Anilao, Batangas: A Diver’s Paradise Closest to Manila
Anilao, which is located in the town of Mabini in Batangas Province, is famous worldwide for its more than 20 beautiful dive sites teeming with marine life, plenty of corals and amazing diversity of fishes. Around 3-4 hours travel by land from Manila, Anilao is the closest weekend paradise for divers based in the city. Accommodation is not a problem as the area has good resorts that cater primarily to divers. Here, you can easily rent a boat for island hopping or arrange for a dive tour from any of the resorts. Since beaches in Anilao is rocky throughout, you will rarely find a good beach spots for swimming. When in Anilao therefore, one must be reminded that the beauty of this place lies not above the water, but underwater.
[ PHOTO BY JVNUNAG via Flickrcc ]
You can choose from any 24 diving sites between the coast of Anilao and Maricaban Island. The most popular site is the Cathedral (average of 60 ft.), a roofless cavern with a blessed cross flanked by two large sea mounts. Another favorite among divers is the Sombrero island, which is a marine sanctuary preserved to protect aquatic animals. Another spectacular site is Mapating Rock- a drop off to about 130 ft. where you can encounter sharks and pelagic fishes, damsel fish, groupers and blennes. Below is a list of known dive sites in the Anilao, Batangas area:
- Bonito Island
- Ligpo Island
- The Cathedral
- Mainit Point
- Beatrice Rock
- Mapating Rock
- Eagle Point
- Arthur’s Rock
- Dead Palm
- Twin Rocks
- Red Rock
- Kirby’s Rock
- Caban Cove
- Dari Laut
- Sepok Wall
- Sombrero Island
- Merriel’s Rock
- Devil’s Point,
- Red Palm
TOP THINGS TO DO IN ANILAO
- Diving- is the main attraction of Anilao. Dubbed as a diver’s paradise, Anilao has very beautiful and enchanted diving sites that are good for both amateur and experienced divers.In fact, almost every resort here has diving facilities and offers an intro dive for non-certified divers who wish to experience diving. The intro rate is around $20 or so, which includes all the gear and the dive master who will guide you. This will be around 15 mins in about 5 meters deep waters.
- Snorkeling- For non-divers, snorkeling is the next best option to enjoy Anilao Beach. Near the shore are coral formations that give you a glimpse of an underwater world. So do not forget to bring your snorkeling gear though you can always rent one from the dive shops.
- Island hopping- From the resorts, you can rent a boat for island hopping and visit the diving spots, coves, and islands like the Sombrero, Tingloy and Maricaban islands. Sombrero Island is farther out from Anilao coastline. The waters surrounding the island is deeper, making it ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling.
- Engaging in Water Sports – For those who prefer to be on the water instead of under it, most resorts also have full range of aqua sport toys such as kayaks, pedal and banana boats that can be rented.
- Trek, Hike, Climb-Enjoy the beathtaking view of the Batangas Coastline from the top of Mt. Gulugod Baboy. Although the climb is not a walk in the park, Mt. Gulugod Baboy is classified as easy-to-climb mountain with a score of 2/9. At an average, the climb takes around an hour to summit. Just enough to burn some calories and stretch some muscles.
- Photography- If you are a photographer, there are plenty of photo opportunities in Anilao, both on and under water. Anilao dive sites are excellent for photography because of the good visibility.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Anilao can be reached by land from Manila. The average driving time is 2-4 hours depending on traffic conditions.
Via Public Transportation:
- To get there from Manila via public transport, catch a Batangas City bound bus in Buendia/Cubao (Jam Liner, Tritran, etc) and get off at the Diversion Road (before the flyover to Batangas Pier). Then catch a jeepney to Mabini that will take you to Anilao Port and from there hire a tricycle to bring you to your resort (P60-P100).Buses bound to Batangas City leave Buendia every hour, 24-hours a day, fare cost is P167.00. Total travel time from Manila is at two and a half hours during off peak hours and at three to four hours during day time and rush hours.
Via Private Vehicle:
- Take the South Super Highway (also known as SLEX or South Luzon Expressway) and pay your toll fee at Calamba Exit.
- After paying the toll fee, continue driving along SLEX until you see the new STAR TOLLWAY (approximately 6km/4mi). Upon entering Star Tollway, you will be asked to pay Php22.00. Continue driving from start to end of the tollway, which is around 40kms/24mi. The road will split into three in 200meters/.1mi. Take the one straight ahead that leads to Batangas Pier.
- Upon exiting Batangas Pier Exit, watch out for a Toyota car dealership on the left. Keep going straight until you see the flyover. Go under the flyover and turn right at the intersection.
- Drive straight on this road for about 4.5km/2.7mi until you see Jollibee (fast food restaurant). Turn right on the next intersection. Follow the road until it curves to the left.
- Keep driving on this road until you see Metrobank on the left, then Petron gas station on the right.
- Shortly after Petron gas station, you will cross a short bridge. Right after crossing the bridge, turn left towards the shipyards. You will pass AG&P and Keppel Shipyards.
- In about 8.8km/5.4mi, you will reach the circular Mabini shrine. Turn right at this point.
- Keep driving on this road which heads out to the Anilao pier.
- Turn left before the pier. At this point, you should start seeing resort signs along the way.
WHERE TO STAY IN ANILAO, BATANGAS
- Acacia Dive Resort
- Aguila Beach Resort
- Anilao Beach Club
- Aqua Tropical Sports Resort
- Arthur’s Place Dive Resort
- Bambu Villa
- Balai Anilao
- Bonito Island Resort
- Club Ocellaris
- Crystal Blue Resort
- Dive and Trek
- Eagle Point Resort
- El Pinoy Dive Inn
- Monte Carlo Beach Resort
- Outrigger Resort
- Pacifico Azul (Pacific Blue) Resort
- Philpan Resort
- Planet Dive
- Pier Uno
- Scuba Bro
- Solana Resort
- Sea Spring Resort
- Sun Beam Marine Sports
- Vivere Azure
SOME USEFUL TIPS:
- Bring light clothing such as your usual beach/swimming/snorkeling gears
- It is important to bring beach sandals as some stones and corals can be very sharp
- Toiletries and Medical Supplies such as first aid kit is important as the nearest hospital is around 20 kms. away
- Bring Camera along with a tripod and an underwater camera kit, if you have.
- Most resorts do not have a la carte in their menu so you have to pay buffet for all your meals.
MAP OF ANILAO, BATANGAS