How We Got to Apo Island in Negros Oriental

Apo Island
Dauin, Negros Oriental

After Mantayupan falls in Barili, I was initially planning to go home already. However, a couple of my companions had plans to go to Dumaguete and head to Apo Island in Dauin, Negros Oriental. They invited me or I think I invited myself because I’ve always wanted to go to that place but never really had a lot of time. I was hesitant at first in going since it was a Sunday and I had to go back the next day for a 10am shift at work. Heading back from Dumaguete to Cebu would be around 5 hours of travel.

When we arrived in Dumaguete Saturday night, I was thankful that we had a place to sleep for free because one of our colleagues lives there. She was kind enough to let us spend the night as well as prepared dinner and breakfast for us.

By Sunday morning, we headed to the Dumaguete terminal to ride a Ceres Bus Liner heading to Bayawan. We dropped off at Malatapay in Zamboanguita.

P20 (around 25 minutes) – bus from Dumaguete to Malatapay

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Yellow Ceres Bus, beside it is Robinsons Place, Dumaguete City

apo island sign carabao
Tell the Driver to stop when you see this Apo Island sign

We trekked a little from the highway going to the docking area of the pump boats. But before that, we stopped by a souvenir shop to buy some anklets as mementos of the trip. It was hot and there were only a few people when I realized that it was a Sunday, on summer and it’s Negros. Usually during summer seasons, people don’t stay in the place to spend the season.

souvenir shop apo souvenir shop
souvenir shop, got a cheap anklet at 30 Pesos

apo island dock walk to apo apo island rate
a little walk to check the pumpboats

Boat Rates/Rentals
For Diving:
Medium Boat: 2000 Php per day
Big Boat: 3000 Php per day

Boat Ride from Malatapay to Apo Island
Medium Boat: 1700 Php per service (back and forth) – good for 4 persons only
Big Boat: 2700 Php per service (back and forth) – good for 8 persons

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our boatman carrying our bags and storing it in a compartment in the banca.

We talked to the one in-charge of the pump boats. This was the more expensive part of the whole trip since the minimum was 1700 for four people. There were only four of us but I believe we could’ve gotten a cheaper rate somewhere else if we could get another boat. But again, it was a Sunday and those were the actual rates posted on their board. They issued a receipt as well for the payment.

The pump boat ride was around 30 minutes to the island and we were advised required to surrender all our bags (including small ones) to them so they could place it inside the boat as we were going to get wet. I thought that it was just a little splish-splash but true enough, we had water slapping us in different directions – all the while I was praying that the water wouldn’t seep in since my laptop and my camera were there tucked inside.

P1700 – pumboat ride to Apo Island (good for 4 persons) – 30 minutes

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writing our names to register.

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Ronor’s Lodging, 2 common bathrooms

When we arrived at Apo Island, we registered our names and paid the entrance fees. They have different rates for every resident. We told them that we lived in Negros which was about 25 bucks each.

Apo Island Entrance Rates:
non-Negros resident: 100 Php
Negros resident: 25 Php
Marine Sanctuary Fee: 50 Php

We were also given a card from the docking area of a place that was available for us to stay overnight. I didn’t tend to spend a night there but two of our colleagues did so we just left our things there while we were checking the island out.

500 Php per night – Ronor’s Lodging

When we’ve settled, we went to the back part of the island since it was around 10am and they advised us to go to the marine sanctuary. We rented some snorkels (P75 for the day) and also bought some shirts from the locales selling them.

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buying Apo Island shirts

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enjoying the sun

It was a lovely day as the skies were clear and so were the waters. Too bad I wasn’t able to bring my underwater camera in order to document the sea; to think that I was in a place known for having a great diving spot, bummer. I didn’t have to swim far as fishes were already around even when the water’s depth was just half of my body.

When it was time for us to eat, it was a good thing that we just ordered from the caretakers to prepare our food. So when we arrived, lunch was already laid on the table. I wish they included some cold beverage and the fish could’ve had more taste but we couldn’t complain that much since the money for the whole meal and cooking was already worth it – fruits and condiments included.

300 Php – cooked meals good for 2 persons (includes rice, one viand and one side-dish)

food souvenir shop
a lot of food, Sala ni Maya – souvenir and hennat tattoo shop

beach dither ocampo
haha, DITHER – FAIL!

Around 1pm, we went to the front part where the water was already deep and sea turtles were already swimming. The sun was scorching hot and it was a nice day to stay in the waters. I was able to swim with a few sea turtles and regretted again why I didn’t bring my Olympus camera with an underwater case – stupid, stupid me.

Went to another side of the island where foreigners were abound, sunbathing and just chilling. I also climbed a rock and scratched my left arm when I had to go down since I had difficulty on where to place my foot and had to clung to whatever I could grab on just to stay upright.

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Apo Island rock – I climbed it!

Before I headed home, I wanted to get a henna tattoo just for its sake alone. It was my second time to get one and this time, I’m far more satisfied with the result. The artist was really accommodating and friendly which was really nice because we were treated like friends.

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the side of Apo Island where foreigners were abound. reminds me of Malapascua

4pm or so, it was time for two of us to go home, while the remaining two stayed on the island. I had to go home for work the next day. We also had to get back to the boat early cause it would be dangerous by dark as the waves might start getting bigger. The water was calmer then but we encountered a little more splashes in some instances. I’m lucky I got a free ride back to Dumaguete since my friend met up with her relatives who took us to dinner (free again!) and then just stayed at their house to take a shower and freshen up. Bought a boat ticket to Cebu and stayed at Cafe Noriter just to kill the time.

tattoo artist henna
tattoo artist – 100 bucks for my design

It was around 12mn when the boat arrived and I went straight to my bunk and slept. I was too tired to open my eyes. Woke up around 6am when the boat was near the Mactan bridge and I still had the time to bring out my laptop and surf using my Smartbro Unlimited Plugit Plan. Funny that I could’ve still managed to finish some job tasks if only I had some energy that night. Imagine me being able to log in to my account on the boat – it’s a net-freak’s dream. I arrived in Cebu just in time to take a shower and change clothes for work.

Apo Island is one of the few places that I’ve always wanted to go especially when I was still living in Dumaguete – I spent 3 and half years in Negros Oriental. But because I didn’t really have the budget nor the company to take me there, I just scrapped the idea altogether.

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salag ni Maya

It was a weekend in two different locations which was pretty crazy. Talk about budgeting, the best part about it was that I didn’t get to spend much. The amount that I prepared for was supposedly just for the Barili trip, but because of some mishaps which turned out to be good fortunes, I was able to maximize the whole trip and go to two places (Mantayupan Falls and Apo Island).

Unplanned trips like these are usually what stays in my head for a longer time because of spur-of-the-moment decisions wherein you just wish things would fall into place; and when they do, it feels like the world is conspiring with you.

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Please don't forget to confirm your subscription by checking your Inbox. is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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11 thoughts on “How We Got to Apo Island in Negros Oriental”

  1. ima like this uber much coz i am in it!hahahaha if not for you edz, wala pd ta to kaadto ug apo.haha and to think we both used to live to the island next to it 😀

  2. Wow. I went to the same shop in Malatapay. I always spend my summer in Mag-abo, Zamboanguita. Too bad my dad won't allow me to go to Apo Island. 🙁 I wish I could go there someday.
    I love your blog. 🙂


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