Anilao Diving in the Philippines

Anilao Diving in the Philippines

Anilao Diving in the Philippines is probably on every muck divers wish list to visit and for me, having visiting the Philippines for the first time, Anilao was the first place I went for some scuba diving. Anilao is also located in the south of Manila on the large island of Luzon, at the southern end of the Calumpang Peninisula facing Maribacan Island.

As this was my inaugural trip to the Philippines, I was quite excited due to the fact that the Philippines was one of the top diving spots in the world with many locations. Overall, my experience here was mainly as a tourist rather than a diver therefore, I was pretty much impressed with Anilao, Batangas and the many resorts located along the coastal road here. 

Anilao View
The coastal road in Anilao
Getting here is also via overland where a van or bus transport takes about 3-4 hours from Manila. For those who have motion sickness, you best take some pills or the motion-sickness patch before embarking on your journey as the roads here are small and winding. Several stops are made for the washroom while most of the time, I spent taking a nap.

Life in Anilao is very simple where there is not much modernization here. Resorts come in all types but mostly dive resorts which are either general types or homestays where they are located along the main coastal road here. There are even technical diving resorts for those who indulge in this advanced level of diving too. 

Diving in Anilao
Diving in Anilao, close to the beach
Diving in Anilao

For scuba divers, Anilao is highly recommended mainly for macro life as you can see some of the rare macro and nudibranch species here. Among them are the elusive Blue-Ringed Octopus, Mimic Octopus, Wonderpus, Hairy Frogfish, Seahorses and Ghost Pipefish. But of course, for general larger fishes, there are sharks, jacks and barracudas.

The best dive sites in no order are Twin Rocks, Mainit Muck (Secret Bay), Kirby's, Basura, and Bethlehem  which are rich environments for underwater photographers. As for me, I really enjoyed Secret Bay as when there is a good current, you can easily drift during your muck dive to spot some unusual macro life here. Dive sites are also about 10-15 minutes away unless you are doing muck dives by the shore.

Here are some random photos taken around Anilao during my trip here. Sorry about underwater photos as I do not have an underwater camera so all you will see are scenic landscape photos. 

Secret Bay, Anilao Philippines
Secret Bay, Anilao
Ting Loy Island
Boarding the dive boat - Ting Loy Island at the back
Batangas Beach Anilao
View of Batangas Beach
Dive boats at Anilao Philippines
Dive boats at Anilao
Red Oxycheq BCD
A red Oxycheq BCD
Apart from diving, there is generally not much to do around here but just bond and hang out with your group. There are several local restaurants and bars in the vicinity which you can explore too. However, it is highly recommended that you get what you need from Manila before you head out here as there are no malls, pharmacies or other common stores. Food in Anilao can be tricky for Muslim divers as when I was there, I did not notice any halal food. But I am sure there are meals that are pork-free which can be arranged by the resort or home stay. 

As for equipment, most of our group had brought their own dive equipment and me, I usually travel with my Oxycheq BCD, Suunto D6i Dive computer, Aqua Lung regulator, wetsuit and fins therefore I did not have to rent any dive equipment. Some of my diving friends were pretty fashionable as you can see in the photo above of a Red Oxycheq BCD complete with Red Miflex Hoses which can be bought from Explorer Lifestyle, an online dive store in Malaysia. 

This trip was also organised by a good diving buddy and old friend Mohan from Scubaholics Anonymous who is also an underwater photography teacher where some of his students were there to finish their course. I have avoided getting into underwater photography simply because of the price factor however, when given the chance, I would explore with friends equipment. Again, my passion for photography still remains on land so who knows, one day I may take it underwater.

Mimic Octopus
Mimic Octopus - File photo
Best time to dive in Anilao
  • If you are seriously planning a diving trip to Anilao, diving season is from October to May. 
  • Best month to dive in Anilao is November and April. 
  • Monsoon season in Anilao is from July-August and it can be rough and rainy. 
  • Water temperatures are around 25C/77F. 
  • Peak Season in Anilao is usually in April-May. 
  • Visibility in Anilao is around 10-18 meters. 
  • Drive time from Manila to Anilao is 3-4 hours. 

Overall, if you love small things while diving, this is your mecca. Many divers have been recommending Anilao as one of the must-dive spots for macro. So, I have been here and seen it and I openly state that this place is indeed a wonderful place to dive. If you are interested an Anilao diving trip, you can always contact me here as I can lead you to the right people that organise dive trips to Anilao, Philippines. 

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