Short version -
Apo Island is a fantastic place to visit - totally unlike other places I have been to in the Phils - and well worth staying overnight, if you are willing to make some adjustments.
Liberty lodge is definitely the better among the 4 places to stay in Apo island (cannot call them resorts or hotels by any stretch of imagination!).
For more details and photos, you can see the "Apo island" page on my travel blog - http://expattraveller.blogspot.com/ -
Long version -
Here are 8 reasons why I will always remember Liberty lodge and Apo island...Details on how to book etc. follow this list...
1) Turtles! We saw them every time we snorkelled, just off the beach adjacent to Liberty lodge
2) Lying down on the beach and counting stars (the generator goes off at 10 pm and it gets pitch dark!) ... read point 4 below if you are wondering why I was counting starts...
3) The food and people at Liberty lodge - the food was very tasty, mango shakes are lip smacking, so is the mango sandwich and fish dishes, the staff is very helpful and customer service is excellent
4) Sleepless nights - this was my one complaint- the nights get very stuffy as there is no electricity. And no - keeping my door open did not help! But I did count lots of sheep!
5) Lots of birds - twittering away and comign close to the lodge ... asian glossy starlings with red eyes, Olive backed sunbirds, Magpie robins... wow!
6) The treks, the trails - and the views that followed.
7) The views - The sight of the coral fringed seas from our room at Liberty themselves were absolutely stunning and worth the trip!
8) The peace - No TV, a big library, lots of time to read books, lots of time to ourselves - Apo is one of the few places that still retains it's village like charm, un-altered by tourists (who are not many)
I just emailed Liberty (see their website - ) and they promptly replied, confirming the booking. No advance payment needed. (I had emailed Apo island resort too, and they too replied immediately, but they did not have rooms. They have fewer rooms than Liberty)
Getting there -
We took a flight to Dumaguete, and had asked Liberty to arrange our transfer from the airport to their lodge. This is the best way to do it and not expensive.
from Dumaguete airport liberty picked us up in their van upto Zamboanguita (1 hour), thence by bangka (small outrigger boat) (1 hour).
Caution - the bangka is open on all sides, narrow, and while your luggage will be unaffected, you can be sure of getting completely wet due to waves within minutes! Dress accordingly. You have to wade through water to board the bangka. Best to remove shoes and wear slippers.
The rooms are modest, but clean. So is the CR. CR does not have running water or shower, but fresh water is filled daily in a huge tank.
Our room had a thin wooden floor (I could see the restaurant through the gaps!), bamboo walls (I could hear the neighbour waking up at night!) And a balcony with a stunning view of the sea.
The only problem I had was that there is no fan at night (no electricity from 10 pm to 9 am) - the room was very stuffy. If I go next time, I will carry a solar or battery powered fan with me!
in their restaurant is very good. It takes a little time to prepare, but no one is in a hurry in the island anyway, and you can just stroll down the beach and return if you are bored. There is fresh fish, meat, shakes (very tasty, available only when there is electricity), and surprisingly not expensive. Their mango daiquiri is tasty, and the views from the restaurant too are very good.
Past guests -
While there, do go through the guest comments register kept in the restaurant - it is like a travel book in itself - thoroughly entertaining, with comments by guests over the past five years!
I was glad I stayed back at Apo island at Liberty. If I return, I will stay here again.
- Also Known As:
- Liberty`s Community Hotel Apo Island