Anilao is a diver's paradise in the Philippines. It is popular because of its very beautiful and enchanted diving sites. Anilao is good for an amateur or novice diver as well as experienced diver. The waters are teeming with marine life, plenty of corals and fishes. Anilao is not far from Manila... actually it is only 2 1/2 hours away which make it the closest weekend paradise for divers. It is located in the southeast tip of Batangas in a town called Mabini. Anilao is not for beach lovers because there are lots of rocks and corals.... no powdery sand beaches... but the ocean facing it promises a tantalizing life of sea creatures.
Due to Anilao's steep location, all most all of the resorts here are built along the hillsides of the mountains overlooking the sea. Steep roads, and vertical steps inside the resorts can bring health benefits for weight watchers but very dangerous for children.
I am not a diver... but I went to Anilao this weekend with Cinematiconcepts ( headed by lead photographer - Iggy Bilbao, underwater videographer - Rommel Diaz, Cha Pestano and I assistant photographers ). We were going there for a pre-nup photo shoot of a couple who are divers. The couple wanted to have some shots of them diving at Sombrero Island. I thought it was a good chance for me to see Anilao... I have not been there and with the hope of getting some good shots of sunrise and sunset in I quickly packed my camera and joined the group.
We left Manila after lunch but the traffic at the Southern Luzon Expressway ( SLEX ) was bad. It was a long weekend in Manila and a lot of people had the same idea of going out of town... As soon as we hit the Star tollway.... it was a lot better... We arrived at Anilao 3 hours later.
After checking in at Balai Resort --- we all walked around to do some ocular inspection of the place.. I took my position at the balcony of the resort.... aimed my camera towards sombrero island... and waited for sunset.
I wasn't too happy with my sunset shots ...... but I was able to get these shots instead that evening...
Woke up very early to get a sunrise shot... but it was overcast... therefore no sunrise again!!
We met the couple at another resort, and we were on our way to Sombrero Island aboard a small motorized boat.
The name of the island is derived from its appearance during low tide. It looks like a hat ( or sombrero in Tagalog ). It is a good dive for coral lovers. It is a 15 - 20 minute ride by motorized banca from Anilao. This small island is well known to all the divers and fishermen alike... The sand is white but it had a lot of small corals.... it was hard to walk barefoot...
I found out from our boat man, the Sombrero Island is a private island and you have to pay a small fee ( the east side of the island ) which is 200PHP per person...and if you decide to rent their huts ( I saw only 2 huts )... you have to pay another fee of 700PHP per person.
Our first stop was the east side of the island.... then... we went to the west side where all the divers go.. The boat man told me that on the western side of the island---and there is no entrance fee!! Here you will find a spectacular coral reef garden below.... but the current is strong.
After our photo shoot... we headed back to Anilao , had lunch and went back to Manila. What a day!!!