Apo Island – Diving with Turtles

A video of the turtles swimming in Apo Island. At time 00:25. the turtle moved his belly around against the corals. Maybe he felt itchy? I wished I could offer help to scratch his belly!

Apo Island is a small island located in Negros Oriental province of the Philippines. It is only three km around with hills in the middle of the island. I have read numerous diving reviews mentioning the island offers a world-class diving, an island that should not be missed for scuba diving holiday in the Philippines.

There were four accommodations on the island, but we decided to visit the island on the daily basis from Dumaguete (Dauin). The boat trip was organized by our dive resort in Dumaguete with the itinerary of three times scuba diving with lunch and snacks. It took 45 minutes to reach Apo Island by a local outrigger boat (with motor engines, not the canoe one). The boat was locally called as “banca.” It was a spacious boat with a roof, toilet and small kitchen. The only downside was the boat has open sides. Imagine what would happen to the passengers on the rainy and stormy day. And yup, we experienced a day trip showered with rains plus choppy waves as an addition. It was over soon but enough to get us super wet! But hey, we were going to be wet when scuba diving anyway.

Dive Site Map of Apo Island

Dive Site Map of Apo Island (Click for larger version)

We visited Apo Island three times thus; we made nine logged dives in Apo. There were more than nine dive sites around the island as mentioned on the map. We did not manage to dive all of the dive sites . However, we always saw turtles, yes, with “s” in each dive site! Maybe we kept seeing the same turtles over and over again as similar to them who kept seeing us again and again. One of them was not too happy when I got closer to him. I left him peacefully after noticing his angry eyes (see the second image, I think he was pissed off seeing me and my camera pointed at him).

Some dive sites had strong current thus, we did drift diving, it sort of being “transported” by the current. We were flying, oh sorry, I meant ‘floating’ following the current. Sometimes I did a quick click during the drifting; surprisingly some images turned quite well. The marine life in Apo Island was also varied and colorful with beautiful coral garden scattered around their dive sites. It was not a surprise that the island was considered as a world class diving!

Practical Information on diving in Apo Island

  • Additional cost applied for Apo Island diving excursion from Dumaguete. The cost depends on your dive center/ dive resort
  • Diving season is all year round with best period for visibility (less rain and no typhoon): March to May

126 replies

  1. Hi Indah – I’ve just found your blog. I’m a travel and fiction writer – and a keen scuba diver so I’ve been enjoying browsing your blog. I spent a month in the Visayas region of the Philippines. We did day trips from resorts and went on a dive safari. I thought the best diving was around Apo Island.

  2. Awesome pictures! I’ve been to the Philippines a couple of times when I was in the Navy. I’ve only been to Subic Bay. I did love it there. I would love to go back some day and explore more of the area.

    • Thank you! I have never been to Subic Bay but I am sure it must be awesome 😊 The Philippines is one of countries that I’d love to revisit as its ocean is so rich and diverse – full of surprises!