Thursday, February 21, 2008

Neptune's World

the mangrove forest, the sea and the sky seen from Apo Reef Lighthouse

Apo Reef is the second largest contiguous coral reef in the world and
the largest one in the Philippines.[...] It has a shallow lagoon with a
depth of 2 meters to 10 meters surrounded by mangrove forest.
[...] Its diverse corals are approximately 34 of reef where
different species of fish, marine mammals and invertebrates thrive.

-taken from UNESCO's World Heritage Center site about Apo Reef

I love the sea --- especially at sunset as the waves roll towards the shore in a white foam, the water lapping at my feet as I watch them sink inch by inch into the sandy shore with every ebb of the sea. However, I don't even know how to swim (I start to get afraid when the water reaches my neck). Hence, I just have to content myself with aquariums, films and pictures to see Nemo's fascinating world. So, just imagine how excited I was when we went to Apo Reef. Why would we I be so thrilled to go there when I 'm afraid to have my head underwater? Well, that's it! In Apo Reef, it doesn't matter if you know how to tread the water or not (yes, it would have been a lot, lot better if you do) because the water is clear and rich in aquatic flora and fauna that you can even see a school of fish at waist-deep water :).

Plus, the boatman from Pandan Island was really nice (too bad I didn't catch his name because I felt a bit uncomfortable asking him. But I do remember his face:)) to have anchored the boat in an area where there are a lot of corals and you can see them without having to dive (the area is deep but nevertheless, with a clear sky and clear water, you can see various types of sea creatures). He was even kind enough to tell me to use the boat's short flight of stairs so I can go into the water without fear of drowning. So there I was, sitting on the bottom-most step of the stairs, watching the colorful corals and the school of fishes passing by and having a grand time :) Well, as much as I'd like to take photos, I don't have an underwater camera. All I can do is to commit to memory the breathtaking scenery.

How to go to Apo reef? Well, there are several ways. First, which I can guarantee to be really good (I speak from personal experience) is to go to Pandan Island. The resort there organizes boat/diving trips to Apo reef which is located roughly less than 2 hours from the island (plus, the resort itself and staff are nice. I'm not in the payroll, but we really did enjoy our stay there). There are also other boatmen willing to take you to the reef from Sablayan, Mindoro Occidental (this is actually the take-off point if you want to reach Pandan Island resort). I believe resorts in Puerto Galera and Palawan are also offering diving trips there.

Well, I hope we can go back there when I finally learn to swim :)


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