Apo is a group of coral reefs in the Philippines that is located in the Mindoro Strait. The whole zone is recognized as a nature reserve and is protected by the government.
The reef consists of two atolls divided by the strait. On its territory, there are colonies of soft and stony fan coral (400-500 species) and algae in numerous hollows, lagoons and bays. Hundreds of species of fish and invertebrates dwell in the local waters. There are large animals, such as sharks and rays.
It is one of the most popular places for wall diving. Sheer walls plunge down up to 900 meters, that is why it's necessary to be careful during a dive. In the north of the reef, there are strong currents, which make it possible to do extreme drift diving.
The Apo Reef is located 40 km from Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro. Mostly, it's a destination for diving safaris. You can get to Sablayan from San Jose by bus. And you can get to Sablayan from Manila by bus, by plane or by sea.
The best time to visit the Apo Reef is from December to May. There are three periods in a tropical climate. The rainy season lasts from June to November. During this season, there are periodic storms and visibility is decreased. The cool season (+25 °C) with rains is from December to February and the hot and dry summer (+38 °C) lasts from March to May. Depending on the season, the temperature of the water in the ocean varies from +25 to +29 °C. In some places the currents are very strong.
Shark Ridge dive site is located in the eastern part of the lagoon. It is a place where divers can swim surrounded by sharks and rays. A sandy bottom with dunes is used by sea predators for daytime sleep. Here they also hunt small representatives of marine fauna.
The North Wall starts at 25 meters and it is shot down vertically to a depth of 900 meters. Gorgonians and coral fans grow on it. Here you can come across hammerhead sharks or giant oceanic manta rays.