Three hours away from Manila is the coastal town of Mabini in Batangas, home to the “so-called” birthplace of scuba diving in the Philippines – Anilao. This town boasts of teeming marine biodiversity with the abundance of corals and dense underwater life, making it a must dive destination in the country.
Anilao may not have white sandy beaches but its underwater ecosystem is its biggest attraction. Numerous dive sites are scattered on its water and around the nearby islands. It is also close to Verde Passage, dubbed as the “Center of the Center of World’s Marine Shorefish Biodiversity”.
Its proximity to Metropolis makes it a great weekend dive destination or even a day tour. Anilao is truly a world class diving destination, a must visit place for divers and non-divers alike.
How to Get to Anilao
To get to Anilao from Manila via public transport:
- Catch a Batangas City bound bus in Buendia, Cubao or Alabang (Jam Liner, JAC, Alps, Tritran, etc), fare ranges from P140 to P160 and travel time is at least 1.5 hours during off-peak hours. Buses bound to Batangas City leave almost every hour, 24 hours a day. Avoid Batangas City via Lipa as travel time takes longer. Book your bus from Manila to Batangas here: BOOK YOUR BUS FROM MANILA TO BATANGAS
- Get off at Batangas City Bus Terminal and transfer to a Mabini bound jeep to take you to Anilao Port, fare is P40 per pax and travel time is around 45 minutes.
- At Anilao Port, catch a tricycle to your resort, fare starts at P60 per trike to P100 and travel time takes at least 10 minutes.
|Route/Mode of Transportation||Travel Time||Fare|
|Manila to Batangas City Grand Terminal (Batangas City bound bus)||1.5 to 3 hours||P157|
|Batangas City Grand Terminal to Anilao Port (Mabini/Anilao bound jeep)||45 minutes||P40|
|Anilao Port to Resort (tricycle)||~10 – 15 minutes||P60 – P100|
Where to Stay in Anilao
Since the discovery of Anilao as a premier dive site, numerous dive resorts have sprung up in the area catering primarily to scuba divers although non divers are also welcome. Most resorts have their own swimming pools used for scuba diving lessons but can be used for recreation of non-divers as well.
I have tried staying at Aqua Reef Venture, Pier Uno, Acacia Dive Resort and Vistamar and my experiences with them were all good. Planet Dive and Anilao Outrigger are also among the favorites, they are known for their cheap diving packages. Meanwhile for non-divers, Dive & Trek and Portulano Dive Resort are favorites.
Recommended/Highly Rated Accommodations in Anilao
Sea Spring Resort
Camp Netanya Resort & Spa
What to Do in Anilao and nearby
- Scuba Diving in more than 20 known dive sites, the number is still growing with the discoveries of more and more sites. Some of the popular dive sites include Koala, Ligpo Island, The Cathedral, Eagle Point, Arthur’s Rock or Dead Point, Twin Rocks, Mainit Point, Red Rock, Sombrero Island, Beatrice Rock, Bahura, Layag-Layag, Kirby’s Rock, Caban Cove, Darly Laut, Sepok Wall, Bethlehem, Mapating Rock, Merriel’s Rock, Devil’s Point, Red Palm, Bonito Island and Malajibomanoc Island among others. Day tour diving can cost for as low as P2500.00 for two dives with buffet meal. The cost can still go down to as low as P1,500 if you have gear, if you opt to bring your own meals, if there are enough number of divers in a boat to bring the share cost to its lowest or if you are doing a shore dive. Intro diving is as low as P1500.00.
- Snorkeling. For non divers, the shallow and low-current dive sites are great for snorkeling. The house reef of Dive and Trek is a marine sanctuary frequented by divers and snorkelers alike.
- Island and beach hopping in Sombrero Island, Masasa Beach, Oscar Beach and Sepoc Point all in Tingloy
- Water Sports, Scuba Diving Lessons, Free Diving
- Trek Mt. Gulugod Baboy
- Best time to go is from October to June.
- Mobile signal is available in the island.
- Electricity is available.
- Most establishments accept credit card.
- Avoid weekend if you are planning to go to Masasa Beach / Tingloy as it is usually crowded.
- Public boat from Anilao to Tingloy departs as early as 7AM to as late as 430PM during peak season.
- Return trip from Tingloy to Anilao starts as early as 6AM and as late as 230PMYou can do it as a day trip from Metro Manila or Southern Tagalog.