Disclaimer: suuuuuuper late post! Serrreeh~
Last November 8-11, I finally had the chance to attend this year’s annual out of town convention hosted by the Philippine Association of Secretaries (PAS). The three-day convention was held at the City of Gentle People: Dumaguete!
We only had one day to actually explore Dumaguete as we spent a half-day travel on our first day then another one and a half day indoors during the whole convention. When we registered, we had two options for the tour: first is the city tour and second is the Apo Island tour. I was lucky enough because one of my colleagues is a fellow thrill-seeker so I also immediately decided to take the second option.
We began our third day in Dumaguete at around 7:00 AM. We first met our tour guides, Ate Lucy and Kuya Jake, and our other tour-mates from Unilab at the hotel lobby. We had a short briefing before setting off.
Basically, here are some of the reminders for the tour:
- Always travel in pairs (buddy system)
- Strictly no touching of any marine creature (most especially the sea turtles)
- Wear swimming/aqua shoes
- Some locals sell souvenirs as their source of living, so as much as possible, try not to haggle 🙂
It took us a 30- to 40-minute drive to reach the place (I think it’s in Malatapay) where we embarked the boat going to Apo Island. While waiting for the boat to arrive, Kuya Jake gave us our life vests and aqua shoes. Note: we paid Php 2,900 for the Apo Island tour inclusive of snorkel, aqua shoes, life vest, lunch, and entrance fee (if there’s any). Getting on the boat was already a challenge due to the strong waves, but we all still managed to board safe and dry.
It took us another 30- to 40- minutes to reach Apo Island. The first thing we did was settle our belongings at the resort before heading to the snorkeling area. We were hesitant to leave our belongings but our guide assured us that our things are safe as the locals have a deep sense of community that won’t allow reports of theft affect the tourism of the island.
We were divided into groups of four, but since our number was not balanced, my colleague and I were lucky to have one instructor for just the two of us. Hehe~
I already had this feeling to not wear shorts prior to this trip, and I should have followed my instincts. I didn’t really acquire any travel badge (scar) this time, but I had a minor scratch on my knee from some rough rocks/corals (not really sure) underwater. Oh well, charged to experience!
It was my second time to snorkel, and I find this waaaaayyy much better from my Bohol trip a couple of years ago. I have to thank the lovely sea turtles for that. ❤
We spent about an hour watching and swimming with the island’s superstars. We were tired, but were overwhelmed by the overall experience and wonders under the sea.
During our lunch break, Kuya Jake mentioned that we can go to the island’s peak for a short sight seeing of the top view of Mindanao Sea. The others were probably tired from snorkeling, so from about 15-20 participants, there were only 9 of us who joined the trek.
The trail was difficult (well, I find it difficult huhu) because of the steep, rocky and rough steps going upwards. And we were also wearing aqua shoes with thinner soles, which adds more to the challenge. RIP feet.
It took us about 20-30 minutes to reach the viewing deck. Nothing really much to see, but the view reminded me of that in Salagdoong (Siquijor).
After a brief picture taking, we headed back to the beach resort. We rested for a while then started our voyage back to the city. ❤
The half-day island tour was draining but I had to gather what energy I have left to take a quick shower and prepare takeoff for dinner (HAHA!). We met with our other colleagues and went to Lantaw where we spent our last dinner in Dumaguete.
To sum up my overall experience: this trip is definitely extra special for me as this is the first convention (related to my current job) that I have attended with my fellow AISAS members. I learned and realized a lot of things that I can apply to my everyday life in the office. Through this convention, I was also able to meet fellow secretaries around my age who share the same struggles and are going through the same experiences that I can relate to.
While the convention is really the main purpose of this trip, I was also able to take a short break from the stress that have been piling up for a couple of months now. I am really happy and thankful for this opportunity and I hope that I’ll be given the chance to attend again next year!