The Malatapay Terminal and Information Center is the jump off point for those who want to visit Apo island. There is a public market beside it, which is open on Wednesdays, and is the first thing you’ll see when you alight at the highway junction in Maluay, Zamboangita. It’s hard to miss this very spot because there is a roadside marker that is captioned “To Apo Island”.
There were only the two of us, me and my wife, so we scouted for other passengers to share the cost of our boat transfer with. Since the total distance is only 7 kilometers, it takes less than an hour to complete the seafaring trip.
We didn’t mind the crashing waves that later got us soaking wet as we navigated on rough seas. We were overwhelmed by a sense of freedom, an escape from the trappings of the real world. Such isolation was most conducive to finding inner peace.
As we were getting closer to the shoreline, our boatman let go of the anchor as if driven by mere instincts. However, he signaled us to remain seated until we’ve completely docked. This gave us a chance to examine the most photographed landmark in Apo island– a towering rock formation at sea, a hint of its volcanic origins, keeping watch over azure waters.
It was a moment of pure bliss to finally set foot on the beachfront. There were locals who approached us, offering cheap accommodation. We ended up paying for a P500 per night room with breakfast included. We left our belongings there for safekeeping, then decided to spend the whole afternoon trekking to the lightouse.
The next morning, we headed straight to the marine reserve. We passed by a still lagoon. When we arrived at the warden guard house, we paid P50 for the snorkeling fee and hired a tour guide for safety reasons. A jewel of an island with riches underwater not in the form of sunken treasure chests, but a myriad of fishes and corals waiting to be appreciated for their true worth.
But we saved the best for last – the marine turtles! They swim close to the shore where they reportedly lay their eggs. Priceless to encounter a few of them in the same area. It was indeed the highlight of our stay.
We’re so happy about how our soujorn in Apo island turned out to be our most memorable adventure thus far.
How to go to Apo island
1. There are many hotels and pension houses in Dumaguete, so if you’re done visiting other places and decide to visit Apo island, you may ride on a bus headed to “Bayawan”. Tell the driver to stop at the Malatapay market junction, which is only operational every wednesday. 2. The boat ride from Malatapay market in Zamboangita to Apo island is P2,000 for a medium boat (4 persons) and P3,000 (8 persons). So, try to look for other willing passengers to share the cost with. 3. You have to pay P50 as soon as you set foot on Apo island and log in their guestbook. As soon as you are spotted, people will start to approach you asking if you’re looking for a place to stay. The rest is up to you, depending on your budget.