Apo Island is my favorite dive site in the entire Philippines. Yes, Tubbataha has more big fish and amazing visibility underwater, but Apo Island has a wider variety of hard and soft coral species populating a vibrant coral reef teeming with thousands and thousands of tropical fish. Apo has been my favorite place for underwater photos of clown fish and sea turtles. Aside from the underwater beauty, the island itself is really amazing. With a population of a bit less than 1,000 people (90% are fisherfolk), the Apo Island community is one of the best examples in the world of a community-based marine sanctuary that has succeeded in the face of extremely difficult odds.
To really get the complete Apo Island experience, I always stay at Liberty’s Apo Island resort. There’s nothing like catching an amazing sunset over Negros Island, or waking up early to dive the pristine reef before all the dive boats come over from the Dauin beach resorts. You’ll also connect with the community itself in a way that’s not possible if you return to the mainland at night. Be sure to check out the annual fiesta on Apo held on April 4th, it’s the best beach party in the Philippines.