Sights Near Manila 2 - ANILAO DIVE RESORT

Anilao Travel Blog

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Anilao, Batangas is a very popular spot for diving and snorkeling. Anilao is one of the world-class diving spot in the Philippines. It is the closest weekend paradise for divers based in the city of Manila. The waters are teeming with marine life, plenty of corals and amazing diversity of fishes. It is hard to imagine that this beautiful place is just about 3 to 4 hours from Manila. The northwest shore of the Calumpang Peninsula, from Anilao to Bagalangit, is lined with plenty of good resorts that cater primarily to divers. From any of the resorts, you can rent a boat for island hopping or arrange for a dive tour and visit the superb diving spots, coves, and islands like the Sombrero and Maricaban islands.

Anilao is a favorite destination for weekend diving trips. This place is also ideal for excursions and family outings where the southern towns where resorts are situated within short boat rides to excellent dive sites. Here in Anilao, 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. Some of the most popular are Sombrero island, Bonito island and Maricaban. Sombrero island is a marine sanctuary preserved to protect aquatic animals. Another spectacular site is Mapating Rock- a drop off to about 130 ft. Sharks and pelagic fishes, Damselfish, groupers and blennes are common inhabitants of the area.

  How to get there  

Take a 2/12 hour trip from Manila to Anilao.

Take a bus from Pasay City going to Batangas. from Batangas, take a jeepney ride from P. Burgos St. to the little town of Mabini. From Mabini, take another jeepney ride to Anilao which takes about 20 mins.

  Famous Dive Sites in Anilao, Batangas Philippines  

Maricaban Island: This dive site has a depth of 6-37m and the current is from mild to strong. most of the dive sites in this region are actually found off Maricaban and Sombrero Islands, both a short boat trip away from Anilao. The major sites have been described seperately. There are a multitude of others and some that deserve a special mention in this section are Devil's Point, Kirby's Rock, Daryl Laut, Bethlehem and Caban Cove.

All the above sites offer a variety of challenges, including sandy slopes, drop-offs, caves and overhangs. Depending on visibility and currents, the opportunities for macro-photography are excellent.


Bonito Island: This dive site has a depth of 18-24m and the current can be strong. Situated off the east coast of Maricaban Island are two smaller ones worthy of mention - Bonito and Malajibomanoc (meaning chicken feather in Tagalog). They are both marine sanctuaries that have coral heads on sandy slopes from 6-24m. Currents can be strong.

When there's a current, shoals of jacks, snappers and fusiliers can be seen. In amongst the sandy areas, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, stingrays and moray eels can be found.

Malajibomaoc: has hot springs at 20m. Corals are abundant as are barrel sponges and crinoids. You can encounter parrotfish, groupers, batfish, trumpetfish, cornetfish, moray eels, anthras and pufferfish. Blacktip reef sharks frequent the area as well.

Ligpo Island: This dive site has 20-30m depth and the current can be strong. It's possible to get around this small island in one dive, but you may have to take shelter from currents. There is a cave on the east side and an undersea mount on the west side which gets deep.

On the eastern side, you can expect to encounter all the usual reef fish. When there is a current, various pelagic species appear from the depths on the western side. It is a good night time dive at neap tides with lots of moray eels, catfish and squid.

The Cathedral: This diving site is 20-30m depth and the current can be strong. This site is a Marine Park Sanctuary. New coral has been seeded and the site is now teeming with fish. It is the most popular site in The Philippines. It resembles a roofless cavern, consisting of two large sea mounts with a small cross planted at 15 meters. When there is current, you will be surrounded by feather stars and inflated soft corals everywhere. In addition, there are plenty of colourful sponges and nudibranches, hydroids, sea squirts, Feather Duster Worms and algae, with christmas-tree worms in the coral.

Fish looking for a quick feed include the smaller angelfish, butterflyfish, wrasse, triggerfish, Moorish Idols, damselfish, pufferfish and surgeonfish. You'll also encounter parrotfish and hawkfish, blue sea stars, sea cucumbers, barrel sponges and anemones with clownfish.

Koala: This dive site has 18-24m depth and the current is medium. This is a good site for novices with a gentle slope from 9-24m. There are some large boulders housing small reef fish, anemones with clownfish and soft coral.

Mainit Point: This dive site has 15-30 depth and the current can be very strong. In this site, rocks break the surface and boulders form miniature drop-offs from 5-30 meters. Marine life plentiful and varied. Corals are in good condition and Moorish idols, Porcupinefish, Pufferfish, Snappers, Powder-blue surgeonfish, jacks, scorpionfish, wrasses and many other types of fish can be seen.Whitetip reef sharks have been seen resting in a cave at 7meters. It may be necessary to take shelter behind boulders when photographing due to strong currents.

Beatrice Rock: This diving site has 14-27 m depth and the current can be strong. The site offers a series of short drop-offs with channels inbetween from 5-27m. It is densely populated with most reef fish including triggerfish, snappers, surgeonfish, jacks and anthias. If you're lucky, you may see turtles and Blue-ringed octopuses.

Layag-Layag: This dive site has 10-18m depth and the current is medium to fierce. This site features extensive coral formations on a steep, yet shallow slope. It has masses of marine life and often very good visibility. All the normal reef fish can be seen and when there is current, shoals of pelagic fish are not uncommon. The dive is best known for its very large Spanish Dancer nudibranches. Fierce currents make neap tides the best time for diving and snorkeling is good, but care should be taken with tide tables and slack water chosen.

Mapating Rock: This site has 20-40m depth and the current is very strong. This site is also known as sharks' reef, this submerged rock has a shallow area at 12m, ending in a series of drop-offs that descend to 40m. This is a site for experienced divers only as currents are extremely strong.
You will discover all varieties of fish, several pelagic species and occasionally Whitetip and Grey Reef sharks.

Other beautiful and enchanted dive sites in Anilao are Eagle Point, Arthur's Rock, Dead Palm, Twin Rocks, Red Rock, Bahura, Kirby's Rock, Caban Cove, Dari Laut, Sepok Wall, Bethlehem, Sombrero Island, Merriel's Rock, Devil's Point,Red Palm.


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photo by: planisphere