SCUBA TravelPhilippines Diving

Diving The Philippines: Apo Island

Apo Island comprises a protected coral reef surrounding a volcanic island in the Visayan Sea, Negos Oriental province.

Getting There

Negros Oriental lies south of Manila. The flight from Manila to Dumaguete takes about an hour. From the airport in Dumaguete it is about 45 minutes drive (25 km) along the coast to Malatapay. Apo Island is a further 30 minute banca (a motorized outrigger boat) ride from Malatapay, the "mainland" (what does that mean in a country which is a collection of islands?) of Negros Island.

Dive Operators and accommodation

There is a dive shop and lodging on Apo Island itself and a number of operations that work from Dumaguete. The Philippines has a good internet presence so information is easy to find on the Web. Apo Island itself is a marine sanctuary and hopes to use tourism as an alternative revenue source to destructive fishing practices.

We dived with Rene Juntereal ( , tel: 63 35 255 5257) who I'd strongly recommend not only as fun and competent dive leader but also as a gourmand. He arranged some wonderful lunches on the beach prepared with curious and delicious local foods (once we'd convinced him that we were more adventurous than average tourists)!

The Diving

The diving is excellent with a selection of walls dropping away from a convenient 5 m or so to 25 m and deeper. Highlights of the diving include: turtles, drifting through shoals of several hundred large jacks, myriad (tons, lots, even more than you are thinking of) clownfish among the anemones of "Clownfish City" in the fish sanctuary, fields of grass eels, lots of coral in good condition, and many more tropical fish than I shall ever remember the names.

Simeon Warner

Further Reading

Diving Southeast Asia (Footprint Thematic Guide)
by Beth and Shaun Tierney, Paperback, Footprint Handbooks, 336 pages, 2009
From the authors of Diving the World, a new dive guide covering 400 popular sites in Southeast Asia. From the pristine, isolated reefs of Indonesia's Spice Islands to the lively marine and land environments in The Philippines' Puerto Galera. It also features helpful listings of where to stay, eat and drink and who to dive with.
34% off at
Available from
The Rough Guide to the Philippines
by David Dalton, Paperback, Rough Guides, 565 pages, 2007
30% off at
Available from

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