When in Negros : Snorkel and Swim with the Pawikans at Apo Island



They say the best memories always happen with bad decisions but there is no such thing as regret when you enjoy it with your partner in crime. The most spontaneous trip that we’ve done so far was deciding to go to Apo Island. The first time I went there, I never got to enjoy the underwater world since I was still a child.  When I discovered how the island made some great reviews from its visitors for being a popular dive and snorkeling site then it has been on our travel list to visit this awe-inspiring scenery. We went to Dumaguete for official business but we finished earlier so we opted to have a sidetrip to this place. Thankfully, my friend brought her GoPro cam with her since I just dropped my phone in the toilet and had nothing to use to cherish the memories. With little money that we had, we took a risk of pursuing this travel as cheap as possible.

“Apo” came from our dialect which means grandchild. The island is situated in the southeastern part of Negros. Named as one of the top diving sites of the world, this marine reserve should definitely be at the top of your travel list this summer. It has become a habitat of more than 650 fish species and 400 kinds of corals. The richness of the marine life is indeed incomparable.


How to get there:

  • From Manila : flight to Dumaguete
  • From Cebu: take a ferry from Liloan Port to Dumaguete
  • From Bacolod City : Ceres Bus to Dumaguete
  • From any coastal point in Negros: Ceres Bus bound for Zamboanguita

From Dumaguete:

  • Jeep Route to Zamboanguita
  • Ceres Bus to Bayawan
  • Private Car or Rent a Van

Make sure you drop off at Malatapay Wednesday Market at Zamboanguita which is around 45 minutes travel from Dumaguete.  From the highway, walk or drive to the end of the market road which is around 50 meters long, then you can find the boat post.

Travel Boat Fees:
contact number : +63 9263658260

Medium (good for 4) = 2000
Large (good for 8) = 3000

Excess pax per day = 250
Excess pax per overnight medium = 200
large = 400

Where to stay:


Apo Island Beach Resort
+63 910 219 3359

If you want to have luxury in the island then you can stay in this resort. With its rooms situated at the beachfront, you can definitely relax easily especially with their exclusive view of the island. If you are not a guest of this resort, you have to pay 50 pesos for the entrance fee if you choose to take pictures with the amazing backdrop of Apo Island.

Liberty Lodge Resort
+63 9176039987 / (035) 424-0888

There are only 2 resorts in the island and if you want cheaper rates then you can opt to stay here. With only 2000 pesos per room good for 2 people, you get your breakfast, lunch, dinner for free. Imagine how cheap is that.


Scuba Diving

I’ve always wanted to try scuba diving just to have another exciting experience being underwater. Sadly, we haven’t had enough cash and time since the trip was unplanned. Hopefully, I get to visit this wonderful place again. I always thought scuba diving was very costly because rates can be at least 3500 pesos per dive and up to 15000 pesos for the lessons and I was shocked to see how cheap it was for the Mario’s Scuba Diving and Homestay to offer 1100 pesos per dive inclusive of everything. With a good price like this, there is no excuse not to try.

For more info about diving courses : http://www.apoisland.com/index_files/Page370.htm
For the cheapest diving rates: Mario’s Scuba Diving and Homestay
+63 9063617254/ +63 9196223671 / http://mariosscubadivinghomestay.com/


This offers a preview of the abounding marine resources this place exhibit. There are a total of eight reefs lining the island namely: Coconut, Largahan, Balay, The Chapel, Katipanan, Kan Oran, Mamsa, Olo Reefs and the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary. We made our way to the Apo Island Beach Resort where we started our route for snorkeling in the Largahan Reef. You have to be a good swimmer to go snorkeling since the water current can be very strong and part of the reef waters can be deep. It took us about an hour and a half to complete our route. At the end of our path, we witnessed the bubbles from the sandy bottom the volcanic island was making. It was very tiring but the experience was very worth it.

Swimming with Pawikans

After we had lunch at Liberty Lodge Resort, we went to take a dip with the sea turtles. These lovely creatures can be found near the beach and you don’t have to swim across the deepest sea to find them. If you want to take a picture with them, you have to be speedy since they don’t like to be near humans. You have to make sure they don’t see you or it will be a hard time for you to chase them to get a decent “selfie” based on my experience. Swimming with the endangered species is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me.


Travel tips:

  • If you want to go snorkeling, make sure you have a tour guide because it is not safe to be alone in the shore and if you’re not familiar with the route.
  • Apo Island can be enjoyed as a day tour if you have a limited time.
  • For cheaper rates, contact the resorts directly in the island. Resorts in the mainland tend to overprice but if you want the island tour as package without any trouble going there then they also provide a good deal.


Budget Breakdown: good for 2

  • Ceres Bac-Dum vice versa 1400
  • trike to Robinson’s Mall 18
  • jeep to Zamboanguita 40
  • boat good for 4 2000
  • Apo Island fee 200
  • toilet 10
  • snorkel 200
  • booties 200
  • entrance to Apo Island Resort 100
  • tour guide 200
  • lunch 400
  • wash 10
  • shower 20
  • jeep to Dumaguete 40
  • trike to hotel 18

total: 4856 (2428 each)


9 thoughts on “When in Negros : Snorkel and Swim with the Pawikans at Apo Island

    1. hi Sheance! our tour guide was one of the helper of our boatman. he just accompanied us on our visit there. you don’t really need a guide but if you go on snorkeling, you need to get a dive guide from their registration office. you can just ask the locals for some advice and directions 🙂


  1. Such an amazing day you’ve spent at Negros where these beautiful creatures at Apo island. Swimming with the gigantic creatures is one of the best memories you’ll have on your summer vacation. This island is a tourist attraction all over the years where people come and see these beautiful creatures.


  2. hi! your article is very helpful. can I just ask, is there a place in Apo Island where we can leave our things? we don’t plan to check-in on any resorts there because we’ll be going to Siquijor after our Apo Island tour. thanks!


  3. Just a minor correction: Pronunciation makes a difference. A-po means respected ancestor or leader, a-PO means grandchild. Since the “Apo” of Apo Island is pronounced A-po then it means respected leader or ancestor. I’ve never heard Apo Island pronounced as a-PO island. Plus it makes more sense.


    1. Sorry, my mistake. An Apo Island local said it should be pronounced a-PO as in grandchild. Apparently most people mispronounce it as A-po. Supposedly it’s called that because it’s the “apo” of Negros Island while Siquijor is the “anak” of Negros Island.


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