We pull off from the black sand beach on a bangka, an elongated wooden boat used extensively throughout the Philippines for transportation in this island nation. We head southeast towards Apo Island, a tiny green speck on the horizon. Within minutes of leaving shore, Atlantis Resort vanishes behind the narrow shoreline amidst the tall, swaying coconut trees. Negros Island, which we just left, becomes its own sea of green, set against a dramatic backdrop: The peaks of the dormant volcano Bukid Talinis (bukid meaning “mountain”) tower at 1,903 metres above sea level, reaching into a cloudless sky. From this vantage point, it’s hard to believe nearly 30,000 people live here, in Dauin. You can see little sign of human life once you’re a mile offshore.
A 45 minute boat ride gets us to Apo Island. Apo means “grandchild” in Tagalog, Philippines’ national language. This small island is less than a square kilometre in size, and is surrounded by the Philippines’ first community-organised marine reserve, established in the late 1980s. It is home to nearly 1,000 people who reside there without electricity or running water; the waters hugging its shores boast 650 documented species of fish and over 400 species of corals. This is why Apo Island diving offers incredible opportunity to see the majority of the 450 coral species indigenous to the archipelago. The reef is healthy and colourful, with a variety of both hard and soft corals. Even while snorkeling, we spot jackfish, barracuda, a banded sea snake and hawksbill turtles.
Diving three dives and enjoying lunch on the boat, during which some local women row their canoes and come on board with beautiful sarongs and T shirts, making this day a perfect day trip.
Atlantis Dive Resort Dumaguete specializes in all inclusive dive vacations, offering divers the dive vacation of a lifetime, with excellent personalized service, small dive groups, spacious camera rooms and the best food in the Philippines. Diving Dumaguete has never been easier, stay and dive in this lovely beachfront Dumaguete hotel for the div vacation of a lifetime.