%043 / Pop 28,680
Anilao, 30km west of Batangas on a small peninsula, is where the Philippines’ first scuba-diving operators started back in the 1960s. While it has since been overtaken by places such as Puerto Galera and Alona Beach (Bohol), it remains an extremely popular weekend destination for Manila-based divers.
The area empties out during the week, when resorts will be understaffed (so don’t expect high levels of customer service). If you’re not a diver, there’s not a whole lot to keep you entertained, although you can go snorkelling and the fine views and midweek solitude might appeal to some.
Anilao is the generic tourist name for the 13km peninsula that extends south from Anilao village (a barangay of Mabini). The dive resorts are strung out along the rocky western edge of the peninsula, linked by a winding sealed road.
Anilao is famed for its colourful corals and rich species diversity, which yield excellent macrophotography. There are good dive sites scattered around Balayan Bay and around the Sombrero and Maricaban Islands. Most resorts offer diving and some form of certification program; expect to pay around P900/1500 for one/two dives, plus equipment hire.
As well as dozens of dive resorts along the coast, there are resorts and hotels patronised by nondivers with decent accommodation and occasionally a pool.
Arthur’s Place Dive ResortRESORT$$
( GOOGLE MAP ; %0919 716 7973; www.arthursplacediveresort.com; d with fan/air-con P1500/2500, cottage P3800; aW)
One of the few dive-oriented places that approaches the budget category, Arthur’s has very liveable rooms with little patios around a grassy courtyard. To treat yourself, splash out on the family cottage directly on the waterfront. Dive packages start at P1775 in a group of four. It’s 9.5km south of the turn-off in Anilao village.
( GOOGLE MAP ; %0908 876 5262; www.divesolana.com; s/d/tr per person incl meals from P5250/4250/3917; Ws)
The refurbished Solana is a good choice for those seeking some R&R, with its swimming pool, swim-out pontoon and all-inclusive packages. All of the cottages are well appointed and ocean facing. As well as scuba diving, staff can arrange snorkelling, kayaking and island-hopping. It’s 10km south of the Anilao village turn-off.
Dive & TrekRESORT$$
( GOOGLE MAP ; %0910 936 4556, 02-851 8746; www.diveandtrek.com; r incl unlimited diving & meals per person from P5000, nondiver per person P4000; as)
Accessible only by boat, this is the place to really get away from it all. The unlimited diving and snorkelling on the house reef doesn’t hurt either; gear rental is an extra P1000. The simple but comfortable rooms are in a pair of hillside bamboo-and-nipa complexes. Call ahead for a free boat transfer from the Dazu by Dazi resort.
oLilom Resort & Gallery CafeRESORT$$$
( GOOGLE MAP ; http://lilomresort.wixsite.com/lilom-resort; r/cottage per person incl meals P3000/3500; aW)
Seafront Lilom is not a dive resort but a relaxing retreat and dining experience, with all meals and a sunset cocktail included in the rates. There are four rooms in the main house, and a couple of garden cottages, all neatly decorated with a rustic-chic vibe, but the best deal is the private cottage (Satcho’s) with a verandah facing the lovely garden.
There’s no phone: book ahead by email.
Mabini Tourist Office ( GOOGLE MAP ; %043-410 0607; h8am-5pm) On the pier in Anilao; can help with information and transport.
8Getting There & Away
To get to Anilao from Manila, take a bus to Batangas pier and get off just before the bridge leading over to the pier. From here frequent jeepneys head west to Mabini (P30, 30 to 45 minutes) from where you can take a tricycle the last 2km to Anilao town.
From Anilao proper, tricycles cost P40 for short trips, or P150 to P200 to the far resorts.
Originally posted 2021-05-05 22:06:45.