One of the heritage sites in the Philippines listed in the UNESCO list is the Tubbataha Reef making it the most popular marine sanctuary in the Philippines. However, do you know that a larger reef considered as the world’s second-largest coral system can also be found in the Philippines? Apo Reef Natural Park, which is 33 kilometers away from the shoreline of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, covers a total area of 157.92 square kilometers of marine biodiversity.
The natural park comprises the islands of Apo, Binanggaan and Tinangkapan. The largest is Apo Island which harbors mangroves and beach vegetations, whereas Binanggaan is rocky limestone-island with relatively little vegetation and Tinangkapan a coralline rock formation with no vegetation. (Source: http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5033/)
How to Get to Apo Reef Natural Park
Gateway to the natural park is Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro which is 9-10 hours away (by bus and ship) from Manila. Dimple Star Transport is the only bus line offering air-conditioned buses to Occidental Mindoro. It will then be transported via Roll-on-Roll-off system in Batangas Port to Abra De Ilog in Occidental Mindoro, fare is Php 800 one-way. For the boats going to the park, you can coordinate with the Sablayan Tourism Office.
DIMPLE STAR TRANSPORT
Sampaloc, Espana corner Antipolo St.
Tel No.: +63.02.985.1451
Schedule: 8:00 am, 5:00 pm, 8:00 pm
Ali Mall, Cubao
Tel No.: +63.02.5179677
Schedule: 5:00 am, 12:00 noon, 6:00 pm
Alabang, Transpart near Metropolis Mall
Tel Nos.: +63.02.664.7796 or +63.02.809.7796
Schedule: 6:00 am, 9:00 am, 1:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm
Tel No.: +63.02.407.4614
Schedule: 9:00 pm, 6:00 pm, 9:00 pm
Tel No.: +63.02.416.8956
Schedule: 6:00 am, 1:00 pm, 7:00 pm
Nearest airport to Sablayan is located in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro with airlines such as Philippine Airlines, Sea Air & Cebu Pacific having daily flights with approximately 45 minutes travel time. Sablayan is 2-3 hours land travel by jeep or bus from San Jose.
What to Do in Apo Reef Natural Park
- Snorkel and capture the amazing underwater view of the park.
- Beach bumming.
- Ascend and wait for the sunset/sunrise at the lighthouse.
- Ride the raft on the still-watered lagoon and see the mangroves.
- Stroll along the white sand beach.
- Sidetrip to the Sablayan Hanging Bridge.
- Back ride on a tricycle.
- Taste the “best shake in Sablayan” on a food house near Sablayan Tourism office.
- Better to hop on the last trip (9PM) bus bound to Mindoro so you’ll be arriving in Sablayan early in the morning.
- Food can be catered or brought in. Rate per meal is Php 200.
- No cell phone signal for all network, but radio communication is present.
- Solar powered electricity is only available in the evening.
- Be prepared for insects: sand mites and sea lice. For sand mites better to apply some insect repellant lotions, while for the sea lice, it is better to wear rush guard (during snorkeling) or bring a pouch of vinegar.
- If you’re not a professional swimmer, better to wear life vest for your safety.
- Don’t forget to apply sunblock.
- Coordinate with Sablayan Tourism weeks before your planned date of visiting the park.
- Bring underwater camera to capture the life underwater.
AMAZING SABLAYAN Ecotourism Office
Municipal Plaza, Brgy. Buenavista
Contact Nos.: 0999-732-7949/0927-308-9027