Apo Island

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.


Snorkeling the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary
It's always great to have visitors from home stop by, and in July my friend/mentor/former boss Kenny Mendez from Trout Unlimited came over to the Philippines with his family to visit relatives on the island of …
Scuba Safari from Dumaguete to Apo Island
Before our friend Noriko, a JICA volunteer from Japan assigned to help teach new pottery methods to local people in Dumaguete, returned home we planned a group dive to go to Apo. It was a trip just for the day,…
From Dumaguete to Apo Island: Scuba Getaway
After a visit to the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary in Bohol, Kris and Kristen came over to Dumaguete to see Apo Island's famous marine sanctuary. Their friend Emily from back home was traveling through SE Asia, so…
Perfect Conditions at Apo Island’s Coconut Point
After two great dives in the Balicasag Marine Sanctuary, Kris and Kristen wanted to compare it with Apo Island. They had heard a lot about Apo, but hadn't had a chance to visit there yet. As it turned out their…
Scuba Diving Apo Island During the Peak Season
Our first stop in Dumaguete when my brother Preston came to visit was Apo Island. He wanted to experience some of the best diving the Philippines has to offer, and to me Apo is the best place that I've ever bee…
Experiencing Apo Island Life at Liberty’s Resort
Since my friend Steve is the first visitor from home I've had to my site in Dumaguete, I wanted to be sure he had good things to say about the place when he got back to the States. Apo Island is pretty much my …
Shopping Dumaguete: Exploring the Local Markets
Buying fresh food is a part of daily life in Dumaguete, and the local produce market is the best spot to pick up the ingredients you need for breakfast (pamahow), lunch (paniudto), and dinner (panihapon). The D…
First Trip to Apo Island: Exploring Dumaguete
In May 2004 I visited Apo Island, a tiny former volcano located about 45 minutes by pump boat from a small fishing village south of my Peace Corps site in Dumaguete. In 1986, the forward thinking residents of A…