Photos: Apo Island underwater

Sea turtles have always fascinated me, and their elusiveness in all our trips underwater made us want to see them even more. This is why we decided that, for this year’s first trip, we would have to just go and see them where they are known to be abundant.

Apo Island underwater |

Quite strangely, on our first day as we were strolling by the beach waiting for the sunset, we met this group of schoolboys who, to put it simply, called their island home boring.

Apo Island, 30 minutes by motorized banca from the southern tip of Negros Oriental in the Visayas, didn’t quite strike the fancy of these kids. It’s probably a natural tendency—to dismiss your hometown as nothing more than the most boring place on earth?

Short-lived or half-meant though their sentiments have been, we just could not feel the same, because what we saw underwater earlier that day was nowhere near boring. It was—for lack of a better term—spell-binding. Magical, if you would have it. It was out of this world.

READ: Our article on Swimming with sea turtles makes Apo Island a diving magnet

two2travel | apo island

The very first marine turtle I’ve ever swam with—a Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas). It is one of five species of marine turtles found in the Philippines. It is an endangered species too.


You have to try NOT to swim too fast. One kick and you’re probably going to end up like me, awfully close to the turtle that I had to back off a bit because I got scared. But turtles are gentle creatures. And most of them—at least those found in Philippine waters—are vegetarian.

TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

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TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

Smaller reef fish hitch a ride with bigger marine animals, such as turtles and sharks, and clean their bodies in return.

TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

Apo Island’s coral beds are just as amazing! Look at all that color! And these are all from snorkeling depths, mind you.

TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

Sea turtles surface for a few seconds to breathe.

TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

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TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

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TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

Months after, I am still at a loss for words about this experience. And I could not emphasize more how different it is to be seeing these fascinating creatures from up close rather than just staring at them from a computer screen (or from an aquarium, for that matter). And I’m actually writing this blog entry to encourage whoever’s reading this to go and see them, swim with them in the wild, while they are still there. It’s far more complicated than buying a ticket to an aquarium, sure, but why look at them from a glass—something they’d surely want to get out of if they can—when you can swim on the same waters as they do? As Jacques Cousteau—who made the word SCUBA possible—would say:

“No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.”

Read more about sea turtles here.

Here’s a really interesting infographic from WWF. Click on the photo for a larger version.





It’s an amazing experience I hope you’d get around to doing in the future. :)

TWO2TRAVEL | Apo Island | Underwater

Here’s to more underwater adventures!

Click on the shark’s pectoral fin for more underwater porn.

  • doi

    WOW!!! superb photos nikka and owen! spell-binding talaga! i sooo wanna go to Apo island na! :-D

    • Two2Travel

      Thanks Doi! And it’s really just the boat ride to the island you’re going to spend on + I think a minimal conservation fee. :) Go na!

  • Photoblogger

    AMAZING!!! AMAZING! AMAAAZINNNNNGGG!!! What did you use to shoot? Can’t wait to go there!! awesome shots! :D frame-worthy

    • Two2Travel

      Thanks Johnn! We used just a DSLR enclosed in a DicaPac. :) Not difficult to shoot considering mababaw lang sya so okay na okay ang ilaw.

  • Ryan Mach

    I can attest to Apo Island’s rich marine life after spending a day of snorkeling there last year. Too bad though I didn’t have an underwater camera to capture the beautiful underwater scene. Lovely photos!

    • Two2Travel

      Thanks for visiting, Ryan! We felt the same way when we went to Coron last year, corals were superb but we didn’t have underwater cam then. Always a reason to go back, I guess! :)

  • Lakbay Diva

    hay, inggit ako much. lumuluha ako while reading this post, serioso. :'( the pawikans are just soooo adorable with their taray expression. *sigh*

    • Two2Travel

      Deadma talaga sila kahit anong gawin namin. Pero sobrang amazing pa rin! Cebu-based ka diba? Lapit lang! :)

  • TagoFabic

    I am loving the photos!!! I wanna see the turtles too! :D Added your site in my reading list! :D

    • Two2Travel

      Thanks, TagoFabic! Nice adventures you got there too! Happy travels!

  • killerfillers

    Snorkeling depth pa lang sa lagay na to, pano pa kaya kapag sa dive site na. Ang ganda! Lalo na yung mga pawikan. Reminds me of our Apo Reef trip wherein we saw a mother pawikan laying eggs sa beach.

    • Two2Travel

      True. Isa ‘to sa pinakamagandang snorkeling sites na napuntahan namin, and to think you don’t even need to get on a boat to snorkel. Never been to Apo Reef, but hope we can go there soon. Sobrang ganda nga daw talaga :) ~nikka

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  • Cathy Fournier

    great photos! Are those just taken with the gopro?

    • two2travel

      Thanks Cathy. Most of them are from our DSLR. GoPro shots are the 2nd one and all the smaller ones.

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