The Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines is the biggest contiguous coral reef system in the country and is also the 2nd biggest one of its kind in the world.
Diving is a popular activity for tourists visiting the Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines and the best time to visit is during the dry season which starts off in November and lasts up to May or early June.
The Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines is situated within the western coast of Occidental Mindoro bordered by 3 different islands: the Apo Island, Apo Menor and Cayos del Bajo Tinangkapang.
It is approximately thirty-three kilometers off the western parts of the island of Occidental Mindoro.
There are two dive-off points for Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines: Sablayan Town and North Pandan Island. From Sablayan, you can take a boat ride going to the Apo Reel National Park.
The boat ride will take about three hours.
To reach North Pandan Island, you can also take off from Sablayan. You will need to travel by boat once again which will take about fifteen to twenty minutes. Ferry boats going to Pandan Island are available right in Sablayan.
What to See
You can find several schools of fishes deep within the marine park. Trevally, tuna, barracuda, hammerhead sharks, white-tip and black-tip sharks plus three different species of rays; specifically manta ray, eagle ray and sting ray, have been known to be spotted by divers visiting the reefs.
In addition to the beautiful fish life, you can also see some five hundred different species of coral invertebrates within the Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines.
The Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines, including the waters surrounding it, is part of the Apo Reef Natural Park Project. It was the late President Ferdinand Marcos who declared the area as a marine park back in the year 1980.
Three years after this declaration, the local government of Sablayan likewise made a declaration this time stating that the area is a “Tourism Zone and Marine Reserve.”
During the time of President Fidel Ramos, he once again made a new declaration stating that the entire area is a “protected natural park.” This declaration was made in the year 1996.
In 2007, any form of fishing was officially banned within the perimeters of the Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines.
Boats can be rented from Sablayan going to the Apo Reef National Park. Rental costs are approximately six thousand and five hundred pesos for thirty-six hours. For this reason, a good number of tourists invite other tourists to share the boat ride and split the cost.
If you are setting off from North Pandan Island, since the ride is so much shorter, boat rides are much more affordable. For a day trip to the Apo Reef National Park in Oriental Mindoro – Philippines, the cost is approximately forty-five US dollars or its equivalent exchange rate in peso.
There is an entry fee to the national park which is about one hundred and fifty pesos per person. Snorkeling mask sets are available at the Eco-Tourism Office for one hundred pesos while tents are rented out for one hundred and fifty pesos.