It was the 1st day of 2016 when I thought of starting the new year with a dive adventure. The underwater world has given me the inexplicable calmness I crave, my way out to temporarily escape the bustling and hustling corporate concrete jungle. I thirst for the slow movements of the “zero gravity”-like universe while I breath in and out heavily; it’s like an addiction that even though I knew it can be a lavish hobby to most, I am still willing to sign up at a dive resort. It’s been years since I dreamt of conquering my fear of sinking until I met a bearded French man, an engineer, a diver and a neighbour here in Singapore, in mid 2015 and showed me a glimpse of the beautiful things that we can only truly appreciate once we go meters below the sea level. He has been my first dive “mentor” if I may say. . 🙂
I travelled from Santa Rosa, Laguna to Anilao, Batangas for 2 butt-numbing hours via a van from Santa Rosa Commercial Complex. The van actually drops passengers at a bus terminal near the Batangas City Pier then I rode a jeepney to the town proper of Mabini, Batangas and finally rent a tricycle going to the dive resorts. Don’t get surprised if the tricycle drivers asks for Php200 to Php300 from Mabini town proper to the resorts. The resorts are quite far and will take around 30 to 45 mins ride overlooking the sea on some parts of the roads atop a cliff.
Where to stay:
There are a number of beach resorts in Mabini Batangas and this list from the outoftownblog.com is one of the sites that helped me. I stayed in Planet Dive because it is the very first one who responded to me that they have available dive master to accompany me on my dive on January 1, as you know I like to go alone at times. Also, I’ve read in other travel posts that Planet Dive is quite popular for its affordable dive packages.
My Stay at Planet Dive:
Planet Dive resort stands in a cliff. The tricycle dropped me at the gate and I needed to trek down the resort’s stairs to get to the lobby. A good way to burn calories I thought, until I checked out and hiked my way up with my bag. . hehe. . But I think, not only Planet Dive has that kind of resort grounds.
I rented out a room for 2 with a private toilet and I must say that, with a spacious shower, comfortable beddings, a nice window view, the room is more than comfortable for a solo female traveler.
Buffet Dinner, breakfast and lunch, are all inclusive in the room rent price. I have stuffed myself with delicious Filipino home-cooked meals which tastes like my mom cooked it for me. Beers are also available at the resort and the terrace facing the sea is just the most relaxing spot to enjoy a bottle of San Miguel Light or two. With a cigarette on my right hand, and a beer on the left, I softly uttered “this is life” while I was watching the sunset after my first dive.
On the afternoon of January 1, I dove at the shore of Planet Dive. They have a beautiful dive spot just in front of the resort, called Twin Rocks, bragging a colourful set of corals on 2 underwater towering rocks. I didn’t bring my go pro during the first dive because thought I wanna get a feel of the Anilao waters and be comfortable firstly. I regretted it though when I saw 2 lion fish, a stone fish that scared me to death, and a flamboyant cuttle fish which is actually rare to find in Anilao.
On January 2, I had 2 boat dives, 1st is at the nape of the Sombrero Island (hence the dive spot is called Sombrero Batok) and then at the Layag-layag dive spot which landmark is a rock formation that, according to the locals, resembles a sail (sail is layag in Tagalog). I brought my gopro this time and enjoyed swimming with hundreds of fishes I couldn’t identify and seeing lots of tiny cutie nudibranchs. I also saw a sea snake, a huge turtle, lucid squids and a couple of moray eels.
Pardon my poor video editing skills and my unstable footage. I promise to get better, I guess after 100 dives. . haha. . Watching this clip on mobile seems more acceptable than on desktop.
Anilao is a precious gem in Batangas, Philippines and I’m really lucky to have the opportunity to see it. It has satisfied the craving of the mermaid in me. My stay in Planet Dive resort was lovely, I’m one happy diver. . 🙂