Travel Footprints

Apo reef: beyond amazing coral reefs and a hello from down under

Apo reef is the largest atoll-like reef in Asia and second largest in the world next to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

I watched so many videos on YouTube about Apo Reef to prepare myself for this trip. I kept blabbering about the trip to my Dad who told me not to go because my skin hasn’t recovered from all the beach trips I took in the past few weeks, but this is me, disobeying my parents is my favorite hobby.

I grabbed my favorite bag pack and prepared for the trip. I do not want to over pack this time, I’ve carefully chosen the items that I will bring and somehow I still fucked up. I even forgot my mask and snorkel.

Many firsts had happened in this trip and I’m glad it happened here and share it with a bunch of cool kids.

Here are the firsts:

1. RORO ride

It’s almost two or three in the morning when we reached Batangas Port, we got off the van to stretch our legs and to get something to eat. I’ve been to Batangas before, but not in the part where the vehicles fall in line and wait to board the ship.

My Dad told me that when you ride Roro you will sit beside vegetables and farm animals that they are trying to transport and it kinda made me feel uneasy so I tried to avoid any trips that will require Roro. I tried it this time because I must learn to let go of the shits that holds me back, like being scared of the water dipper for example. It wasn’t anything like what my Dad told me.

The seats were almost full when we got in. Passengers were either lying down the seats or their bags, leaving a few available space for us to sit on. It was hot inside and they won’t turn on the aircon unless it’s full of people. We decided to stay up the deck where it’s windy.

12512232_10204596572189226_7653230866811419705_n(L-R: Mar, Rhea, Norbie, Me at the top deck of RORO, no there’s no vegetables)

2. Camp for two nights

I’ve tried camping before, but only for a night and to be honest, camping for two days was quite a struggle for myself. Sleeping in a tent is fun, but if I had to sleep on it again the following day, my back started protesting!

On our first night, Norbie, Brian and I went near the beach shore to get some air and laid down the sand and watched the amazing stars above us!

On our second night, we had Tequila, tiktik stories and 90s music underneath the same amazing sky!

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3. See sharks and turtles in the wild

I’ve seen sharks and turtles in the movies and oceanarium and I never thought that I would be able to see them in the wild let alone swim above it! The turtles are kind of hard to spot on as they move fast in the water. Sharks on the other hand swims slowly. Although it was probably a hundred feet below us swimming, I was screaming internally because WHY THE FUCK NOT!!! IT’S A SHARK! IT WON’T CARE IF I’M AN ONLY CHILD! IT WILL FUCK ME UP IF HE DECIDED TO BE A DOUCHEBAG THAT DAY.

Sorry, I don’t have a photo of the shark but you can see it from this Apo Reef Video I created

4. Almost 200 meters swim

On our last day, we were headed to a sand bar / coral bar where we are supposedly staying for lunch. The water is kinda shallow and there were a lot of corals underneath so the boat had to stop somewhere far where it won’t hit the corals. We jumped off the boat and swam what I think is about 200 meters and it’s not easy when you are swimming against the current. It was a long swim, but became enjoyable because of the clear water, corals and colorful fish beneath.

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Here’s Norbie all proud he made it through the 200  meter swim!

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Dan, Norbie, Me and Bryan savoring our buwis buhay swim just to step on a coral bar!

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Me and Gee floating around because the corals can be really painful to step on!

5. Scuba diving

Scuba diving is an expensive recreational activity or at least that’s what I’ve heard, which is why I have never tried this before. But this was Apo Reef and my first time should be here because your first time should be special! The price is a little steep, but what the hell, P2800 sitting on your wallet won’t make a good story!

We went 12 meters or 39 ft. (Approximately) down below to have close interaction with corals, fishes, and everything underneath. My heart pounds harder as we go deeper. My throat gets drier as I breathe through the regulator. Prior to the trip, I’ve rehearsed amazing shots and poses that I would do once I’m down below so I could have a kick-ass underwater video, but the little girl in me was too strong, I lost it the moment I saw those soft corals swaying like how I saw them when watching Spongebob.

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In summary, I’m so captivated by everything that I didn’t bother taking more pictures or videos.

I will go back. I will definitely go back.

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