Sunday, September 26, 2010


Two nights and a day in this remote island of Dumaguete and I haven't had the chance of literally test the water. The previous day was all about hiking and trekking the Apo Island by land and so this particular morning, I plan on experiencing what Apo Island Marine Sanctuary was all about.

My cellphone was beeping at 5am as I had set the time late last night. I could see from the open jalousie that it was still pitch dark outside, reason enough to make the perfect excuse not to go out of bed. A few minutes later and the sky was changing hue. I got up and excitedly prepared a few items that I thought would be essential for this specific itinerary in mind. Goggles, snorkel spout, towel, camera, keys, flashlight ....... check! check! all systems go! Of course I had already slipped into my swimming attire, which I casually layered by wearing a shirt and shorts on top. After which I proceeded outside and headed towards the declared area for marine sanctuary.

It was about 5:30 when I started to walk my way up to the beach. The cool breeze and quaint stroll along the village houses as daybreak made it's way gave a simple yet pleasing experience. I passed the area where mangrove trees lined the pathway until I reached an opening towards the end. A red shack with a signage that wrote "Warden Guard House" was posted just below the galvanized corrugated roof. Beyond this was the vast deep blue ocean that seemed to have subsided. The ravenous tide from the day before has taken aback and shifted to ripples of delight.

To my surprise, the tide had already revealed what I was hoping to see. The lowly waves gently caressing on the seemingly carpet of corals, which I consider as the forest of the sea. The situation had changed it's course and now I am left to wonder what was I going to do next. For as I had prepared all that I needed, somehow the revelation had defeated it's purpose. I could neither go farther offshore as a barricade held it's ground between the sea and myself.

I took out my camera and decided to investigate what rare opportunity this has been. That abutting, fragile yet deadly spikes and mounds had risen from the sandy plains of the beach also provided a safe haven and sanctuary among minute crustaceans and creatures of the deep. Carefully, I skipped my way, avoiding jagged edges and new coral growth from beneath. And took snapshots of colorful and intricate jewels that counted about 24 species I think. With just a limited stretch that I was able to cover, the diversity that I encountered was proof enough of the uniqueness of this area alone. And to think that our country has 7,107 islands is like touching a grain of sand from beneath my feet.

About thirty minutes had gone and the sun brightly shone. Alas I bid my farewell to that forest of the sea. Though happy thoughts lingering through my mind, when will I ever see a place as beautiful as thee.


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