Apo Reef

13 04 2009

Jellyfish sting marks and sandfly bites all over the skin of my limbs are a small price to pay for the loveliness that is Sablayan. Getting there is half the fun: a short bus trip to Batangas Port followed by a three-hour ferry across the Verde Island Passage before disembarking in Abra de Ilog for a scenic (and often rough) 3-hour drive across the northern half of Occidental Mindoro. Sablayan is a pleasant, quiet town and is the jump off point to Pandan Island and Apo Reef. A bridge over the Sablayan River:

Apo Reef, Asia’s largest atoll-like reef, is three hours southeast of Sablayan town. It is breathtaking above and below water,. Wildlife spotted: diving sea turtles, crawling baby sea turtles, escaping mantas, soaring raptors and various other sea creatures. No sharks and dolphins however. At night, sandflies swarm and they bite on any exposed skin and they are probably one of the most horrible creatures to have ever existed in the universe. A shadow of a lighthouse falls on the island’s white beach and clear waters:

Pandan Island, 20 minutes from Sablayan, has nice, white sand beaches, good snorkeling and plenty of foreigners. Nice place to relax. Spotted wildlife: lionfish or parrotfish (couldn’t tell!), sting ray, clam and many many colorful fishes. Pandan Island beach:

Damage: less than 4k for 4 days. Super worth it.

Next stops for me: Polilio/Jomalig, Caramoan (again!) and Calaguas. Crossed fingers.