01 April 2008

Fabulous Anilao - Day 7,8,9,10

2nd leg of our Philippines Dive Odyssey.
I think i'm getting used to waking up before the sun.. I'm passed the whinging and whining and squirming in bed phase. I'm an early bird. Right...
.Incredible view from our hilltop hut.

Anilao is very much unlike other dive resorts which are usually flanked by foreign faces and accents. Just because it's a short 2.5hrs drive from Manila, you'd catch city dwellers running down the sand bar in their cockjocks, bikinis, flipflops and snorkels bouncing off their face like a trunk. The sight of children dipping their heads into shallow waters in search of that magical shell or nemos is enough to give it that local touch.

Besides that, the owner of Balai Resort, Larry, is always all smiles and extremely approachable. He has a great team behind him that cooks the most delicious Philippino food! We were served diligently, buffet-style, at 7-9am (breakfast), 12-2pm (lunch), 7-9pm (dinner) and they never fail to exceed our expectations, the food just gets better every day. A happy stomach makes a happy me. What surprised us was that they offer massage services at 400 pesos an hour, which is what ... $14BND!?. After an entire day of diving, you'd believe they have miraculous hands with healing powers.
To top off the extremely good service we get from the kitchen and dive staff, Anilao continues to bowl us over with it's treasure trove of dive sites. Our first dive was an incredible welcoming gift. Toro's point, named after the grazing bulls of it's shore, is a muck diver's heaven. With little or close to zero corals, a handful of fish, and a carpet of pebbles ... you'd think this is a dump site. But for macrophotographers, the keen eyes, this is where the gold lies. This would involve a sand-scavenging sweep of the floorbed, uncovering the wonders of marine evolution.
The good stuff we saw included pygmy seahorses (yellow and purple), seahorses, ambon scorpionfish, variations of ghost pipefish, frogfish, harlequin shrimps, snake eels, mandarinfish, blennies, wonderpus (when i skipped a dive? Huuhuu ={ ), and an astounding variety of nudibranchs and flatworms.
.Some of my favourites.
.Toro's and Basura are definitely the top spots for macros.

.Friggin' wonderpus that i missed out on =( Picture taken by Andrew.

One of the most popular dive sites around here is The Cathedral... that features a cross planted by former president Fidel Ramos. The fish here are extremely eager in looking for quick feeds, so save a piece of that bread you had for lunch.

.Wide-angle shots of Angel and I by Andrew..Two nincompoops.

.Our surface intervals usually involves soaking up the sun, tea and cofffee, roaming round the island, and occassionally we'd make new friends, like Andy, the poor dried coconut shell that was later given a formal death ceremony by Andrew.

It was a very rewarding 5 days in Anilao. This trip is worth every penny, every shiver, every burnt skin that we've endured. It's proven itself to be worth a 2nd visit.

For more underwater photos of Anilao, you can visit:
My Flickr or Andrew's Flickr


Gabriel on April 4, 2008 at 11:09 PM said...

I never knew things underwater could be so beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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