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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).Β 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


  1. omg, Indah, we just watched the video with my younger son, he’s a huge turtle fan… πŸ™‚ wow, we both enjoyed it so much, these are such beautiful creatures, and the way they move, it’s like they are flying πŸ™‚ amazing video, thanks for sharing β™₯

    • Hi Alexandra, so happy to hear this! The video is our favorite too πŸ™‚ It is impressive to see the turtles swimming by so close! Thank you so much for the compliment and say hi to your son ❀

  2. At the outset Indah, kudos to your wonderful exploration, this an isolated island and the way you have depicted it has to be a world class diving site. Nine location to be explored and three times a day, must have been very hectic, given that you have travel a hour to reach the place and get the things in place to make your diving well organized. You always manage to capture some very fascinating moments under water which we miss out doing up outside in a resort. I loved the way you had an engagement with the turtle and the way you have described it.
    Awesome work of courage and observations.

  3. Thank you for sharing Indah, every tiny creature looks like a jewel, so beautiful they are. Loved the video with the belly scratching turtle. May be something stuck to his belly?

  4. Sea Turtles rock – the first natural one I ever saw in nature (and only one come to think of it) was while snorkeling in Hawaii, and I was on this natural high the rest of the day because of how cool and free they looked. Great video…makes me want to jump right in.

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