Buceo Anilao Dive & Beach Resort (April-May 2023)
Wednesday April 26: departure Amsterdam
Thursday April 27: arrival Manila, sleep in Belmont Hotel
Friday April 28 – Monday May 15: stay in Buceo Anilao Dive and Beach Resort in the Mandarin fish cabana.
Monday May 15: return home
Diving in Anilao is spectacular! We did 3 dives per day and 1 black water dive.
The dive sites are a mix of coral-, rubble- and sandy areas. The usual suspects can be found: flamboyant cuttlefish, mimic ocutopus, many nudibranchs and shrimps. One of the best coral dives is at Sombrero Island, at 20 minutes from the resort. Lots of Anthias can be found there.
Rubble- and sandy areas are close to the resort, sometimes not more than 5-10 minutes boat ride.
Most spectacular sightings were: mantis shrimps with eggs, jawfishes with eggs, bargibanti pygmee seahorses, and lemon gobies.
Puerto Galera and Donsol (March 2007)
El Galleon resort at Small Lalaguna Beach
El Galleon resort at Small Lalaguna Beach is the first stay. Small Lalaguna is close to Puerto Galera. The trip consists of a 2-3 hour drive from the airport to Batangas, followed by a 1 hour boat trip by banka to the Island of Mindoro.
Diving organization Asia Divers owns a small pier on which the dive boats are moored. The boats hold a maximum of 6 divers plus guide.
3 dives per day are scheduled at 09:00h, 11:30h, en 14:30h.
The Puerto Galera area holds many small fishes and nudibranchs. Like: robust ghost pipefishes, frogfishes, seahorses, and so on. The sea grass in the Bay of Sabang holds the special species usually only found muck diving: like pegasus seamoth and fingered dragonets.
Dive sites are colorful due to the enormous number of feather stars, not so much because of the corals. Almost every dive site holds a wreck.
Woodlands Beach Resort in Donsol
The whale shark season is from January till May. At the end of March we should be smack in the middle. Best time to spot the big sharks is the (early) morning.
To get there: first take a flight from Manila to Legaspi. Diving organization Prosafari arranged a pickup at the airport and the 1 hour drive to Woodlands Beach Resort in Donsol. Woodlands Beach Resort is low budget and extremely dirty.
After arrival we directly went on a snorkel trip with the whale sharks. It was not the best time of day, we left about 11. However, in 2,5 hours, we swam with 12 whale sharks. Mission accomplished! There were 7 tourists on the boat plus the Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO). The BIO accompanies the snorkelers to make sure that snorkelers to not touch the whale sharks or come too close. Required distance is 3 meters from the head, and 4 meters from the tail.
We did a few dives near San Miguel Island. This was a so-called macro paradise, but we liked Puerto Galera better. The heavily dynamited and famous dive spot “manta bowl” was empty of big fish. Unfortunately, no manta, whale sharks and hammer heads.
Woodlands Beach Resort in Donsol revisit
Next days we swam with many whale sharks. As we went in the morning with less people on the boat, the interactions were considerably longer and sharks allowed us to swim with them.
Threshersharks of Malapascua (September 2005)
To get there: Flight to Singapore, followed by the onward-flight Singapore-Cebu. After arrival a 3 hour bus-drive takes you to Maya in north-Cebu, followed by a half hour boat trip to Malapascua.
Malapascua Exotic Dive Resort
Most famous dive site is the Monad Shoal. The place to be for thresher sharks, manta and hammerhead sharks. September is the season the first 2. We missed the mantas, but found the threshers during the very early morning dives.
Calanggaman island is known for its drop-offs, with many corals. Frogfishes, scorpion fishes and remoras can be found here. The drop off is very colorful, but unfortunately there is not much fish.
Gato is a small island and a marine reserve. The corals at Gato are lush and colorful. The water is very nutritious, and thus the visibility resembled pea soup. Wildlife was abundant and varied: nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp, feather stars, sliping whitetips, frogfishes, cuttlefishes, and so on.
Many dive sites house sea horses, sometimes dozens per locations.
During night dives mating mandarin fishes can be seen.
The resort was very comfortable. Staff is friendly, food is very tasteful, the dive school is very well organized.