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Monday, April 4, 2011

Mystical, Maniacal Reefer Madness at Apo Reef

One of the best things in going to a place like Apo Reef is it gives me the chance to remain on one place for an extended time and not worry bout hitting other places. Just relaxing under the sun like a convict with time in his hand but has a boundless freedom as far as the journey that brought us here, while humming along with Weezer's "Island in the Sun"

"When you're on a holiday, you can't find the words to say. All the things that come to you. And I wanna feel it too....No, No, we'll never feel bad anymore" (hip) (hip)....


So, we did just that. We camped for the night at Apo Reef slept our fatigued body after lunch and mesmerized our eyes like maniacal coming of age dudes about to see a cabaret show in a mystical and sometimes lurching presence of Apo Reef. They say, the best part of Apo Reef can be seen in the bottom of the surrounding coral reef formations. 

A fact that makes Apo Reef a haven for scuba divers. Being a non-scuba diver, I wasn't able to witness that spectacle underwater. But that never dampened my spirit as I've found a place so peaceful and inviting I just might have able to write a kick ass novel if I stayed there for a month. I'm pretty sure the madness will reign in the loneliness of the place but the creative burst will supplement it and make things pretty outstanding even vacant from the usual failures of being pressured in the big city.

The Apo Reef is manned by a dozen members of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Rangers. Being a maritime national park it is protected from all sorts of environment abuse. The trees and the mangrove forest remain untouched and unhinged from the abuse from the hands of stupid morons. A magical formation and existence of Earth's lifeforms converging in one place and more of that at the bottom.

Yachts and boats from far away resorts up to Coron, Palawan passes by Apo Reef for divers to explore the surrounding bottom of the sea. Some of them would stop over to camp for the night while others just hang out on their yacht in what they call as "live aboard".

In our case we were tent bound for two days. We cooked meals in between, lie around, sleep, talk. A lazy kind of life but nevertheless a welcome reprieve from the staggering, 'trying hard to be geniuses' in the corporate world where I came from.

A weekend at Apo Reef is like what my imaginary shrink ordered for me that day. By night time, the so called "Super-Moon" made its appearance, It was like an eye opened up in the sky though it never blinked, it made the supposed to be under a blanket of darkness island become illuminated by a neon like golden rays from the moon. It was fucking Mystical if you ask me.

I was so tired from the long commute from Manila the previous day which comprised of a three hour bus to Batangas Port, a 2 and a half ferry ride to Abra de Ilog another 2 hour bus ride to Sablayan, a 10 minute trike ride to the beach and lastly, a 2 hour boat ride to Apo Reef.

My mind was ecstatic but my body yelled for rest like a stoner afflicted with reefer madness. I had a wonderful rest and with the company of great friends Gael, Marcos and Darwin we woke up to a new day when the sun substituted the Super-Moon and with superman-like feeling of having a renewed energy we explored Apo Reef for one last time and went snorkeling at a nearby dive spot and saw a shipwreck about 20-30 feet below - shallow enough to be visible through our snorkeling gears. Somehow our envy of the scuba diver group diminished a bit. Just a bit though as we pledged to ourselves that we'll come back to Apo Reef with oxygen tanks and dive suits in tow.

Dive in Apo Reef - still unchecked, but it was still a great weekend spent away from home.

Related posts:

- Apo Reef: Mangrove Forest

- Apo Reef Lighthouse

- Super Moon at Apo Reef


Lilliane - wanderlass said...

I dream of diving Apo Reef. We were suppose to last year on our transition trip to Tubbataha, pero our boat broke! When we rebooked for Tubba, wala ng Apo Reef. :/

Pinay Travel Junkie said...

I miss camping! Sayang di kami nakasama :( Broke, boo.

darwin said...

One of the best trip ever, not because of the place but because of whole experience.

Best Travel Blog 2011 goes to Nomadic Experiences.


Markyramone said...

@Lilliane - sana makasama na ako sa dive trips ninyo nila Beth.. :)

@Gay - Sama ka next time...after a year pwede na si Baby Luna mg camping ren

Markyramone said...

@Darwin, the long trip going there (minus the boring 2 hour boat ride) was awesome...gumanda nung Apo Reef nung simikat yng araw...

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

grabe ang haba pala ng biyahe pero kung ganyan din ang view, mukha ngang worth the wait. i can just imagine how nice it is to camp out in such a beautiful beach. with the rangers in sight, i have to say it's really safe!

Grace said...

I so want to go to apo reef to dive but did not realize you could camp out there. Do you have to pay to pitch a tent?

Markyramone said...

@Jerik, worth the long trip plus the bus ride from Abra de Ilog passes by some scenic countryside.

@Grace, no, its free to camp in there. What a blast would it be to dive and camp there for the weekend :)

Chyng said...

madi-dive din natin yan balang araw.
Apo reef, humanda ka! may araw ka din. =)

2nd photo is gorgeous. it's dramatic!

Markyramone said...

@Chyng, tara dive tayo - pag ipunan ko na ren.

Ed said...

great shots marky! also love the reflection on the 2nd photo. reading your entries and the way you travel during bus rides make me appreciate travelling in those long hours. nareremind ako everytime i complain na minsan umaabot ng 8-9 hours yung byahe: "Si marky nga eh..." -- and then I look at the trip in another perspective to be thankful that I've travelled to that place.

Markyramone said...

@Ed, thanks but panalo yung long trip mo from Bangkok to Cambodia, hope to experience it soon.

tina said...

very nice shots! i like the 2nd pic! :)

pusang kalye said...

mukhang maraming taong nakatira sa reef no? at talagang ang mga tents.....exposed na exposed sa tabing dagat.hahahaha

Markyramone said...

Thanks Tina :)

Anton, mga a dozen Philippine Ranges stays on the island on rotating duties lasting 1-2 weeks each...other than them no one can live on the reef since its a protected natural maritime park.

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