Swimming with the Pawikans in Apo Island

What’s up Dude? That’s me in the corner.

Apo Island is one of my “bucket list destinations” in the Philippines.  It’s one of the world’s best marine sanctuaries.  Boasting of such, it’s no wonder that divers and snorkeling enthusiasts all over the world go to the island on a regular basis.

boat ride to the island

How to get there? Book a flight to Dumaguete, and then take the bus passing through the port going to Apo Island.  Don’t worry, just tell the driver that you’re going to Apo Island and he’ll know where to drop you off.

Some people opt to stay overnight on the island.  However, a day trip, like what we did, should be enough.  Like all travel advices, just wake up early to maximize the daytime.



At the time that we visited, most of the sanctuaries were closed to the public because they were being restored.  We were only allowed to see the sea turtles, a.k.a. “pawikan” in Filipino.

I didn’t mind though, because I love sea turtles!

I actually enjoyed just watching them and swimming along with them.  There were a lot of them scattered along the sanctuary, even on the shores.  You have to be really really extra careful in walking; otherwise, you might step on them without knowing it.

The patterns on their shells are always different from each other.


Visitors are not allowed to go out by themselves into the sanctuaries.  There’s always a designated guide for every group.  In our case, he also took charge of our underwater camera so he can take photos of us.  I say, he’s really good at it – just look at the pictures here.



Some parts of the sanctuary can go really deep. That’s why having a guide is very important, especially if you’re not a good swimmer.  We were made to hold on to a lifesaver whenever we were in the deep areas. It also helps when the waves get strong.


how deep is that?
We also found Nemo!

That’s it for today’s post. Hope you had fun!







2 thoughts on “Swimming with the Pawikans in Apo Island

  1. fantastic photos! i traveled central visayas last sunner but missed out on dumaguete because of the ferry. but your post convinced me to try again next time.


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