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Apo Reef Natural Park
Ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Sablayan
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 20 May 2013

This was our most anticipated trip before the summer ends. From Sablayan, it takes a 2 hour boat ride to Apo Reef. Before reaching the island, we already take our first plunge in the water. It was amazing! Our first dive we immediately spotted barracudas swimming around. At 30meters the visibilty is absolutely clear! A few seconds we can see sharks everywhere! I've never seen so many corals in just one dive spot. there were so many fish also.

We stayed at the island for one night, 2 days. after our first dive, we set our tents and food at the camping site. Luckily we were the only guests at the island. We had the whole place all to ourselves! It was so quiet and relaxing. The water is warm so it is nice to swim after a tiring day. The island is inhabited by birds and you can see them flying around. On our next dives, we saw more sharks, barracudas, lots of trigger fish, a manta ray, a few nudibranch, red snappers, turtles and many more. Be aware that there is mild to strong currents while diving. You can also see the thermocline in some dive sites. On our way back to Sablayan we saw some dolphins bridging the surface :)

If you plan to stay at the island, be sure to plan it carefully as there is no fresh water there (only rain water), there is a restroom (in bad condition), you have to bring food, water, utensils, and cook sets, etc. There is also no cellular signal there-Smart or Globe. There is a charging station at the ranger station at 5pm onwards. Bring bug spray.

On the night that we stayed on the island, hermit crabs swarmed the ground, also it rained in the middle of the night, we had to transfer all of our tents and other stuff on higher grounds (at the building in the island). So be prepared for anything when you're there. :) In the morning we were surprised to see newly hatched turtles by the beach, some even are lost in the middle of the island, so our bangkeros gather them and help them get to the water.

Impt: Make sure to contact the Department of tourism at Sablayan to arrange your trip to Apo reef. You have to settle the fees before the trip.

2  Thank YaneSam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"marine life"
in 11 reviews
"apo reef"
in 27 reviews
in 7 reviews
"white tip sharks"
in 5 reviews
"natural park"
in 5 reviews
"great diving"
in 4 reviews
in 4 reviews
"day trip"
in 3 reviews
"drift dive"
in 3 reviews
"no electricity"
in 3 reviews
"bring your own"
in 3 reviews
"pod of dolphins"
in 2 reviews
"napoleon wrasse"
in 2 reviews
"great barrier"
in 2 reviews
"drinking water"
in 2 reviews
"off season"
in 2 reviews
"boat ride"
in 2 reviews

54 - 58 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 5 May 2013

Our trip to Apo Reef was all about diving, snorkeling and nature trip. Being a first time diver, Apo Reef is a good start. Prior to the dive, one has to contact the Department of Tourism office at Sablayan. They will take care of all the diving tools and training with a price that is not too costly as compared to the other diving sites. When we had our first shot at diving, we we're only led to the not too deep areas where we know the most beautiful of the ocean creatures are seen. So if you are really expecting too a colorful aquatic visual treat, don't get your expectations too high. For snorkeling, it is a feast, yes, I may agree, to some point, but if you happen to go to say El Nido or Coron, or any part of Palawan, you might be a little too disappointed. So what I'm saying is, Apo Reef is relatively good (average I mean) for a newbie diver and a snorkeling junkie like me. But if you are a snorkeling newbie, you will be amazed by how clear and diverse Apo Reef is. We we're not able to go to Pandan and do other stuff like glass bottom dive but Apo Reef adventure surely is a must for a beach and water junkie like me.... In addition, Apo Reef is a perfect place for camping and I highly recommend to bring your own tent. The island is a paradise in itself with a lagoon that boasts of rich mangroves and a lighthouse to get a glimpse of the beauty of it... This is a must-see place for a nature lover...

4  Thank tinagalido
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2013

The main attraction is underwater at daylight. I swam with sharks and large schools of fishes, investigated splendid corals where giant star fishes and colorful clams rest. I wish I had dived but snorkeling was also enjoyable. Bring an amphibian camera. There was a strong current though, so be careful and coordinate with your boatman as to the direction you are going!

But Apo island is also beautiful - the beach has fine white sand, the lighthouse is charming at sunset and the lagoon trip after breakfast I found very peaceful. There were few other tourists but they only came for a few hours during the day - so at night we were the only guests on the island. The moon was full when we came here for a weekend. We came at the season in which turtles come back to the island to lay their eggs - there were tracks of sea turtles on the pristine white beach. In the evening, I walked along the beach with a park ranger (don't do this alone!), hoping to witness a sea turtle coming to shore - we were unsuccessful but the walk by moonlight was enjoyable in itself.

The next day I did some more snorkeling around Pandan Island (P150 entrance fee) where I swam with sea turtles and sting rays. The corals here are not as nice as Apo reef but it is worth stopping for lunch (around P200) and a dip before heading back to Sablayan.

Arranging your trip
Contact the Sablayan tourism office (contact details below). The tourism officer, Ate Norie, was very pleasant. They arrange the boat for you and all fees are settled with their office. The boat for 10-12 people costs P7,500 for 36 hours - quite fair since it is a 2-3 hour trip each way. Entrance fees are P225 for Filipinos and P450 for foreigners. You may also rent a tent, snorkel and dive gear at their office. Bring or borrow an ice chest if you want to buy fresh fish from the market. Get drinking water and food for cooking (plus coal for grilling) in Sablayan.

Comfort and convenience
There are toilets at Apo island. Water from a deep well is salty - and the deep well dries up during low-tide. The boat that brought us to Apo island gave us freshwater for showering. Our guide lent us a grill and cooking utensils and helped us prepare food. There is no mobile network signal and electricity on the island. Bring a flashlight. The rangers living on the island were friendly and they have a boat on standby for emergencies.

Snorkel and/or dive gear, tent, flashlight, camera + waterproofing material, towel, soap, mess kit, ice chest (if buying fresh fish at the market), a novel to read on the beach

7  Thank Alunsina L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2013 via mobile

Went to Apo Reef thru Pandan Island Resort which is a two hour boat ride from the site. Quite costly- boat fees, dive gear rental and dive guide fees but they are all so worth it! Got to see plenty of white tip sharks, black tip sharks and a big grey reef with so many giant reef fishes and
resident sea turtles. A super wonderful dive experience I would definitely treasure in a lifetime.

2  Thank men911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 September 2012

From Ligaya where a friend lives, it took us 2 hours by boat. It was a nice ride in the morning but afternoon came and I thought it was the end of me and my friends because of the waves. I do not how to swim but I did scuba without the diving part by hanging on the raft while my whole body was underwater. Don't forget to bring your gears since this should be the first thing that you should do here. Scuba diving! or maybe snorkeling...

it's a whole new world down there!!! Everything looks so amazing. Corals, turtles, star fishes look so alive! It's like there's a kingdom of underwater creatures!!!! I would love to go back there as long as I'll go by plane or helicopter which is impossible.

3  Thank anne_rainne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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