Apr 23, 2017
Goodbye Apo Island
GPS waypoint: 09°04'40.08"N 123°16'09.19"E
Location : Apo Island, Dauin (municipality), Negros Oriental (province), Philippines
FAKP (Future Apo Kids Program)
My coming to Apo Island was to provide yoga classes to the 16 local students who were training for their dive certification (Advanced Diver, Emergency First Response, Freediver, Dive Master) through Mario Pascobello's FAKP (Future Apo Kids Program). The French non-profit dive group, the indefatigable Plongeurs du Monde provided dive training and certification. It was challenging for both trainors and students as the 2 weeks were full of everyday activities that usually started from sun-up. Everybody passed and earned their PADI certification. The climax was the graduation ceremony where people in high places came all the way to Apo Island to grace the momentous occassion. There were food and drinks and a whole lechon! The school girls gave a performance number and so did Karl Marx and his flairing group. The evening was a fun-filled validation of what the 16 students went through and achieved.
Everyone I met was fascinating. From Mario-Mila and their family, the staff, the Plongeurs du Monde and passing dive guests. Two people left an indelible impression on me though.
Saki was one of the dive guests - Japanese, beautiful, young and smart. I thought I would just have a passing conversation with her, but we found a lot of things in common. We became activity partners in scuba diving and free diving. We'd hang-out together, eat together or just take walks on the beach. I looked after her while freediving and she looked after me as my scuba diving buddy. We even talked about teaching each other - she teaches me Japanese and I teach her English. The horizon loomed promising. But at the end of Apo Island, she went back to Cebu while I was drawn to Dumaguete. I meet many people during my travels but synergy like that with Saki doesn't happen everyday.
Jean-Jacques or JJ was a member of Plongeurs du Monde and was my Freediving instructor. But he became more than that to me. I would default to join him in his table whenever I hang-out. He's the silent type...calm demeanor with carefully chosen words - wise words reflecting his values about life and the pursuit of happiness. His friends refer to him as Master Yoga - for good reason. With the prospect of coming back to the Philippines to teach diving, I look forward to working with him again.
My 2-week stay in Apo Island came to an end. It went by fast and it was intense - everyday yoga, everyday diving and everyday interacting with staff, the Plongeurs du Monde and dive guests. After the climactic celebration for the 16 students who passed their certification training, it was time to leave. It felt like a mini-life. Now I pack-up again and see where the wind takes me. Maybe I find myself straying into Dumaguete or perhaps go back to Cebu City. But upon arriving at the mainland, the decision has been made for me. For everything that was Apo Island, I am grateful.
Thank you Mario for making me a part of this glorious event.
»» next story: A Life of Suffering? I Disagree
»» next Traveling story: Valencia Revisited
Apo Island, Dauin, Philippines
Apo Island FYI / Tips
- Apo Island boasts of having the freshest fish on your plate - avail of it!
- even though a marine sanctuary, fishing is still allowed in Apo Island, providing livelihood to the locals - but controlled fishing
- electricity is only from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
- internet is painfully slow and intermittent when on
- public eating areas are hardly available except from resorts where guests are checked-in
- drinking water is still sourced from the mainland
Apo Island Cost Index(US$1 = Php 45.26 as of July 7, 2015)
- $44 medium boat ride from Malatapay to Apo Island up to 4 people, roundtrip (Php 2000/boat)
- $66 big boat ride from Malatapay to Apo Island up to 8 people, roundtrip (Php 3000/boat)
- $22 open water dives (average, Php1000/dive)
How to get there from Dumaguete:
- take a tricycle and ask to be dropped-off the jeep terminal going to Zamboanguita (the terminal is near Robinson's Plaza) - P8.
- at the terminal, board the next jeep for Zamboanguita. Just tell the driver to drop you off at the Malatapay Market. P20, 42 minutes.
- upon disembarking at Malatapay, walk towards the beach until you come upon the pier office. This is where you sign up for a boat ride. They're organized here with posted rates.
- get onboard the pumpboat and enjoy the boat ride. For 4 people, P2000 return. For 8 pax, P3000 return, 40 minutes. (rate as of Nov 2011)
Apo Island Blogs:
- Goodbye Apo Island Apr 23, 2017
- Freediving Certification Course in Apo Island with Jean-Jacques Gautier of Plongeurs du Monde Apr 11-22, 2017
- Scuba Diving in Apo Island Apr 13-23, 2017
- Teaching Yoga in Apo Island Apr 10-22, 2017
- Hiking in Apo Island Apr 17, 2017
- Revisiting Apo Island Apr 10, 2017
- Scuba Diving Apo Island with Mario's Scuba Diving and Homestay June 14-17, 2015
- Apo Island with Amanda Ackiss Aug 3-4, 2012
- Sunrise Dive, Apo Island Aug 21, 2011
- Free Diving at Mamsa Point, Apo Island Aug 20, 2011
- Open Water Diver Certification in Apo Island with Mario Pascobello May 15-19, 2011
- Back to Apo Island - Mar 26, 2011
- Apo Island with Bianca and Gianne - Oct 14, 2010
- Skin Diving at Apo Island - Apr 17-18, 2010
»» back to Traveling
»» back to Homepage
1970 | 1981 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | ALL BLOGS