12 Photos That Prove Anilao is One Of The Best Diving Destinations in the World

Open up. A goby photographed by DOT Photographer of the Year Regie Casia, 1st Place, Compact Class Fish Portrait
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Anilao: One of the Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the World

Mabini, Batangas — The Philippines is always included in the bucket list of many travelers because of the various sites to explore in the archipelago. The country has a lot of beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountains, mysterious caves, and other adventure activities. But, more than just seeing these sites, an activity that the Philippines isn’t as famous for YET is diving; despite having great diving spots. A diving spot here in the Philippines that should no longer be overlooked is Anilao, Batangas.

Action Camera / Smartphone photo by Ria Crucero
Action Camera / Smartphone photo by Ria Crucero
Seeing double. Coleman shrimp on a fire urchin in the waters of Anilao (Photo by Narumon Pimsinirath of Thailand, 2nd Place Compact Class Macro/SuperMacro)
Seeing double. Coleman shrimp on a fire urchin in the waters of Anilao (Photo by Narumon Pimsinirath of Thailand, 2nd Place Compact Class Macro/SuperMacro)

Anilao in Mabini, Batangas is a Marine Protected Sanctuary. Many consider it to be the place where the interest in scuba diving began here in the country, and because of its near location to the capital (about 2-3 hours), it has been a preferred destination by a lot of Filipino and foreign travelers who want to go diving.

Rose-colored view. A swirl of pink against the pitch black waters surrounds the coryphellina rubrolineata (Photo by Ronald Dalawampo of the Philippines, 3rd Place, Compact Class Nudibranch)
Rose-colored view. A swirl of pink against the pitch black waters surrounds the coryphellina rubrolineata (Photo by Ronald Dalawampo of the Philippines, 3rd Place, Compact Class Nudibranch)

A lot of experienced divers consider Anilao to be a great place when it comes to underwater macro photography. But more than just being a place perfect for photography, Anilao is the best spot for diving because of the following reasons:

  • There are more than 40 diving spots. Imagine how many dive spots you get to explore!
  • A lot of these diving sites have gentle currents, only a few have strong ones.
  • Depending on the season and tides, visibility ranges from 40 to 60 feet.
  • Additionally, cost wise, there are a lot of diving packages offered by hotels, resorts, and small establishments around Anilao which vary in cost.
  • Lastly, the marine diversity in Anilao is stunning and it is what makes divers come back to visit again and again.

Recently, an event has been held in Anilao which highlights macro underwater photography; the Anilao Underwater Shootout. This event is a yearly competition that has been organized, and also sponsored, by the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Philippines. DOT does this through the help of resort owners and dive operators and masters. Those who decide to join have the choice to stay and dive in any of the resort or operators. The most recent Anilao Underwater Shootout occurred last November 27 – December 1, 2018. It is the 6th time that the event has occurred. DOT aims to showcase the Philippines as a destination for diving through this event. What winning participants will receive are equipment, gears, and accessories that can be used for underwater photography and diving packages all worth USD40,000.

Scarlet number. A scorpion fish with glowing eyes hides in the shadows (Photo by Peri Paleracio, 1st Place, Open Class Fish Portrait)
Scarlet number. A scorpion fish with glowing eyes hides in the shadows (Photo by Peri Paleracio, 1st Place, Open Class Fish Portrait)
Open up. A goby photographed by DOT Photographer of the Year Regie Casia, 1st Place, Compact Class Fish Portrait
Open up. A goby photographed by DOT Photographer of the Year Regie Casia, 1st Place, Compact Class Fish Portrait
Compact Fish Portrait 2nd Place Lim Sudong from Korea
Compact Fish Portrait 2nd Place Lim Sudong from Korea
Compact Fish Portrait 3rd Place Dharma, Ajiex from Indonesia
Compact Fish Portrait 3rd Place Dharma, Ajiex from Indonesia

The underwater photo competition has two classes, the open class and the compact class. The open class is for participants that utilize any kind of camera and/or accessory. Photographers that are professionals or well-published ones are those included in this class. As for the compact class, this class will be for participants that use cameras which have camera lenses that are not interchangeable. This class also does not allow participants to use mirrorless, DSLR and the same kind of cameras.

No escape. A bobtail squid captures the shrimp with its tentacles in this photo by DOT Photographer of the Year Dennis Corpuz, 1st Place, Open Class Marine Behavior
No escape. A bobtail squid captures the shrimp with its tentacles in this photo by DOT Photographer of the Year Dennis Corpuz, 1st Place, Open Class Marine Behavior
Open Nudi 1st Place Bebot Esteban from the Philippines
Open Nudi 1st Place Bebot Esteban from the Philippines
Blackwater - Cai Songda from China in the Blackwater:Bonfire category
Blackwater – Cai Songda from China in the Blackwater:Bonfire category
Anilao Shootout by Marc Stephen De Leon
Anilao Shootout by Marc Stephen De Leon
Open Category Firsh Portrat 2nd Price PJ Aristorenas from the Philippines
Open Category Firsh Portrat 2nd Price PJ Aristorenas from the Philippines

This year’s panel of judges had some of the most respected names in underwater photography, namely, widely published French naturalist photographer and marine biologist Laurent Ballesta; award-winning Belgian underwater and wildlife photographer Ellen Cuylaerts; macro photography expert and 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Indra Swari; renowned Singapore-based underwater photographer William Tan; and Underwater360 founder and Asia Dive Expo’s official organizer John Thet.

To those interested to stay updated regarding the future events, check out their official website http://anilaoshootout.ph/.

How to get to Anilao

From Manila, take a bus bound for Batangas City (from Cubao, Buendia or Alabang terminals). From Batangas City, take a jeepney ride to the Anilao Pier in Majuben (terminus). Once in Mabini, you take a tricycle or Jeepney to your hotel/resort.

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