If you use social media and you're a fan of travelling, you'll know that Philippines has some spectacular spots. It's an archipelago brimming with tropical forests, sandy beaches and some of crystal blue water to boot! Luckily enough I was able to drop into this East Asian paradise back in December 2018, but rather than zip around the country to try and tick everything off, I decided to head for Dumaguete on Negros Island and test out one the finest dive sites in the world, Apo Island.
Choosing a reliable dive centre can sometimes be tricky, but thanks to a bunch of recommendations and online reviews, my search was severely narrowed down to one place just outside Dumaguete - Liquid Dumaguete. 30 minutes out of town, this place is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle, not to mention it's got a lovely garden and spot right on the beach. FYI if you happen to be taking the bus from town, it should cost roughly 20 pesos and make sure you get off at Dauin (pronounced Dawin!) Market.
It had been a while since my last dive, so upon checking it I decided to book myself in for a refresher course. Given my rusty skills and the fact that I was about dive at a top dive spot, I didn't really fancy the idea of panicking underwater or forgetting something crucial! One of the dive instructors, Michelle, carried out our refresher, and after 45mins of skill-checking and prepping our kit we jumped into a truck which took us along the coast to our entry point where I was re-introduced to the world underneath the water.
On the day of our Apo Island dive we met the crew at 8 am to be briefed on the days adventures. Our first dive was to be at XXX, followed by XXX, and ending at XXX. Once the briefing was done, we grabbed our bits and headed for the shore to catch a dingy to the Dumaguete Dive boat. After an hour of sailing through the waves, we arrived at the infamous Apo with a fleet of other sail boats. Given the apparent number of people around the Island, I couldn't help but think we'd be seeing more divers than fish, but I couldn't have been more wrong!
Liquid Dumaguete's dive boat is crewed by a bunch of super lovely locals, so we were totally spoilt by the fact that we didn't even have to put together our kit. Once we'd anchored and thrown our kit on, we each ceremoniously jumped off the boat and into the water, eager to see what lied beneath. First impression, WOW. I was immediately taken back by the amount of vibrantly coloured coral. By no means am I an experienced diver, but I've never seen such an undamaged reef in all my life. The next 45 minutes felt like a psychedelic Pixar blockbuster, with colourful fish flying past me and wacky coral gently moving to the current. Incredible. What was more exciting was that we had two more dives left that would end up being equally as beautiful!
Although my trip to the Philippines was short, it definitely gave me a great insight into what the country has to offer and I'm seriously excited about the potential of a return journey. It's also pretty heartwarming to know that there are reefs and marine life out there like that of Apo Island. I'd almost lost faith in the existence of coral reefs, but this trip has totally changed that. A huge thank you to conservationists and places like Liquid Dumaguete for for the preservation and protection of places like this in the world. Also a massive shout out to the Liquid team for being such awesome hosts, until next time!