All About Apo Reef
Apo Reef, Philippines
All About Apo Reef Reviews
ALL ABOUT APO REEF May 28, 2009
SABLAYAN, OCCIDENTAL MINDORO - This is where two ocean currents (Pacific Ocean & China Sea) meet head on and move inland to a place called SABLAYAN “Convergence Point”.
APO REEF - also known as Apo Reef Natural Park ( ARNP), is 15 nautical miles west of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. It spans a total of 27,469 hectares, and includes 11,677 hectare protective buffer zone. It is not to be confused with Apo Island in Dumaguete. ARNP has several islands, the biggest of which is Apo island. The other islands are Apo Menor, Binanggaan Island, and the smallest isle, the Tinangkapaan Island. A coral reef of continuous breadth is second only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and this magnificent reef sits strategically at the heart of CORAL TRIANGLE.
Three (3) decades ago, Apo Reef was considered a premier diving destination. But because of spiteful fishing practices the reef loses its grandeur. Dynamite and cyanide fishing are used to be a common practice in the area. Which resulted to devastate the reef and the divers to move away. In 1999, the reef was declared off limits for fisherman and in 2007, the government closed the entire reef to any fishing activity. Unfortunately, there are still few who sneak out in the dark to harvest lobsters and sea cucumbers and other marine life. But with the exceptional efforts of the guardians of the place (Phil. Army, PNP’s, Rangers, LGU’s, DENR reps- stationed on the island) who runs after these culprits, these illegal activities where mitigated.
Apo Island is a tourist haven that can be circled by foot in a few hours. Near the campsite is the way leading to a picturesque trail, which leads to a thick mangrove forest on which at the end, has a raft made out of bamboo. Pulling yourself to reach the other end or intersect at the center of the lagoon towards the lighthouse. Reef sharks, sea turtles and rays reside in this murky water of the secret lagoon.
A short trek from the lagoon will set your foot at the base of the lighthouse. Not to mention that you will pass-by some ruins used to be a head quarter of Americans. With its contemporary design, one can marvel with its splendor. Apparently, I remember back in the days, the island resembles “CAMP BIG FALCON – Voltes V” from afar. You can climb the lighthouse to view the island in all its glory.
Communing with nature is one of its highlights of this place. Diving and raft snorkeling for non-divers is a must try. While holding on to a special bamboo raft the outrigger gently tugs “snorkelers” along to circle the island. With myriad of fish in exquisite, indescribable colors, illusive sharks, and the gentle sea turtles emerge from the dark blue depths as the sunlight penetrates the water giving a curtain like effect underwater. Amazed by an endless stretches of enormous corals, some are round and some are bigger than a compact car.
As the sun starts to settle down, stars from above fills the heaven like jewels glittering like a stunning sequenced gown. Away from the noise & smoke pollution, hustle and bustle of the city, one will surely be rejuvenated as the waves brushes thru the shore creates a magical sound, the cool wind that touches your skin and music produced by little creatures makes a perfect combination for alleviating stress.
An experience worth remembering, a place worth visiting over and over again, a place where you can define peace, and place that can be truly be called “PARADISE ON EARTH.”
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