Attractions

Apo Reef Natural Park

Written by Patrick

The Philippines is known all over the world not only for having the best beaches but also for the impressive marine resources and marine parks such as the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) in the middle of Mindoro Strait, the strait being one of the ten defined locations of the Coral Triangle.

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OVERVIEW

Apo Reef Natural Park

Caption: Marine Life in Apo Reef Natural Park

Not to be confused with Apo Island in Negros Oriental, Apo Reef has been recognized as the largest contiguous coral reef system in the Philippines and the second largest in the world.  It is one of the most popular diving spots in the country given the quality of the flora and fauna inhabiting the area and the clarity of its water and white sand.  The 34-square kilometer area shelters 10 hectare undisturbed mangrove stands, various species of terrestrial flora, algae sea grasses, and seaweeds as well as several species of reef fishes, sharks, reptiles, sharks, and corals.  Common sightings include sea turtles, sea snakes, pods of dolphins, manta rays, white tip sharks, thresher sharks, barracuda, and Napoleon wrasse, and as well as an array of colorful corals that will surely make you gaze in awe. 

Apo Reef Natural Park was declared a Protected Area in 1996 and is in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Fast Facts

Attraction:
Apo Reef Natural Park
Type of Attraction:
Address:
Mindoro Strait, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro
Phone:
+63-043-458-9130
Hours:
Open 24 hours
Closed:
None
Best Time to Visit:
December to May
Food & Drink:
NO
FREE WiFi:
NO
Cost:
Cost per Person:  $11-15
Payment Type:
Cash
Fees:
P390 ($7.8 USD) – Entrance and environmental fees for locals (Non-diving)
P780 ($15.6 USD) – Entrance and environmental fees for foreigners (Non-diving)
P120 ($2.4 USD)- Entrance and environmental fees for Sablayenos (Non-diving)
P265 ($5.3 USD)- Tour guide
P2,380 ($47.6 USD)- Diving fee for locals
P2,940 ($58.8 USD)- Diving fee for foreigners
P265 ($5.3 USD)- Dive master
P3,456 ($69.12 USD)- Filming/videotaping fee
P6,912 ($138.24)- Filming for the production of movies and commercials
P1,500 ($30 USD)- Kiosk/bed room rental
Notes:
Arrange your tours via a travel agency as DIY tours are not allowed in the province. Expect for fees to be higher than listed above when tours are arranged by agencies.

Apo Island is uninhabited and there is no electricity and phone or internet reception on the island. Bring extra batteries and power banks for your gadgets.

Fresh water is not available on the island so make sure to bring a lot. There are also no stores so bringing food and other essentials is a must.

Bring insect repellent, reef-friendly sunscreen, and appropriate gear and equipment. Diving and snorkeling equipment are available in the mainland so rent before you sail to Apo Island if you do not own one.

MAP

This attraction is located near Apo Island in Mindoro.

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NEED TO KNOW

How to Get to Apo Reef Natural Park?

By Air from Manila

  1. Take a plane to San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. Cebu Pacific has two regular flights everyday from Manila to San Jose and vice versa.
  2. From the airport, proceed to the bus terminal via tricycle.
  3. From the terminal, take a bus to the town of Sablayan. Travel time is approximately 3 hours.
  4. Upon arrival in Sablayan, the tour agency you booked/arranged will facilitate your trip to Apo Island.

By Land and Ferry from Manila

  1. Take a bus to Batangas Port.
  2. Take a ferry to Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro.  Travel time is about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  3. From Abra de Ilog, you can either take a bus or van to Sablayan.  Travel time is about 3 hours.
  4. Upon arrival in Sablayan, the tour agency you booked/arranged will facilitate your trip to Apo Island.

By Sea and Land from Puerto Galera

  1. Take a ferry from Muelle Port or Balatero Port to Abra de Ilog.
  2. From Abra de Ilog, you can either take a bus or van to Sablayan.  Travel time is about 3 hours.
  3. Upon arrival in Sablayan, the tour agency you booked/arranged will facilitate your trip to Apo Island.

By Sea from Coron

  1. Take a ferry from Coron to San Jose.  Bunso Transport sails to San Jose every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00 AM.
  2. From San Jose, take a tricycle to the bus terminal.  From the terminal, take a bus to the town of Sablayan. Travel time is approximately 3 hours.
  3. Upon arrival in Sablayan, the tour agency you booked/arranged will facilitate your trip to Apo Island.

The airport closest to Apo Reef Natural Park

San Jose Airport (SJI) in Mindoro is the closest and most commonly used airport when traveling to Apo Reef Natural Park.  Francisco B. Reyes (USU) in Coron is also close.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this attraction to avoid crowds is early in the morning usually before 10:00 AM.

Closures

This attraction is always open. 

Fees

Fees require payment in cash.  Credit cards are not accepted at this attraction.

Food & Drink

Food and drinks are not available at this attraction.

Alcohol

Consuming alcohol is not allowed at this attraction.

Pets

Pets are not allowed at this attraction.

Smoking

Smoking is not allowed at this attraction.

Trash

Please dispose of your trash properly or take it with you.  Don’t Trash the Philippines!  

The Philippines are beautiful islands … let’s all ensure they remain this way. 

WHERE TO STAY

The following are hotels and resorts nearby:

TIPS & HACKS

The following are recommended items for this experience: 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

CamelPack

I always carry a Camelbak Hydration Pack with me when traveling. Not only does it allow me to pack all my daily gear and snacks, but it also has a 3-liter water bladder which holds enough water to get me through the entire day.

Bluetooth Speaker

Compact yet mighty, a bluetooth speaker setup is a breeze, and the sound quality it delivers for its size is nothing short of impressive. Beyond its audio prowess, it boasts exceptional durability, making it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures.

UV Shirt

UV Shirt is an essential when travelling in a tropical country. Providing reliable protection during long hours in the water, not only comfortable but also ensures a secure shield against the elements.

Snorkel Gear

For my island-hopping escapades, a snorkel gear set has become indispensable. Designed to enhance the joy of snorkeling and free diving, each piece ensures comfort and functionality. Together, they create an immersive and enjoyable underwater experience.

Adventure Camera

As a long-time enthusiast of GoPro cameras, I can attest to their user-friendly nature, excellent image stabilization, and impressive footage quality. Waterproof and rugged, the GoPro is my reliable companion for capturing adventures in any environment.

Aqua Shoes

When it comes to beach footwear, aqua shoes offer exceptional support, breathability, and overall comfort. Well-crafted and sturdy, it provides effective protection against rocky terrain, quick drying for added convenience, and easy maintenance. A must-have for any outdoor enthusiast.

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Photos

The following are some photos of this attraction.

Videos

The following is a video of this attraction.

NEARBY

The following are other points of interest nearby:

  • Malatongtong Falls
  • Sablayan Parola Park
  • Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park 
  • Calauit Island National Park
  • Coron Island

READ MORE: Mindoro Island Visitors Guide

Don’t Forget …

Have you ever visited this attraction?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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