Everyone loves a good underwater photo. Can you just imagine how many likes you’ll get from posting your selfie with a sea turtle in Apo Reef? Magnanimous. And what joy it is to see Nemo in the flesh and play make-believe mermaid for even a day? How lucky are we to exist in an archipelago surrounded by such lush aquatic life and bountiful marine ecosystems with majestic dive sites and abundant coral reefs?
Apo Reef: Your 6-step Checklist in Seeing the Largest Contiguous Coral Reef in the Country
Apo Reef holds the title of being the largest contiguous coral reef in the country, second to the famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Okay, now you’re listening. But, as it is majestic, pursuing it may also be an equally toilsome chore. Visiting Apo Reef is like a persistent lover pursuing a long courtship and finally getting that coveted kiss from his dame.
Social media and the internet has made it too easy to just dial a number, get your cards, and book trips in an instant. But, there’s more to a place than what is seen in your smiles and the backdrop of that ‘well-liked’ photograph. As tempting as it is to pack your bags and get on that wanderlust bandwagon, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re prepared to endure and experience the package that comes with getting that ultimate dream shot.
6. You have love and respect for the ocean and its creatures
Going to Apo Reef means you’ve got to have the hydrophilic hormone in your system. You’ve got to live and breathe the ocean and have utmost concern and respect for its creatures. Around 80% of the activities would involve swimming and snorkeling and there’s absolutely no point in going here if you don’t enjoy those. Expect to say hi to sea turtles, different fish, rays, and corals in Technicolor, where your Go Pro would be a worthy companion. It’s a haven for Freediving and Scuba Diving. Don’t come without any knowledge of basic snorkeling and diving etiquette. You’re just there to observe and not disturb. It’s a sanctuary and you gotta be worthy of visiting the place. Are you?
5. You are a fan of road trips and long drives
Don’t mind long car rides and that troublesome feeling of having a numb bum? Then you can definitely endure the 10-hour ride via land and sea to Apo Reef. It can only be reached via Sablayan port in Occidental Mindoro, which is already a 6-hour trip from Manila. Top that off with another 2-3 hours in a speedy boat and if you haven’t thrown up and aren’t cranky by the time you reach your destination goal then you’re good to go!
3. You ain’t Acrophobic
A towering 110-foot lighthouse has a view deck halfway through the top that offers a breath-taking 360-degree view of the crystal clear waters and the verdant mangrove forest, where you can enjoy a magnificent sunset and a glimpse of the Calamian group of islands. Your trip would not be complete without climbing atop this side-attraction in Apo Reef. I just wish you all the luck and guts to brave the narrow, steep, knee-shaking (but perfectly safe) stairway to the top. Do you have what it takes?
3. You’re a boy scout and resourcefulness is your middle name
No shower. No stove. No outlet. There isn’t even a sari-sari store where you can find last-minute and basic necessities. Have you seen the Revenant? It’s a bit like that minus the snow and the bears — Kidding, of course. If you feel that you can handle the outdoors and if you’re equipped with basic survival skills, then you shouldn’t have a problem. If you like roughing it and being spontaneous and carefree is your thing, then you’re good to go.
2. You have zero detachment issues
So you’re spending a night in a remote island in the middle of the South China Sea. You’re way out of reach from most civilizations. Double your fear with the fact that there’s no cellular service and ask yourself if you can survive that kind of disconnection at this day and age. Are you willing to leave everything behind?
1. You have an awesome trip facilitator
No. no. no. Save your research and budget planning efforts for another trip. Believe me, choosing to DIY over getting a trip facilitator for this kind of excursion would only be a pain in the bum. If you’ve read up on several sites then you’d know what I’m talking about. It’s perfectly doable but your best bet is to get the aid of a knowledgeable guide to help you maximize your time in Apo Reef.
Besides getting a comfortable ride (no transfers needed), they’re awesome cooks and great companions. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your sweet time! Coming from a long journey and a morning of activities would take its toll on you and you might be too exhausted to prepare food and set up. You owe it to yourself to make the most out of your time there with the help of these guys.
No need to sweat the small stuff when they’re around. Plus, they’re experts at taking Instagram-worthy photos — You got the viral photo covered! I guarantee that you’ll get hands on-assistance complemented with great company and good vibes! If you haven’t tried going on a trip with them, I suggest you contact them through their details below.
So if you’ve scored a perfect 6/6 in this checklist, I suggest that you go ahead and contact the Vagaboys to finally have the Apo Reef experience crossed off your travel and adventure bucket list!
Check out the video below for a glimpse of our 2-day adventure in paradise.
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