Apo Reef | A Paradise Above and Below the Sea

Last April 1, 2012, I officially became a glorified tambay.
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! ♥

Apo Reef | a paradise above and below the sea

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.

woot, a group of 10! thank you for joining and nice meeting you!
ikaw, kelan ka jo-join sakin? ^_^

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.

first glimpse of Apo Reef

The journey via airplane, the bus, and the boat was all worth it. Agree?

a paradise in Occidental Mindoro

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.

a small number of tourists considering it's the holy week season

im so ready to stroll and take gazillions of photos #bloggermode

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.

very fine white sand + turquoise clear water at Apo Reef

..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
2. Boracay
1. Calaguas

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.

tents are pitched near the beach - as close as you want

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.

rashguards, snorkel sets, life vests, and undewater camera - check!

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.

my beautiful joiners. gaganda lang!

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)

daddy found nemo

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!

enjoying the beach all by ourselves

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)

our tent inside the hall

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.

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.

may konting energy pa ko to take group shots

alright, here comes the raft

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!

edi ako lang ang attentive
shot by Kendra

A little more walk and we finally reach the foot of the lighthouse.

group shot muna before anything else

breathtaking view of Apo Reef from the lighthouse

i wont miss this chance to pose for a portrait shot here
kahit buwis buhay ang cliff

and more fantastic view on the opposite side

framed shot by The Donnie Ray

we're not allowed to climb the highest point, but it's fine with us.

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.

dolphin sightings on or way back!
nawala ang antok naming lahat

the crowded Pandan Island

grabe si kuya bangkero, di man lang ako tulungan. haha!

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

thank you Gladys, Kate, Jay, Donnie, Peng, Maricar, Aisa, Kendra, Otep, and Jeng for joining!

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!

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.

71 responses:

Chyng said...

pahabol na blog entry before i leave manila. i'll be back by the end of the month. pagtiisan nyo ang entry na to for 2 weeks. =)

tabian said...

love love the beach...added to list of to go places na 'to!! weee!!

blissfulguro said...

i missed this one! hmmm... namiss ko tuloy kayo bigla...

ang wagas na nutella! namiss ko :)

ingat sa next trip chyng!

Donnie Ray said...

yun oh! super enjoy talaga ako kahit wa fresh at sa tent lang natulog. ibang experience teh!

ansarap magSnorkeling!!! ^_^

abeng said...

gusto ko din maging joiners mo chyng! :)

khantotantra said...

ang ganda at linaw at blue ng dagat! Dun palang sa dalampasigan enjoy na! Tapos ang ganda ng underwater pics! cooool!

Di said...

Sama ako sa next travel moooo! :D

Rizza said...

awesome God's creation! :) Clear ng water tska blue tlaga. :) ganda te Chyng! Sayang hindi ako nakasama. Sulit sana ang budget. tsk.

Mustachio said...

Beautiful beach! Added to my list of places to visit (getting longer and longer!) Thanks for sharing :)

bisayangmanlalakbay said...

Hi chyng,ang saya ng trip nyo. ganda ng mga shots, adventures nyo at underwater shots. pwede po ba mag join sa group?hihihi.:-( sana makasama ko minsan.hehehe! thanks to all.

michymichymoo said...

I'm not much of a traveler pero nainggit talaga ako dito. Gusto ko din magpunta! :)


Anonymous said...

may Top 5 B*ches in PHL...

5. Puerto Galera
4. Misibis Bay, Legazpi
3. White Beach, Camiguin
2. Boracay
1. Bohol Beach Club, Bohol

i realized, i haven't tried ung mga camping/tent by the shore... dahil di pa ko physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for that idea.. hahahah!

am i missing A LOT dahil sa ka-artehan ko? wahahaha :P

-- hulaan mo sino ako, toinks! --

Anonymous said...

may Top 5 B*ches in PHL...

5. Puerto Galera
4. Misibis Bay, Legazpi
3. White Beach, Camiguin
2. Boracay
1. Bohol Beach Club, Bohol

i realized, i haven't tried ung mga camping/tent by the shore... dahil di pa ko physically, mentally and emotionally prepared for that idea.. hahahah!

am i missing A LOT dahil sa ka-artehan ko? wahahaha :P

-- hulaan mo sino ako, toinks! --

Jeng said...

i'm glad i joined this trip. one of the best and memorable lakwatsa i had. thanks Chyng, galing galing! sa uulitin :)

ardee sean said...

gusto ko rin ma-experience jan.. ang ganda ng beach.. love.. :P

michi said...

ang ganda ng apo reef. kung single pa ko, magjoin din ko ng trip mo. hehe!

Untied Escape said...

Yey, may post na! Ansaya! Di ko talaga pagsisisihan ang pag twit ko sayo at pagtanong kung san kayo sa holyweek! buti nalang! Sa uulitin Chyng! One of the best trip ko toh...

Pinoy Adventurista said...

Sobrang okay dyan, medyu mahal lang ang boat, so dapat marami talaga kayo...

dumaan din pala kayo ng Pandan... they have freshwater, kaso sa rooms lang...

keightie said...

The best ang Apo Reef at Pandan Island! Anong sinabi ng Ocean Park! Dadapa ka lang sa shore sa Pandan Island meron ng fishes at starfish. Tas Sa apo reef me makikita kang shark at makakasalubong ng Dolphins.

Salamat, salamat at nakasama ako sa adventure na to Chyng. Sama kami ulit next time :)

Chingky Quijano said...

Ang ganda naman sa Apo Reef. May idadagdag na ulit sa mahabang listahan. Hehe.

Sana makajoin din ako in one of your open trips. Hihi. :)

Chikoy Domingo said...

linaw ng tubig!!!

swexie said...

galing! nice place. i'm not sure though if makakapunta bah ako dito soon. mejo di accessible and lugar for me..

my top 5:

2. malcapuya, coron
1. dahican, mati

ay, 2 lng naisulat ko. haha! i've been to a lot of beaches pero dahican is the one closest to my heart. and i was also very amazed with malcapuya. the rest of the beaches i've been to are also beautiful but yung dalawa lang talaga siguro ang nag make ng mark sa heart ko. charuz!

carlo said...

kung nalaman ko lang ang announcement mo nito nung january, nakasama sana kami ni faye :(

pangarap namin yan eh. di lang kami makaalis nang kami lang dalawa kasi ang mahal!!! kelangan may kahati :))

all the more reasons to log on to twitter and stalk you :p

Rizalenio said...


Ingat sa two weeks na trip.

Nicole said...

anganda! dagdag na naman sa mag listahan! ikaw talaga! hahaha!

Ingat ka teh sa next trip mo and enjoy!!!! :)

adventurousfeet said...

ang ganda ng beach na to!! sana pag nakapunta ko dyan sa city hall nalang din ako magcamp para ka lang nasa veranda..love the shots! pictorial talaga!

Precious said...

wow! nakaka-inspire ha :) I'd love to see this paradise soon :D

gillboard said...

beach pics pa lang naglaway na ako. tas nakita ko yung underwater photos.


inggitero mode on nanaman.

McRICH said...

woww sana dumating ang time na i-text din ako ng the-chyng-reyes para sumama on her next escapade, sobrang ganda esp the undewater pics, did u use p&s for those or you have a special case for your slr?


Sana ...

Sana makasama ako sa susunod na trip mo Chyng..

Sana makapunta ako dyan ,ang ganda at tsaka kaya ng budget

Sana may blog entry every day hahahaha

Sana makagawa din ako ng ganitong kay gandang blog

Sana Sana mdaming post arAW araw hahaha ..

joy said...

Beuatiful philippines and people. thanks for sharing again:)

marxtermind said...

Chyng tayo kelan? Ano mga trip mo next year sasama ako! Hehehe! =)

John Michael Bueno said...

Gusto ko sumama one day... pero maarte ako lalo haha

Sumi Go said...

ohmaygulay! ANG GANDA! :D Gusto ko na rin mag-beach!!! Pero gusto ko din sa Apo Reef :3

Photo Cache said...

ang ganda ng kulay ng tubig. i think sa lahat ng pinakita mo dito sa blog mo, this would be my fave beach.

mia said...

Eh bakit ang ganda naman dyan? Haha. Tayo nang lahat sa Apo Reef and Pandan Island!

nini tan said...

sayang!sayang talaga!grrrr

Ichan said...

nung nabasa ko ung part na "ikaw, kelan ka jo-join sakin? ^_^"

wala akong masabi kasi nde ko alam kung kelan...

BTW ang ganda ng apo reef at mejo affordable sya..

ingats po sa trip nu.. aabangan nmin ang post nu =)

The Photoblogger said...

WOOOW look at all those underwater shots. I've been wanting to go to Apo reef in the hopes of seeing the Giant Sun fish. I heard one was washed up ashore and was still alive.

Congrats on being a certified Tambay ;)

fullpacked.com said...

napaka ganda!
sana makapunta din ako jan

Kat said...

uy bet ko yang hihilahin lang ng bangka habang nag-snorkeling bilang di naman ako marunong lumangoy hahaha

Top 5 ko would be:

5. Dakak, Zamboanga del Norte
4. Boracay
3. Matukad Island & Manlawi Island (sandbar), Caramoan
2. Banol Beach, Coron
1. Talisay Beach and Helicopter Island (both in El Nido)

Gina Dela Cruz said...

Wow, very nice. Nasa list ko talaga ang Apo Island sa mga beaches that I want to go to. I should have known na nagorganize ka nito. Di bale, may next time pa naman. Good luck Chyng!

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

ang ganda chyng! di ko alam pwede pala snorkling lang sa apo reef, kala ko kelanganan hardcore diver ka para ma enjoy yan :)

Mitch said...

Ganda ng pic esp. sa lighthouse view! Pede nga itong pang no 1. on the list eh.. ingget much!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

I remember you telling me about being retrenched - now I see where this has brought you to. Tapos aalis ka na naman ulit. Inggit! Time is what I don't have, buti ka pa.

Lawstude said...

glorified tambay. i like the term. astig din list oh beaches. apo reef ang di ko pa napuntahan, i hope to visit this someday. magsama ka naman :)

estranghero said...

lufet! the place is so cool and great, and seems to be comparable with Calaguas.

will surely check it soon or probably next summer. :)

Micamyx|Senyorita said...

Pupunta dapat ako dyan last yr kasama sina Marcos, Gael etc kaso hindi ako natuloy huhu. Mapuntahan nga to!

Anonymous said...

hi ms. chyng!

i love your pictures! they're amazing! :D

may i ask if you know if buses coming from sablayan to san jose have schedules? also yung room rates sa sikatuna ecotel and contact number if you have one?

thank you!

Tin said...

I was also there last Holy Week! Nung Black Saturday specifically, after our Mt. Iglit climb. Ganda nga ng island at ng snorkeling. We also saw dolphins! Pero mas nag-enjoy ako sa snorkeling in Pandan Island. I got to swim with a couple of huge sea turtles! Mas okay to ask locals o yung mga bangkero kasi alam nila ang specific snorkeling spot sa Pandan Island na may magagandang coral reef. Sinamahan rin kami ng bangkero kaya may guide kung san pupunta.

Tria said...

Hi Ms. Chyng! I've been stalking your blog for quite some time now :)) Ganda ng pictures! Hope I can join you in one or two of your future open trips!

wander shugah said...

oh wow~~ ang ganda lng ate chyng!! ang smiles ng mga kasama mo super genuine. ako na nmn next time! :) Tried snorkeling the other day. ang malas lng pg walang underwater camera! haha gotta save up for that :D Anyway, linked you pala sa new blog ko :)

pusang kalye said...

at ang dami nyo pala ha.at si OTEP kasama!!!!perness.hehe.At kami nasa oppossite direction nagpunta.awts.Meron kasing nag blog about this dati at diko nagustuhan ang mga photos,yun tuloy.bat pag ikaw ang nag-bo-blog parang nakaka-ingganyong pumunta.hahaha

Reydan Duldulao said...

Breathtaking... ganda! Such a paradise indeed!

Ang Babaeng Lakwatsera said...

Ganda ng mga shots.. ganda ng place.. gusto ko din makapunta jan..

lakwatserong tatay said...

astig ang ganda ng lugar...kaw na talaga chyng...

kelan nga kaya ako makakajoin sa mga trip mo...

sana i-pm mo ko pagmeron ka invites...hehehehe

LJ said...

pasensiya na kung ngayong lang nakapagcomment, i've been reading your blog for quite a while now on reader kaso blocked ang blogger sa office we, hehe...

i would love to go here. thanks for sharing the details.

very helpful post.

MarLiesTravels said...

very nice beach! love the clear blue skies and water! at ang affordable! will include going to Apo Reef to our bucket list =)

aileen said...

nice! classmate ko si kendra ng college. lol. Eto pala yung trip na sinasabi niya sakin last time, inaaya niya ko! sayang!

stacy said...

Nice talaga pag konti lang tao. =D Gusto ko magsnorkeling dyan

Ian | Going Places said...

gusto ko na talaga sa dagat! 1 week to go May na at matatapos na ang Summer 2012, hindi pa din ako nakakakita ng dagat... =( di bale may isang buwan pa...

BTW, my top 5 beaches visited in the Philippines so far... 1)Alona Beach, Panglao Island, Bohol. 2)White Beach, Boracay. 3)Patar Beach Bolinao, 4)Matabungkay Beach, Lian, Batangas 5)Samal Island Beach, Davao.

Hoobert the Awesome said...

Oh my. Scary nga Ate yung shot mo dun sa railing nung light house. parang anytime pwede kang mahulog. Lol.

Haha. 2 weeks kang wala. Wow, saan ang gala mo? Anyway, kelan tayo magkikita? Hohoho.

Diamond R said...

'Yan ang dagat.

lakbay philippines said...

we have the same requirements for a great beach! beach bummer ka din pala :D

joei ♥ said...

Yes I agree! It's worth all those trips you took. Ganda! Felt that way about my Caramoan trip before. There weren't any real transpo or even resorts when my friends and I went there a long time ago so 'sakay dito, sakay doon' din kami! But it was worth it.

Anyway, that's a nice way to put it.. tambay! Hehe. At least more time to travel ;)

Malditang "Kura"cha said...

ay nalimutan ko pala mag-comment dito. I really enjoyed everyone's company. pero na-miss ko talaga mag tibag ng kanin sa kaldero dahil sa trip na to. hahah!

Sa uulitin! Thanks chyng for the invite. ^_^

Chiz said...

Ang ganda naman jan! As usual nakaka inspire ang photos mo. Mapapa travel talaga ang makakabasa :) sana gumawa kapa ulit, sama ako :D

Punta ka El Nido and Coron. Maganda rin :)

Anonymous said...

Ang ganda! And I'm amazed that you spent less than 5k to enjoy the beauty of the place. Medyo challenge nga lang yung walang fresh water. :S

Bobs said...

The beach is so wicked! i love it.

Riz said...

panalo talaga sa apo reef! IDOL! :)
sana makasama ako sa mga trips mo minsan.. :)

Tamz Rod said...

i was looking for damage report caused by typhoon yolanda, i ended up in your page. nice blog!

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