Friday, December 4, 2009

Apo Island Initial Sights and the Beach

My Negros Oriental Tour: Nice Views at Apo Island
There are just so many things named “Apo” in this archipelago. Who the heck or whatever “apo” is, he/it must have been very dear and popular to our forebears for they named so many things in the Philippines with that word. There is the big mountain, there are reefs (yes plural), there are streets, there are islands (plural too) and there is even a brand of cement! This Apo Island that I visited is one that is off the shores of Dauin and Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental. What is it to me? The Philippines in a nutshell. Really!

Meaning? Its lovely and not, its rich and not, it has the beauty, problems and issues of both the past and present! So let’s get to my story.

Initial sights
Though we’ll talk about it later in more detail, I can tell now that I was more than happy I stayed at Liberty Community Lodge than the more expensive Apo Island Beach Resort. Why? Because on a gloomy afternoon after the rain has just subsided with nothing much to do alone, at least there are the local residents to watch from your veranda at Liberty’s. There is none of that over at the other resort - you just have a view of the gloomy hazy sea that won’t even show the outline of Negros Island just across hehe!

Children were all over the place playing. And the games they play are those that we played years ago or those that children in the metropolis now seldom do or know. Like? Well, I myself couldn’t exactly remember the names but one I think was “patintero” – that game where there are rectangular lines and players tagging their opponents?! Yes, that’s the one! There was the “luksong tinik” where kids jump over the stretched hands of opponents. There too were toddlers who found fun climbing the boats and jumping off to the sand. Yes, the sand! Others made various parts of the outriggers as their “monkey bars” as they climbed onto the boats. And of course there was “chinese garter”. Hey amongst the girls playing were two “white” children. They stood out from the multitude of children due to their skin, hair color and height. But they shrieked and giggled in the same local dialect that their playmates did. Interesting cultural mix hehe!

Some of the bigger boys were at another docked boat singing to the accompaniment of two guitars – no they were not drinking. Just out there by the beach to enjoy strumming and singing. Some of the girls their age joined them while at least two would occasionally be doing what virtually every girl you see in this country does every available minute – txtng! I liked it that they have divided themselves into two groups and attempting to do two voices to the songs they were playing. Yeah, they’d occasionally stop and laugh or tease each other. Some men were tending to their boats while some other children were roaming the rocky areas looking for I don’t know what. Rocky area? Well yes, this place is not all sandy beach. There are rocks (the smooth surfaced boulders – even slippery with the moss) and they add to the appeal of this part of the island. No pictures? None. Lowbatt! Saved the 1 remaining bar of the battery for more important shots hehe!

After a brief rest absorbing the views from my veranda, I decided it was time to see Apo Island – at least part of it. Good that the rain was gone and people were out and about on what became a fine afternoon after the showers. Down the beach from my room was of course my first destination. It’s not something spectacular. Just a small beach with white sand where many of the fishermen’s boats and dive boats are parked. They occupy most of the sand in fact.

I went out for the rocky portions to take some shots. As just said above (at least for me) this portion adds to the appeal of the island. It is rather picturesque in so many angles. And I have seen pics of this place on the web. It is reminiscent of Caramoan and/or Marabut and/or Lagen. Passed through s little pathway circling one big boulder and voila, I was on the Apo Island Beach Resort vicinity. So it is just a wall of boulders that separates Liberty from this resort. I suddenly remembered many of my photography addict buddies everywhere. Many of them who like landscape shots would surely love this place. This was a gloomy day, yet the sun’s yellow flares still persisted to give some glow to the western sky – as if ensuring I see something spectacular. Well, it was not that awesome but a little imagination from my lowly brain made me see that this place must have beautiful sunsets. Though Bayawan’s will always still be greater am sure hehe!

After looking out the rock formations with some folks paddling or snorkeling about, I decided to go back near Liberty and walk to the other end of this stretch of beach. How nice, grrrr, my camera’s battery went dead. I continued on anyway. Hey, this is not Boracay, Bohol nor Bolinao where they try to keep the beach area clear – as a measure of cleanliness. But here, I like it that dead leaves, driftwood, seaweeds and other natural debris are scattered about by the wind and the waves. Well yes, occasionally I could see some plastic biscuit wrappers and plastic grocery bags. Still the atmosphere in this rather ragged beach (with the big smooth rocks, remember?) is rurality. Especially that what lines the beach are mostly the backs or sides of fishermen’s houses. Proof that this is not a beach resort island. Not yet anyway.

Oh, if you didn’t know that yet, Apo Island is a paradise mainly for divers and snorkelers. The surrounding coral areas are purportedly one of the best on earth. And I learned from Mr. Frenchman that there are deep drops that teems with a lot of marine life. So, if you are just another “son of a beach” like me, chances are, you’ll not really enjoy much of this island. But, there is a different character that made this place interesting to me. It’s the islanders’ way of life – better encapsulated with a description of their afternoon to evening routines.

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

1 comment :

  1. I like your pics on this island ! Beautiful ! !