Iloilo, Philippines · 0 hotels available
Anilao has long been famous for its excellent snorkeling and diving sites. Get the most out of this scenic seaside destination by booking a weekend stay at a hotel in Anilao. Don’t miss out on the area’s equally alluring land-based tourist spots.
Anilao actually refers to two barangays — Anilao Proper and Anilao East — in Mabini, Batangas. This peaceful seaside destination has long been a haven for scuba divers who delight in viewing coral gardens and interacting with colorful sea creatures.
The location is famous for its vibrant marine environment, which has been dubbed the “center of the center of the world’s marine biodiversity,” but it also has quiet beaches, verdant slopes, and a chill atmosphere that beckons one to sit back and commune with nature.
Getting from Manila to Batangas is quite easy, and a lot of bus lines in Cubao and Pasay offer morning, afternoon, and evening trips to the province. The 2.5- to 3-hour ride from Manila to Batangas costs around P165. Once the bus makes its stop at the Grand Terminal, take a jeep to Mabini Public Market. This costs about P40. The market also serves as a tricycle terminal. From here, you can ride a tricycle that will take you to your hotel in Anilao.
Tricycles are the primary mode of transportation in Anilao, which can carry a maximum of four persons. Meanwhile, renting a 10-seater boat for scuba diving and island hopping trips can set you back at least P2,500.
Verde Island Passage is one of the top attractions in Anilao. The strait is home to 319 species and 17 genera of hard corals — possibly the largest concentration of corals in the world. That, and the presence of more than half of the documented fish species in the country, earned Verde Island Passage the moniker “center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity” in a 2005 study.
If you’re not completely comfortable diving into the mysterious yet colorful world of marine creatures, you can stay on the beach. Maricaban Island is just a few minutes away from the coast, but it offers white sand beaches and a peaceful air perfect for unwinding.
Instead of staying by the shore, you can also go the other way and head up to the mountains for a bird’s-eye view of Mabini. Mt. Gulugod Baboy is a popular destination for climbers and a worthwhile side trip for sea lovers who want to see the best Anilao has to offer.
Anyone who’s planning to visit Anilao shouldn’t miss the destination’s diving and snorkeling sites. If you aren’t a certified scuba diver yet, there are plenty of diving schools and resorts in the area that offer lessons and equipment rental for total beginners. But if you’re a technical diver, a trip to Anilao can be a perfect opportunity to explore deep walls and see a huge variety of sea turtles, giant clams, and various fishes and corals.
If you want to engage in a water sport without needing an oxygen tank, you can always try windsurfing. Renting a surfboard for 6 hours costs about P2,500, including the instructor’s fees.
Now, you can also see and do a lot without venturing deep into the clear waters of Anilao. You can rent a boat to see Sombrero Island and Maricaban Island. If you’re feeling lazy, it’s perfectly acceptable to just stay by the shore and listen to the rhythmic lapping of the waves.
But for a different kind of nature trip, take a tricycle to the foot of Mt. Gulugod Baboy and embark in a 1- to 2-hour trek up the mountain. Once you reach the summit, you’ll be welcomed by a view of the entire town, the sea, and the nearby islands. Make sure to take plenty of pictures here with your buddies.
It would be a waste if you stop by a seaside town without ever tasting the fish from its shores. It’s certain that your hotel in Anilao will satisfy your palate with its own offering of seafood buffet meals and beach barbecues. For starters, you can head to Anilao Beach Club’s restaurant to sample their Anilao Beach Club Giant Burger, which is good for 4 people.
There are actually few food choices outside your Anilao hotel’s bars and restaurants, but the fast-food outlets in the town center can offer you exactly what you need if you’re looking for something familiar and budget-friendly.
Splurge on your diving trip by booking at the luxurious Anilao Discovery. Starting at around P5,300 per night, this hotel offers rooms and seaside views. If you’re in town with the family, Pier Uno is a good choice with its spacious rooms and buffet meals. An overnight stay here starts at P2,700. But if you’re trying to save money, Anilao Backpackers offers a comfortable accommodation for as low as P500.
Some diving resorts have rocky beaches so if you’re planning to stay in one, be sure to pack your water shoes with you.
Some islands, such as Maricaban, require entrance fees. Make sure to consider this when setting your budget.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a diving gear. Diving resorts typically rent out complete scuba gears for around P1,000.