Saturday, April 15, 2017

Reunited Again in Apo Reef

Jeysi Rodriguez
After 2 years, I'm back again in Apo Reef, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. 
Last 2016, my only travel was in Balabac, Palawan. I was too busy then in our review center, I forgot my other passion in life and that is traveling.

Going back to this place brings a lot of memories. This time I was with new friends and only Red Chuca and I were the original members of the group who went back to this island.

The adventure awaits... 

Related blog: Apo Reef and Pandan Island, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro 

Apo Reef

How to get there

From Buendia, Pasay or Cubao, ride a bus (either Jam, DLTB or BSC Starex) en route to Batangas City Pier. Travel time from Buendia to Batangas City using the ACTEX route is more or less 2 hours. Alight at Batangas City Pier, then board the RoRo boat to Abra de Ilog. Montenegro Shipping Lines is servicing the route.  Fare is P270 and travel time is 3 hours. From Abra de Ilog Port, board either a van or bus to Sablayan Port. Travel time to the port is 2.5 - 3 hours or 124 kilometers (209 kilometers to San Jose). Fare using the van is P220. Alight at Sablayan Market and hire a tricycle ride to Sablayan Port. Fare using the trike is P10. Reaching Sablayan port, hire a boat going to Apo Reef. Rental of the boat is P8,000 -10,000. Travel time is 3 hours.

The fastest way to reach Sablayan is by air. Daily 45-minute flights are offered by Cebu Pacific in San Jose, Mindoro. Then, two to three hour land  travel by bus or van will take you to Sablayan.

Small chartered planes, upon prior arrangements, could land directly in Sablayan Airport or Mamburao Airport. Mamburao is a two-hour land trip to Sablayan.

Se planes can also land near Pandan Island, along the coastlines of Sablayan and in Apo Reef.

Tour-operated boats from Manila, Batangas, Palawan or Puerto Galera could also be pre-arranged. Coron, Palawan is just 3 hours away from Apo Reef. 

From Visayas, daily six-hour boat trips from Libertad, Antique to San Jose are available, followed by a two to three hour land trip to Sablayan.

Red Chuca
Upon arrival in Batangas City, I met Erwin Nuer whom I have not seen for nearly 2 years. We waited for Red's companions to arrive. Originally, we were set to depart 10 pm but due to heavy traffic, we departed 12 midnight.

We arrived in Abra de Ilog around 4 am and we boarded the van to Sablayan port. We arrived at the port past 7 am and took our breakfast. While the others were busy doing their respective tasks as delegated, Red and I went to the Tourism Office.

Day 1

Past 8 am, we departed from the port and went to Pandan Island.

Jeysi's photo
In Pandan Island, we explored the bay and found several Pawikans!

Before noon, we arrived in Apo Reef. Good thing we bought packed lunch and we did not bother to cook our lunch.

After taking lunch, we were given orientation about Apo Reef, more specifically the do's and don't's in Apo Reef. We listened attentively and learned new concepts about Apo Reef.

Thereafter, we pitched our tents and took a quick nap.

Past 3 pm, we went back to the sea and enjoyed our snorkeling adventure.

For nearly 2 hours, we were dragged by the boat and enjoyed what Apo Reef has to offer.

The Lighthouse

After our snorkeling adventure, we went back to our camp area. Our team was divided into two groups. Erwin's group went to the lighthouse. On the other hand, Red's group went to the Lagoon.

The Lagoon
They waited for the sunset to unfold.

Past 7 pm, we took our dinner.

After dinner, Nelson, Matt, Judy and I consumed the 2 bottles of Tequila. What happened after our drinking spree will always be remembered and should stay only in Apo Reef =)

Day 2 

Early morning the following day, we left early to do more of our snorkeling and free diving adventures.

After an hour, we arrived at the spot for our snorkeling adventure. There was a sandbar and everyone was free to do whatever he pleases.


There were two spots we explored. The first one was the actual reef (abyss) of Apo Reef.

The second spot was near the sandbar. I enjoyed the first spot. The reef gave me the creeps while I was being dragged by the boat.

Erwin Nuer in the middle
While the trip was short, the adventures were long and the memories will be eternal in our hearts. Thank you guys for another adventure! I hope to see you guys in the near future in another spot and with a different adventure.

Schedule of RoRo Boat from Batangas City to Abra de Ilog Port via Montenegro Lines
2:00 AM / 6:00 AM / 10:00 AM / 2:00 PM / 6:30 PM / 10:00 PM / 12 midnght

Schedule of RoRo Boat from Abra de Ilog Port to Batangas City via Montenegro Lines
(Ship leaves every four hours)
Contact number - (043)- 723-8294

Boat Rental

You have to bring your own food.

You can have your tent (P300) and snorkeling gears (P150) arranged with the boat rental.

The Team
Red Chuca
Erwin Nuer
Nelson Aclan
Mayrene Uy
Gureisu Mac Cabrera
Van Villena
Santos Matt
Van Lim
Jeysi Rodriguez
Christine Maruya
Judy-Ann Bautista
Aiza Uy
Chris Cabrera
Van Villena
Gabriel Paolo Reyes
Lei Cruz
Estrangherang Gala
Angel Mae Ramos
Jun Villegas

Things to know about Apo Reef
No signal of networks
No food available
No store/market
No electricity (but they have solar panels)
No rentals for tent, hammock, sleeping bag
No mineral or drinking water

They have toilets!


1 comment:

  1. I loved this reef so much, especially the Shark Ridge dive site ( I just can't wait to be back there, your photos bring back so many awesome memories!