Anilao in Batangas is a popular dive destination, owing to its proximity to the Philippines’ capital, Metro Manila. But it’s not just its location that makes this town well-loved.
Anilao is bordered by the waters of the South China Sea, where the reefs are lush and teeming with varied marine life. You can get some of the best diving here. For non-divers, snorkelling is great at select areas. Locals and boatmen know exactly where it’s best to explore.
If you’ve got your eyes set on Anilao, make sure to book your reservations first, ideally a couple of days before your trip. This is especially true for weekends and extended holiday seasons, such as the Holy Week.
Anilao Wet Market
Before heading to your resort, stop by Anilao’s wet market. You can find fresh goods here, as well as a few family-owned eateries. Eateries display their available food. All you need to do is point at what you want. Many of these places already have barbecues even durig early morning. Try their pork humba. Order it with steamed rice and fried eggs to complete your breakfast set.
The first dive of the morning is the deepest dive so schedule a trip to Ligpo Island, first thing. Ligpo Island is a small rocky island that you can encircle with one dive. Cut the dives into two if the current’s strong.
Even at a shallow depth of 40 to 60 feet, you can already encounter a variety of corals and tropical fish. At 110 to 130 feet, and if you’re early enough, you may encounter the resident blacktip shark. There’s a small cave you can dive through at 60 feet.
Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort
Your resort accommodation includes a lunch buffet, and one of the best places to stay and eat at is Aiyanar Beach and Dive Resort. Aiyanar is a newcomer in the Anilao resort scene. It is also possibly the area’s ritziest, owing to the resort’s focus of hotel-standard amenities, service and food. This is why food here is superb. Dishes vary but expect them to always be the freshest pick.
When in Anilao, dive! Don’t let the afternoon sun get in the way. Head to Dive and Trek for superb diving and snorkelling. The resort has a house reef that is teeming with tropical fish and corals. Turtles are common.
Go down to 60 to 80 feet, as this is where it’s most vibrant. At about 100 feet, there’s a small cave and a cross. A trip here is good for two afternoon dives. One is to the deeper portion where the cave and the cross is, and the other is for a leisurely dive through the marine sanctuary.
Al Goto King Bulalo
Batangas is known for its bulalo (beef and bone marrow soup). Don’t leave Batangas without having had your fill of this rich meaty treat. The nearest bulalo stop in the vicinity of Anilao is Al Goto King Bulalo. The store is typical of a local roadside cafeteria. There are dishes on display and you can just point to choose which you want to eat. You order the bulalo separately and the staff prepares it at the back.
The perfect cap for a day of diving is a massage from Asian Massage. This is the only massage parlor in the area and you need to book a few hours before you intend to go. They have limited beds and attendants. Call or text their cellphone:0920 669 1938. Another option is to have an attendant go to your resort. Again, this is subject to availability so call ahead, Asian Massage is open 24/7.