The Apo Island Adventure

Tough waves will welcome you to Apo Island. We were a big group of 9 people, all first timers and all wanted to see the turtles. We were not disappointed because we got to see many of them up close!

Apo Island is a small volcanic island, almost an hour away from Dumaguete City. Apo means "grandchild", and I haven't asked why it was named like that (sorry!).

To get to Apo Island, you have to get to Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental. From Dumaguete City, catch a bus passing Malatapay Market where you will get off. Fare is 25 pesos. From the market, you have to walk for 5 mins to reach the shore. A boat will take you to the island; the small boat is 2000 pesos for 4 people while the bigger boat is 3000 pesos for 8 people, up to 10 persons capacity. Extra person is 250 each.

#groupie :)

We started our journey in the morning because travelers are permitted to stay only up to 4pm in the island, unless you opted to stay overnight at the resorts. Upon arrival in the island, we proceeded to the tourism office to pay for the entrance fee. We were then redirected to the snorkeling area where the locals would accommodate us.

After the small lecture and preparation, we headed to the waters. We were still near the shore and we could see the turtles!
This close!


We headed to the deeper waters and no, I didn't panic (at first). Unfortunately, there were no fishes because of the recent typhoon.
Vhen going down
Our guide went down too

Smile people!

Group pic! Can you guess?

We headed back to the shore because I was constantly nagging about the uncomfortable feeling I got (yep, I panicked). Fortunately, our food was prepared already by the residents of the place. Surprisingly, it was a delicious meal (we were surprised because hours before the meal, we saw the pity face of the live chicken that we ate for lunch).

After lunch, we checked out the lighthouse. It was really a bad idea to get up to the lighthouse because we (or rather I) thought we could just reach it with no sweat. It turned out to be a tiresome activity.
Overwhelming stairs
Horror movie?
Mountain area
Beauty from the top

We left the island at 3pm. It was really a great trip despite the exhaustion that we felt. It was a dream come true to swim with the turtles. Until next time, Apo Island!

CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon Series: Hello Camiguin (3/6)

We arrived at Camiguin Island early morning. The resort we contacted offered us tour services on the island so a driver was waiting for us. He then took us to our first destination which was far from the port.

And our first destination is.. (drum roll please) Sto. Nino Cold Spring. Although it was weird to swim in the cold spring during a cold morning, we still enjoyed it. We were the first customers of the day so it wasn't awkward to swim in our swimwear. And yes, the water was very cold.
This was the kids' pool, maybe?
This is where we had fun early morning
We bought accessories as pasalubong on our way out. There were many to choose from and they're cheaper.

We arrived at our next destination which was the Bura Soda Swimming Pool. We tasted the water if it really was a soda but to our disappointments, it was ordinary. There's also a flowing water near the pool where one could refill or drink water. We did not stayed there longer because we might lack time in visiting other places.
The calm waters of the pool
Our 2nd destination
This separates the pool, I don't know what this is for
Next destination was the Church Ruins. A natural calamity caused the church to fall years back. Currently, a small chapel was built there. We did not stay longer in this place too. And unfortunately, the battery of our camera got emptied.
The signboard that will welcome you to the place
Up next was the famous Sunken Cemetery. A natural calamity also caused the cemetery to fall. As years passed, the water level also increased and thus making the cemetery deeper. There were coral reefs in the cemetery, they say. They built the cross so the place will never be forgotten. 
Photo by Marianne Audrey: The sunken cemetery
Photo by Marianne Audrey: Jerson and I from afar
Photo by Marianne Audrey: Our photographer/boatman did this!
We did not go to the Station of the Cross because we did not have time. We were so hungry to walk on the pathway.

We ate lunch at a local carenderia in Mambajao. After lunch, we bought pastels in the famous Vjandep pastels in Mambajao.

We then went to Katibawasan Falls. The falls was in a mountainous area and there were no vehicles passing by. It was peaceful and very quiet. I was a bit scared because we were just the only ones in the area. And again, the water was very very cold, colder than the cold spring even though it was noon time.
Photo by Marianne Audrey: The falls behind the plants and trees
Photo by Marianne Audrey: The falls, full length!
After soaking in the falls, we went to buy souvenirs and pasalubong, again. We just passed by the store which I think was a popular store in the area selling goods known in Camiguin.

Our last destination was the Ardent Hot Spring. The pool was divided into different classes according to its hotness. Unfortunately, we weren't able to soak in the hottest pool because we were unable to locate it when we got there. We weren't able to take many photos in this place too but I would love to go back!
Photo by Marianne Audrey: The hot spring
Photo by Marianne Audrey: Trees surround the spring
Photo by Marianne Audrey: Warm pool
It was past 3pm so we have to hurriedly go to our accommodation. The name of the place was Tabada's Homestay, just near Paguia's Cottages and a lot more. We stayed at Tabada's because it was cheaper than the other hotels/pension houses in the area. You can also cook in the place.
Our dinner!
Our cook :D
We woke up at 2am the following day because we have to catch the earliest boat back to CDO. We left at 3am and still, the multicab we rented was the one who took us to the port.

CDO-Camiguin-Bukidnon Series: Getting to Camiguin (2/6)

This is a continuation of my blog post here.

We waited for a motorela bound to Agora Public Market from a convenience store near Limketkai Mall. Buses to Balingoan Port were located there.

Chaos was in the bus terminal when we arrived knowing we were gonna ride the bus. We didn't have a choice since one already brought our plastic bag to the seat of the bus (for reservations). Haha! The bus left immediately seeing lots of seats were already taken. The fare was cheaper than what we expected. And yes, we expected the travel time to Balingoan was 2 hours.

After 4 hours, we were still in the road. Then we noticed that there have been repairs made on the roads that's why it took us long before reaching our destination. What's worse was we didn't catch the last trip of the boat to Camiguin.

And we were left in Balingoan.
Photo of Marianne Audrey Bio: Left in Balingoan
Photo of Marianne Audrey Bio: Balingoan port at late afternoon
Photo of Marianne Audrey Bio: Passenger Terminal of Balingoan Port
A group of people were offering us to take their bangka for 300 pesos each person. The ferry to Camiguin was 170 pesos so taking the bangka would be expensive especially for us who were on a tight budget. We decided not to take the bangka and stayed at Balingoan overnight. We also contacted Richard who arrived in CDO in the afternoon, amidst the low network coverage to stay overnight in Balingoan with us since traveling the next day would not be a good idea and we might not enjoy our tour in Camiguin due to lack of time. Good thing Richard knew his way without our help. He safely arrived at Balingoan late night. 

The place we stayed for the night was just near the port. We could hear the siren of boats from our bedroom. The house was on the second floor of the building and the stairs were well, not so friendly. The back view of the house was incredible though.
Photo of Marianne Audrey Bio: Careful with the stairs!
Photo of Marianne Audrey Bio: View from the back of the house
We had dinner at a nearby barbeque station. There were loads of fresh fishes (newly caught!) so we ordered one. Surprisingly, the fish was juicy and delicious! Haha! Ah, how I wish I could taste one in Cebu!

Since the network coverage for Sun Cellular was low, they bought Globe sim cards. We were very excited to try out the new sim cards until the store owner advised us to manually change our network service to Smart in our cellphones. Alas, the network coverage for our Sun Cellular mobile phones got higher! Thanks to the concerned store owner!

8pm in Balingoan was like 11pm in Cebu City. The night was young yet the people were in their houses. We decided to stay at our room while waiting for Richard.

We woke up early the next morning to prepare for our trip to Camiguin. The boat left at 5am, the first trip. Huge waves were attacking the boat which was loaded with passengers, cars and even big truck. Luckily, we arrived at Camiguin safely.