Local Philippines: Apo Reef
Apo Reef is a series of coral reefs that stretches out 34 kilometers within the waters of Occidental Mindoro, Philippines
Found in the municipality of Sablayan in the province of Occidental Mindoro, this was proclaimed as protected area, along with its surrounding waters, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 868 dated September 6, 1996 to preserve its beauty and to serve as a tourist spot.
It is also worth noting that In 2006, the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources submitted the reef to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre for consideration as a World Heritage Site.)
Apo Reef Attractions
Apo reef is well known for its coral reef and famous diving spots. The shallow lagoon with a depth of 2-10 meters surrounded by a mangrove forests and diverse corals which serves as food and shelter for the aquatic life that harbor there. You’ll never be disappointed with the different kinds of marine species that you will see.
In terms of diving spots, Apo reef provides numerous of them that provide assortment and different attractions:
Apo Island – different kinds of corals can be seen here namely table corals, stag horns, brain corals, and among others. Because of this, exotic marine life species can be seen here especially when the currents are strong.
Shark Ridge – located at the eastern part of Apo Island, it’s name was derived because of many whitetip and blacktip sharks that can be spotted here.
Binangaan Drop Off – A drop-off site located at the southwest of Apo Island. Plenty of hard and soft corrals can be seen here. Tuna, snappers, humphead parrotfish, groupers were spotted in this site.
Hunters Rock – For advanced divers, the Hunter’s rock is located 20 km west of Apo reef. You will need an experienced guide will be needed as well. Not friendly for beginners, as the current is strong. Home of butterflyfish, snappers, sweetlips, sharks, and other predatory fish.
Merope Rock – Similar to Hunters Rock located at 20km west off the coast of Apo Reef where you will find big fishes like sharks and barracudas.
Best Times to Go
Mid-December until Mid-May are purported to be the best times to visit Apo Reef. Please note that one may experience occasional rain showers in December and January; long and sunny days belong in the months of March to May.
Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro (where Apo Reef is located) has beach resorts and lodges that tourists can stay in. Several scuba diving tours offer liveaboard packages (where divers live on the boat during their stay; this makes it much easier to go from one dive site to another) and some offer tent packages (tourists stay on the beach in tents), while some offer resort-tent lodging combos. Check with your travel agent to work out the best possible lodging for you and your group.
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