Swimming with the majestic pawikans (sea turtles) is practically in my list of things to do. There’s an actual list, by the way. It’s long and daunting.
So even if the weather was a little gloomy, the waves were wild and I can’t swim to save my life, I braved the waters (with the help of my awesome guide and lifebuoy) and bonded with my new bff’s in a half shell. After scraping my shin and drinking too much salt water, I can now say, that was amazing!
From Dumaguete City, it takes approximately 30-45 minutes by car to get to Malatapay Market in Zamboanguita.
If taking the public transport, when in Dumaguete City, head to the Ceres Bus Station and take the bus bound for Bayawan City. The bus ride costs 50php and takes about 40 minutes. Inform the bus driver/attendant that you want to be dropped off at Malatapay Market.
Walk towards the shore and you’ll find the Malatapay Terminal/Information Center. This is where you register and rent a boat. Boat prices vary per size: 2000php for 4 passengers, 2500 for 6 passengers and 3000 for 8 passengers.
Boat leaves the island back to Malatapay around 3:30-4pm. Some locals may hitch a ride to the city, this is a common practice.
Apo Island Fees:
General Admission/Registration for adults is at 100php. Rate for minors (ages 12-18) is at 10php. Snorkeling within the Apo Island Sanctuary requires a guide for 300php.
You may check out all the other rates here: www.dumagueteinfo.com
Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera and snorkeling gear! Although they do have them in the island for rental, just in case. They have lifejackets for rent, too, if you’re a sad non-swimmer like me. And if you have reef shoes (snorkeling shoes), they would basically save your life!
As for food, your best option there is to dine at Apo Island Resort. However, I do recommend you bring your own food. And if a day trip is not enough ( it never is), you can stay in Apo Island Resort or Liberty Lodge Resort.
Pawikans are such beautiful, gentle creatures. Let us support responsible tourism.