Philippines Day 2

Woke at 4:30am.  Had to be at Pier One by 5:30.  Packed, got changed, and took a cab.  Got a ticket easily, then relaxed in the waiting area.  Soon enough, we were called onto the ferry and assigned to our numbered seats.  Frustratingly, the headrest of the seats were all set too low, and there was zero legroom.  This meant slep was impossible, unless you tilted your head back and were willing to wake up near-paralysed.  The trip took almost 4 hours.  I arrived at Dumaguete Pier and was ushered into a waiting tricycle (a motorbike with attached side-car).  I paid P350 for a hair-raising 30 minute journey to Malatapay.  the views were beautiful, though we nearly crashed 10 times.  Still, it was a nice experience.  After 40 minutes, we arrived at Malatapay, a tiny market town, where I waited for a boat to take me to Apo Island, a tiny island that is getting rave-reviews as a good dive spot.  I wasn’t happy with chartering my own boat, so I decided to hang around for others to come.  After an hour, a freindly Danish couple arrived, and let me share their boat.

The ride across to Apo was pretty memorable.  We boarded the small bumboats.  No seats, you it on the top, and it’s low to the water.  I sat at the head of the boat.  We all got absolutely soaked on the bumboat, which resembles a mosquito with a small engine.  Waves crashed into my face, and the eyes were stinging.  I forgot to put suncream on, and my legs, face and arms were exposed to the merciless midday sun for the durationof the 30 minute ride. Brits abroad.  Lobster tan.

On first impressions, Apo didn’t impress me as Bunaken Island in Indonesia.  It’s not as beautiful.  The ‘beach’ isn’t sandy, it’s coral.  Hard, sharp, and painful to walk on.  Still, the island has a certain charm, and is so isolated that it lends itself well to a Robinson Crusoe type experience.  Dripping wet,  I scrambled the rocks and waded through the sea with my big bag, and checked into an exquiste beach bungalow.  the sound of the waves lapping the rocks the only thing i can hear.  No shower, just a water scopped from a barrel.  No electricity until sunset, and even then only until around 1am.  This was just the ticket after Singapore though.

To the right of ApoIsland Resort, if you look at it from the sea, is Liberty’s, where good diving can be booked from the eco-freindly divemasters.  Further on is the only village on the island.  It really is that small.  That’s it.  From one end of the village to ApoIsland Resort takes 10 minutes maximum.  During the rest of the day I wandered the small island, exploring the hills.  I went to the top of the island, where some villagers were collecting firewood, and scaled an old lighthouse, the rusty iron ladder barely connected to the rock.  The views were incredible.  Stunning vistas.  the people I met around the island were all so welcoming and friendly.  there is absolutely nothing to do on the island than dive, drink and eat.  I booked a couple of dives for the next day,  watched an amazing sunset right outside my bungalow, and went to bed at 10pm.  It had been a long, but incredibly eventful day.

Author: Neil

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