Dumaguete Adventure Series: Sea Turtles in Apo Island

Our family just came back from a 4-day vacation in Dumaguete with friends. Prior to the trip, I was honestly not very expectant. I was excited to spend time with our friends and just relax with them. But this trip turned out to be all that plus so much more.
On our first day, we checked-in the Pura Vida Beach & Dive Resort in Dauin and headed out to sea immediately after lunch. Our first destination was Apo Island.
Apo Island is a volcanic island covering 12 hectares in land area, 7 kilometers off the southeastern tip of Negros Island and 30 kilometers south of the Negros Oriental capital of Dumaguete in the Philippines. The name "Apo" was derived from a Filipino word for "grandchild".
The marine habitat around the island is a marine reserve, protected by the National Integrated Protected Area Act (NIPA) and under the jurisdiction of the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). It has become a popular dive site and snorkeling destination with tourists. (Wikipedia)
We booked the trip through the resort's dive shop. The boat we took has its own toilet, which is very important when you're traveling with small children, they serve free-flowing tea and coffee and can fit all 30+ of us.
I cannot remember how long we sailed but we reached Apo Island sooner than we thought.  The sea was clear and the sky was blue. We had the perfect snorkeling and diving weather.
Thanks to our Tribord masks, which I will talk about in a separate post, my 8-year old son was able to snorkel for the first time. And his first snorkeling experience was nothing short of awesome. We saw around 4 to 5 huge sea turtles swimming with us! The largest was about 5 feet long. Imagine that! See the photo below from the Hello World to picture how big the turtle that we saw was.
photo from Hello World blog
We probably spent over 30 minutes just swimming and looking at all the sea turtles in their natural habitat. You can see them eating and going up for air once in a while. It was such an amazing experience for all of us.
I remember seeing sea turtles by the shore last year when we went to Hawaii (read about that here) and thinking how awesome it was that the Hawaiians were able to preserve these beautiful sea creatures.  I was in awe thinking that I am actually seeing them again in my own country! Hurray for the Philippines!
Giant sea turtle. Photo by Franc Gival
When you find yourself in Dumaguete, snorkeling in Apo Island is a must. Do not miss it, You will be glad you didn't.


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