I have to take a deep breath with this one – I just don’t know where to start. Apo Reef is so much of a place, I can’t begin to describe it. Imagine this crystal clear water and sea view – all around you, no obstruction!  Somebody please wake me up!

Who said there’s no heaven on Earth? Oh boy, there sure is  – I found one when I found Apo Reef.  All six of us Karen, Tal, Jean, Rochelle and Crystall – we planned our trip to Apo Reef via Cebu Pacific. We opt to take the fastest route to the island:  Manila – San Jose – Sablayan – Apo Island.


Sablayan market, where we picked our foods for our 1 night stay in the island. Yes, it was a lot of hardwork and tons of stopovers but we made it!


It was a 12 hour trip to the island from Manila. The longest ride was on the boat going to the island from Sablayan – approx. 4 hours. But that didn’t seem to bother me – the island was so spectacular. It’s like nothing I have seen before!

Welcome to Apo Reef – one of the most preserved reefs in the Philippines situated on the western waters of Occidental Mindoro. The island relies on generator for electricity and there is no safe water to drink.  You can find a couple of military men in the island, paid by the government to watch over the island from illegal fishing.


Declared as a protected area, the city government only allowed a number of people to camp in the island – 20 maximum. To be accommodated, you need to call the Apo Reef DENR office and submit your information including flight arrival. You need to do this ahead of time.

We setup our camp and stayed a night at Apo Island. It is the largest island in the Apo Reef and has a lighthouse, white beach, lagoon, mangroves and karstic rock formations.



The lighthouse is something that you shouldn’t miss. It was actually the main reason of why I joined this trip – I read blogs about this island and the pictures of overlooking view from the lighthouse had left me speechless. I couldn’t believe that such place exists.


It wasn’t an easy climb to the top as the wind was blowing and I feel like I was holding a thousand pound camera. But we reached the peak and it was heaven. This was our view for 3 hours – I feel like I’m just an inch away from the sky, so magnificent!

What could be better than a selfie in this exact spot?



And the backside view of the lighthouse where we watched the sunset. You can see the lake in the photo.


We stayed until sundown and the view was out of this world! The night offered us a sight of countless sparkling stars like I have never seen before in my life. The sky was just so full of them and it felt like a fairy tale!


Our second day in the island was just as glorious as day one. We were greeted by the most beautiful sunrise ever!


With the fresh sea breeze and smell of coffee, I’m done! If not of the clean drinking water, I’m staying here!


Being the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the Philippines, it is not surprising to see a vast ecosystem of marine life in Apo Reef.


Under this boat are corals and fishes. I’m hoping to find Nemo and sea turtle at this very time.


A group photo please!

APo Reef team

And me!


I needed this picture so bad, I didn’t care about the sun eating up my skin.


And another one – what can I do, the happy kid inside me won’t just go! And oh, don’t forget to try the longest island to island zipline in Asia before you say bye-bye to Sablayan. It’s one of the coolest things to experience for 500PHP or $10.



Another dream unlocked. It took a while for me to switch back to reality after leaving Apo Reef. And did I just forget the underwater marine life? It’s another story. For now, all I can say is beautiful – the island and reef was beautiful, the locals were beautiful and the experience was priceless.


Here’s to share our breakdown of expenses – for a group of 6. Prepared by Karen’s angels.

apo reef it

Accommodation: Tent set up at Apo Reef Island

Days: 2D/1N

Transportation: Plane, van and boat

Expense: P5,480

Enjoyed most: The overlooking view from the lighthouse

Missed: The famous sea turtle of the island

Overall Impression: 10 Stars

Do you have questions about this trip? Did I miss something? Write them down in the comment box!


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