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Diving Anilao, Luzon Island | the Philippines
spindle cowrie

The tiny town of Anilao provides access to some fantastic scuba diving. Sitting on the western side of the Calumpan Peninsula on Luzon Island, this section of coast is just a few hours drive from the capital, Manila. The peninsula juts into the Verde Island Passage and the landscape of steep hills edged by craggy shores leads to a series of coral-clad terraces.

The diving here may come as a surprise as years back these reefs gained a reputation for being wrecked by poor fishing practices. However, education by environmental and conservation groups led to the marine realm rejuvenating and it is now healthy and prolific. Dives sites that lie parallel to the shore are rife with soft corals and small animals like the barbiganti pygmy seahorse while the small bays that cluster around the southern tip of the peninsula are amazing muck dives fed by hot water sea vents.

Opposite Anilao are Maricaban island and the Sombrero, a flat topped pinnacle ringed by surf. These open water dives are said to be alive with pelagic fish but in bad weather, the offshore sites can be hard to reach as conditions challenging.

Anilao dive photo gallery Scuba diving features
Marine Life Seahorses
Dwarf frogfish
rare cowrie shells
Top dive site Secret Bay
Seasons All year round but best Nov-May
Visibility 10 – 30 metres
Water temperature 25 – 29º C
Deco chambers Manila and Cebu City
Flights to Manila then drive for 2-3 hours
Dive operators & accommodation plentiful but can be hard to find as few have websites. We stayed at Crystal Blue Resort, which we thought was excellent.

It will be a far more popular diving destination that will attract you to the Philippines but if you are there anyway, Anilao is really worth diverting to. It is a lovely area dotted by clusters of small, friendly hotels. Local divers tend to overwhelm these on weekends but it is quiet during the week.

The variety of dive sites in this part of the Philippines is better than you would expect – in just two days we saw charming fringing reefs and truly fabulous critter life. Conditions were awful when we went due to a hurricane – on land it was wet and windy but underwater the sea was calm and the visibility was still 15-20 metres.
Sadly, we went to Anilao straight after a hurricane hit the Philippines but even with that happening, we were delighted with what we saw just off the coast. There were plenty of dives in the protected bays especially near the tip of the Calumpen Peninsula and we saw the most amazing macro animals. This is an area we aim to return to as soon as we can.
More Philippines diving destinations
LUZON Anilao
Puerto Galera
VISAYAS Bohol/Balicasag

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Complete reports on this area are in
Diving Southeast Asia.

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