The week ended with a DIY trip over to Apo Island from Dauin. With no scheduled trips available due to a lack of tourists, we had to wait at the harbor to tag along with any other groups that had hired a private boat. It was looking unlikely until we managed to squeeze into a boat with a family of three, which turned the day around.
Apo Island is known as a turtle sanctuary and one of the best snorkeling and scuba spots in the Philippines. I was pretty tired from climbing Mount Talinis the day before so I decided to just enjoy the day and not to film any videos. We had a beautiful time snorkeling amongst the colorful coral. There were more than 30 turtles we saw during our time at Apo Island. Many were close to shore near the sanctuary but there were also lots out swimming alone in the deeper water. Apo Island definitely lived up to the expectations.
Our guide lived at the top of the island and took us on a scenic walk as we did a lap of Apo. It was an unwanted 200m of incline on the legs in the midday sun but provided some nice views and context of the island.
The next day, Pema headed off back to Bohol and I continued my bike-packing adventures by heading up into the Valencia region of Negros to explore some waterfalls. Our guide from Talinis, Jason, had me stay in his Nipa Hut. He built it by hand during the pandemic and it had amazing views down to the coast. That was a pretty sweet night sleeping out there in the forest.
I visited Casaroro Falls by myself and it was actually one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines. A single drop falls had perfect symmetry and was surrounded by lush forests and ferns. However, I tried to trek down the river and got caught in a fishing hook planted by locals to catch eels. Unable to get it out, I had to trek out with the hook in my arm and eventually went all the way down to Dumaguete to visit the emergency room. A couple of shots of anesthetic and a pair of bolt cutters later and the hook was out. It was far preferable to the sharp blade Jason’s mother had suggested.
The next day, Jason and I headed out on an adventure to Lubas Falls. This turned out to be a wild ride with a very overgrown trail. Slips, cuts, blood, scratches, and a muddy morning led us to the hidden, Lubas Falls. It was a beautiful spot and made all that much better due to the intense adventure required to reach out. It was a great two days with Jason exploring his home region.