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Anilao Diving

Anilao is considered as the birthplace of Philippine scuba diving. The first dive resorts setup operation in the 1960’s and while various islands in the Philippines have also been known for scuba diving,  Anilao remains to be the most popular weekend dive destination for Metro Manila folks. It’s where most of us got initiated into the wonderful underwater world. And it only takes 1.5 hours drive south of Metro Manila via the SLEX-STAR (TR3) connection.

anemone fish

Finding Nemo in D&T

Dive Sites

Anilao is actually a barangay in Mabini, Batangas but scuba divers use the name to collectively refer to the municipalities of Mabini to Tingloy, which has all the dive sites. The area is so diverse that it has something for everyone, from beginner divers to advance and even technical divers.

Anilao has one of the highest concentrations of marine biodiversity in the planet and is designated as the “nudibranch capital of the world” by the folks at Underwater Photography Guide. The corals are extremely healthy, thanks to the efforts to preserve it by the earlier divers, and it’s truly a haven for underwater photographers whatever your interest may be.  Secret Bay, Twin Rocks, and Basura are some of the favorite sites of macro photographers while Beatrice has one of the most beautiful underwater scenes for wide-angle enthusiasts. Sharks and bigger pelagic are often spotted at Ligpo or Mainit Point where current is usually strongest. There are periodic sightings of pelagic drifters in one of the dive sites, whale shark, mantas, and most recently a mola-mola (sunfish)!

cuttlefish

reef squid during a night dive at Twin Rocks

 

Diving Season

One of the best things about living in the Philippines is that scuba diving is possible the whole year round! While July to September is considered as low season due to the monsoon rain in the region, this never really stopped us from going. The logic being why not? Are you afraid you’ll get wet? So we in Manila, rain or shine, we sport our sunglasses and head south on weekends!

 

Dive Resorts

Because of all these, there is absolutely no shortage of dive resorts in Anilao. On the top of my head, I can easily name 10 to 15 resorts for all types of budget.

Planet Dive

Planet Dive Deck

 

Dive Costs

A typical day trip for a group of 5-6 divers with their own gears will cost between 1,500-1,700 pesos ($30-35) per person. This includes 2 boat dives, dive master/guides, lunch at resort, and dive pass. If you go to resorts with awesome house reef such as Planet Dive, Diver’s Sanctuary, Dive and Trek, then you can eliminate boat which costs 3,000 pesos (to be shared) and spend <1,000 pesos for the day trip with unlimited shore entry dive. An overnight stay will cost about 2,000 pesos ($40) for twin sharing. Discovery scuba diving costs about 3,000 pesos inclusive of briefing, gears, and discovery dive.

 

Dive Certification

It goes without saying that getting certified in Anilao is very much accessible. Popular certifying agencies like PADI, SDI, and NAUI are there for your choosing.  It costs around $300 for lecture, books, cards, and 4-6 dives. Most if not all Manila based Dive Instructors conduct their check-out dives in Anilao.

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18 Responses to Anilao Diving

  1. Lrong 01/08/2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Hi from Japan… thank you for your post on Anilao… my missus and I are thinking of going there for a dive trip in August… we are looking for a dive resort with a good house reef and I think PD seems to fit in…

  2. Shayra 05/31/2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Hi wanderlass! I am going to Anilao with my boyfriend in june, 9 till 12, we have a low budget. I would like to know for how much I can get a couple room with fan and bathroom attached. Its hard to find guesthouses on the internet and the resorts are away to expensive. Please let me know, shacoser@gmail.com. THANKS =)

  3. Riena Lee 05/16/2012 at 11:49 pm #

    Hello there just wondering if you can suggest where to stay if we wnated to stay in a decent hotel and offers a great dive for 1 day.
    I just want to know which area and where we can find a good diving shop and nice staff.

    Thank youso much..

  4. Dick lalati 12/25/2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Reading some of the comments made me wonder if the Resort owners really understand the basics of quality business. Whether its dive, resort, restaurant, rental car or whatever, customers form the lifeblood of any business.

    Good blog and good response from wanderlass.

  5. Andrea 11/13/2011 at 9:28 am #

    Hi Wanderlass, i am a follower of your posts and travels, and I envy them a lot. I am commenting here because I am from Mabini working in QC and haven’t seen our marine biodiversity because i don’t dive. I’ve only been to the islands once last June to bring my friends from around the Philippines: Bisaya, Ilocano.

    I am sad about those experiences in the comments above. However, during my first and last visit we stayed at the Bontoc in Batangas Bed and Breakfast as recommended by my local friends, and I and my friends were not disappointed by the food, the accomodation, the manners or owner and staff and the choice of the boat bangkero. I am proud to recomment it to everyone, both Filipinos and foreigners. They also have contact scuba divers who stay with them too, when needed. I surely will be back there. BTW, i also accompanied my friends to Mt Gulugod Baboy, which can be reached by only 20-30 min through the Malimatoc I approach, unlike the Ligaya approach which is a 2-3 hr hike.

    Thanks wanderlass, and take care with your travels. I am following you wherever you go! At inggit na inggit ako sa’yo!

  6. Tess 05/08/2011 at 6:45 pm #

    This is just a comment for Planet Dive resort since this article is being used by people as reference on where to stay in Anilao. No offense meant to the author but since I used this blog myself to decide where to stay when I planned my trip to Anilao so I’m sure others are doing the same.

    We had a terrible time on our last day in Planet Dive resort (which was just a while ago I couldn’t wait to write about it – 8May11). WE WERE TREATED SO BADLY BY NONE OTHER THAN ONE OF THE RESORT OWNERS OF PLANET DIVE. In a nutshell, he would’ve wanted his guests to stand in the pouring rain rather than offer a shade in his house. Here are the details:

    There was a storm due to the Low Pressure Area and on our way out, we sought shelter to what we thought was the receiving area, but was actually the house of the owner. We never meant to trespass. Otherwise, if it were obviously a private house or room with personal belongings with bedroom furniture inside, we would have the decency to respect private space and would’ve went out immediately. On our first day we even went first to the owner’s building since one would really think it was the receiving area with its view deck and lounge chairs and besides, it’s the first building you see when you go inside the gate. It didn’t help that there were no resort staff or security above to point us to the right direction to the lobby. As many of you may know, Anilao resorts are perched on cliffs and the orientation is downward. So from the main road when you enter the gate, what you see is the parking lot, the building, a few houses on the side, then on the side are the steps going down to the resort proper (there are no directional signage to show you the way).

    So on our way out & up, we went inside the building (it was the closest enclosed place nearest to the main road) to seek shade from the pouring rain since it would be some 10 minutes before our tricycle driver can come pick us up when we heard a man from the resort downstairs shout from the top of his lungs, “Sino yung mga tao sa kwarto ko?!” (in English: Who are those people in my room?!” He sent his hotel staff and manager to us then we explained to them we were just seeking shelter from the pouring rain while we were waiting for the driver who was on his way and would be there in less than 10 mins. So the staff went down to the owner and explained but then they came up immediately and said we couldn’t stay coz their boss wouldn’t allow it. They never really gave us any options so I appealed to the manager and said “You know we are guests here are you saying we should wait outside in the rain? If there is a waiting shed, we will. But you don’t have any and this is the only safe place we see where we can wait. If you let us stand in the rain, we will never come back to this resort.” This was no drizzle by the way, it was a storm named “Pepeng” so you can just imagine how strong the rain and wind were. The manager took pity on us but knowing his boss still wouldn’t approve, he just took us to his room across instead where we can wait. It was a private room with a bed and everything. We were thankful nonetheless to the manager but to the owner??? I can’t believe someone like him could own a resort with those values. He was so disrespectful and selfish. It’s not like we were nosy or he should be alarmed of his personal security since he know were resort guests just trying to find a shade. The manager was apologetic and excused his boss’ behavior even saying he is like that since he is an artist and his ways are different. One shouldn’t use the excuse that he/she is an artist and justify why they treat people badly or differently. We are all artists by profession in our own fields of endeavor. Being a painter doesn’t make you more of a person/superior to others. Anyway, I would never come back to that resort. Diving and snorkeling is amazing in Anilao BUT THERE ARE TONS OF RESORTS THERE WHOSE OWNERS IM SURE WOULD BE KIND AND ACCOMODATING ENOUGH TO HELP THEIR GUESTS. I hope this review reaches the eyes of that owner (the “artist” one) and I hope he realizes how disrespectful he was. And learn from it. I hope this review too would enlighten tourists to take a different option. Again, there are other resorts in Anilao with better hospitality and service than Planet Dive. This resort has been a reflection of the owner’s values and being helpful to customers is definitely not one of them. By the way, since this is a review, they can do better with the food and beverages they serve. Php 1,360 for full-board meals was not worth the value of your money.

    • wanderlass 05/09/2011 at 1:07 am #

      Hey Tess, I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience. I frequent PD and thankfully have never had anything bad to say about the place or the service. However, I sent a message to one of the PD owner (probably not the same guy) and asked him to look at your message and respond if he wants to. Anyway, you’re right, there are bajillion of places to go to in Anilao, as also mentioned in my post, so there’s no reason to be in a place where u feel are not welcome. Better dive next time.

    • baby / IkebE 05/17/2011 at 9:06 pm #

      HI TESS!I DO NOT DO FACEBOOK NOR ANYTHING CONNECTED TO USING A COMPUTER BUT SINCE LILLIANE ASKED ME TO READ YOUR COMMENT, I FELT THAT I ALSO NEED TO TELL OUR STORY.

      ITS GOOD IT WAS THE FIRST AND LAST TIME THAT YOU WENT TO PLANET DIVE. BECAUSE FOR ME AND MY HUSBAND WE SPENT NOT LESS THAN HALF A A MILLION PESOS IN FOUR YEARS IN THAT RESORT. DIVING EVERY WEEKEND. EATING THE FOOD YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THAT YOU CANNOT EVEN SWALLOW BECAUSE YOU CANNOT DECIPHER WHERE THEIR RECIPE CAME FROM. HAVE ENCOUNTERED DISRESPECTFUL STAFF, OWNERS AND CO-OWNERS ALIKE ON DIFFERENT OCCASSIONS. ON OUR LAST DAY IN PLANET, MARCH 6,2011, ONE OF THE BOAT’S PROPELLER ( THE BOAT WAS APPROACHING THE SHORE TO DOCK)NEARLY HIT MY HEAD AT 5 FT OF WATER WHEN I WAS ABOUT TO SURFACE AFTER THE DIVE. WHEN I CONFRONTED THE BOATMAN AND HIS ASSISTANT THEY WERE BOTH ARROGANT AND DIDN’T APOLOGIZE. INSTEAD THEY WERE BOTH ANSWERING BACK IN AN ARROGANT MANNER. WHEN I TALKED TO THE OTHER CO- OWNER ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED HE JUST SAID SORRY ( GALING SA ILONG). TALKED TO HIS BANGKERO AND LATER ASKED HIS BANGKERO TO APOLOGIZE. BUT I DID NOT ACCEPT HIS APOLOGY BECAUSE HE WAS NOT SINCERE. SINCE I WAS REALLY ANGRY AND DID NOT STOP TALKING THE OTHER CO-OWNER PULLED HIS BANGKERO AWAY FROM ME AND SHOUTED “TAMA NA YAN”!MY GOODNESS! ANG BANGKERO NA MUNTIK NA MAKA-DISGRASYA INALO. ANG LOYAL CUSTOMER NA MUNTIK NA MAAKSIDENTE DI NA BINALIKAN.THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS OF APOLOGIZING AND I FELT THAT WHAT THE OTHER CO-OWNER WANTS TO TELL ME WAS “I NEED MY BANGKERO THAN I NEED YOU. YOU ARE JUST ONE OF THE DIVERS. YOU COME AND GO” IT GOES TO SHOW THAT THE ATTITUDE OF THE EMPLOYER IS ALWAYS REFLECTED ON THE ATTITUDE OF THE EMPLOYEES. KAYA BASTOS ANG MGA EMPLEYADO KASI YUN ANG UGALI NG MGA AMO NILA. YOU ARE RIGHT. HINDI LANG SILA ANG RESORT SA ANILAO. SIGURO PAG-AARI NILA ANG PLANET DIVE PERO HINDI NILA PAG-AARI ANG TWIN ROCKS.

  7. wanderlass 04/12/2011 at 1:58 pm #

    Addendum: It’s a reef squid not cuttlefish. :)

  8. james 03/28/2011 at 12:32 pm #

    love the cuttlefish shot. cute talaga ni nemo.
    inggit mode

  9. Camels & Chocolate 03/28/2011 at 11:02 am #

    That cuttlefish shot is AWESOME. My husband and I were most excited about seeing them while in Borneo and watched so many videos on youtube before we went, then he saw none and I only saw one, very briefly, when I swam away from the dive group for a bit! Guess we should go with you next time =)

    • wanderlass 03/28/2011 at 11:43 am #

      You should seriously think about it (come and dive w/ me)! In the Philippines, we have all the small stuff that makes a BIG difference! :-)

  10. thepinaysolobackpacker 03/28/2011 at 12:40 am #

    cool! was chcking the rates din sa LP but yours looks updated. :) planning to study this summer pagbalik ko, pero wala pa ako underwater cam eh:( na-inggit lng kase kame sa mga divers when we went to Apo reef! haha, saan po kaya ang store na meron madameng choices ng underwater cam including the transparent housing not sure how they call it,the one used for over 10ft. thnx for sharing Lil!

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