We came back to the shore satisfied. It's now time to enjoy the beach. I think we're only 30 tourists in the entire island, ansaya!
Could have been really fun only if there's some fresh water in the island. Yes there's a pump but it produces salt water too. Ang hirap bumula ng shampoo at sabon sa tubig dagat. Hehe It felt uncomfortable and sticky on our skin. Arte lang.
Before the night came, our guide Harris setup our tents. While others chose to placed their tents in the shore, Maricar, Jeng and I agreed to placed ours inside the hall. Im so tired I wanted to have a good sleep and lay my back on a flat surface.
..and yes, it brought us a good sleep. Well almost. In the middle of the night, I suddenly felt dizzy and threw up. Yikes. (pagod + puyat = pagsusuka)
The morning after and there's still no fresh water. A request for some potable hot water took forever. Good thing I brought my version of masustansyang breakfast.
After breakfast, our guide Harris told us we could walk to the mangrove and climb the lighthouse. Im still not feeling well but I cant miss the chance to see the breathtaking view on top.
Actually, you can reach the lighthouse without crossing the water. It's just these mangroves are very nice to see upclose. Dont miss it as well. Riding the raft is safe, so relax!
shot by Kendra
A little more walk and we finally reach the foot of the lighthouse.
framed shot by The Donnie Ray
Every spot is just photo perfect. The views made us thankful we had the chance to see these with our own eyes. God's creations are awesome!
At past noon, we decided to go back to the mainland. Wala na kaming makain at mainom! Haha We passed by Pandan Island Resort, for experience. They serve lunch! Woohoo. We can really stop here and spend more time on the beach.
Unlike Apo Reef, Pandan Island is just a short 20-min boat ride away from the mainland. Due to accessibility, this beach gets very crowded. The sea bed has lots of rocks that hurt our feet. We tried snorkeling but there's not much to see compared to Apo Reef. (taas ng standards?) Anyway, it's a good stop over to have lunch. Sabik na sabik kami sa kanin at cold drinks! However, I just dont get it that they still dont provide fresh water for their guests. They require guests to pay P120 each and they only have salt water in their faucets? No way. Di kami nagbayad ng entrance fee. =P
meet my travel buddies | Apo Reef edition
In case you dont know, it's such a joy for me to see your delighted faces and pure reactions whenever we see something amazing. It brings back the days when I was once awed by everything I see. Your insights remind me that I dont need to compare for each place has its own beauty.
walang tubig, walang pagkain, walang kuryente, walang signal, walang wifi
edi magpictorial nalang tayo!
edi magpictorial nalang tayo!
Apo Reef and Pandan Island Expenses | April 6-9, 2012- would be cheaper if you take the bus, though it's a numbing 8-hour land trip
- emily's pension house is a very good find in the town of sablayan. may fresh water pangligo, sa wakas!
- sikatuna ecotel is an even better budget accommodation. walking distance pa sa san jose airport.