Why You Need To Visit Anilao, Philippines

I didn’t think anywhere in the world could rival the amazing muck diving of Lembeh Strait until I discovered what was hidden beneath the water in Anilao!


So Where Is Anilao & Why Is It So Special?

You can pretty much dive anywhere in the Philippines these days, however, 3hrs south of Manila is where it all began back in the 1960s. Anilao was chosen as the first place to set up diving operations in the Philippines and boy did they choose well.

As you make your way down to Anilao, be sure to keep your eyes, ears and camera lenses open, as you will be astonished by the colours, sights and sounds of the local culture.

What I loved about Anilao, is it is very much like Lembeh, being solely geared towards scuba divers that love muck & macro diving and there is not much else to do other than eat ridiculously delicious crispy sisig (pork) and sip on mango daiquiris.

Anilao is not as overpopulated with tourists as some of the other hot spots in the Philippines, therefore, reefs are thriving and far less damaged, however, in some places plastic pollution is still an issue which the marine conversation society is working hard to rectify with the local government.


So Why Head To Anilao?

Is it for the stunning and healthy coral formations? The lush green hills and coastline or the friendly locals and the delicious food? Yes, yes and yes to all of the above, however, there’s only one reason you take a dive trip to Anilao and that’s for the muck diving.

The water is so rich that it is filled with an incredible variety and abundance of macro critters! We spotted a rhinopia just sitting there on the house reef and I have never seen such a diversity of Nudibranch, most of which were laying egg ribbons.

We choose to stay at Buceo Anilao Beach & Dive Resort which is set amongst the hills and locals. Click here to read more about our stay….


On our first day in Anilao, our dive guide greeted us with a huge grin and the first thing he said was “give me your critter list”!! I thought he was joking but no, he was dead serious! “Tell me what you want to see whilst you are here and I will find it!” Now that’s a big promise to make but believe it or not the abundance of macro life is so vast, that I spotted nearly everything that took me two weeks to see in Lembeh, in one day in Anilao!! The photos in this post are just a sneak peek of what you can expect. 

We saw so many incredible things on the trip but the big highlights for me have to be, the Mototi Octopus, the incredible neon lights of the disco clam and the holy grail of all Nudibranch, the Miamira Alleni and Melibe Colemani!

Mototi Octopus - (Poison Occelate Octopus, Octopus Mototi)
This photo does not do the "Disco Clam" justice! The white outline you can see ripples and flashes just like a neon strobe! (Ctenoides Ales)
Melibe Colemani Nudibranch
Miamira Alleni Nudibranch

Sadly, I was extremely sick for the last four days of my trip and unable to get back into the water, however, I can safely say what I saw in my first day let alone first week was above and beyond my bucket list for the trip. Everything about Anilao, the people, the food and the diving has defiantly left me wanting more.   



Where To Stay

We choose to stay at Buceo Anilao Beach & Dive Resort which is set amongst the hills and locals. Click here to find out more... 


Where should I visit next in the Philippines?

Let me know in the comments below!

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