Anilao, located south of Manila, is a barangay under the municipality of Mabini in the province of Batangas. Its surrounding waters are teeming with marine life which made it one of the most popular locations for diving and snorkeling in the country. Anilao's beach is not for those who want mainly the scenic beaches with fine, white sands. But hey if you happen to be one of them, what's stopping you from discovering the beauty beneath then? And probably try something new, like manta ray diving!
What is Manta Ray Diving?
"Are there lots of manta rays to see in Anilao?!" This was the first thing that came to my mind when invited by friends to Anilao to try this manta ray diving. I had no idea. I thought we will be diving to see majestic manta rays. Did some googling right away then laughed to myself. Okay! So it's not to see manta rays but to be like one on one aspect: underwater flying!
Manta ray diving is an underwater flight riding the manta ray dive wing. It was introduced here in the Philippines by the The Sicilian Reef Dive Resort last year. And up to now, the resort is the first and only resort that offers this water adventure in the country.
How this works? You'll be riding the manta ray dive wing, holding on it with your two hands while being dragged by a jet ski for not more than 15 minutes per ride (Php 500). By maneuvering the dive wing up and down with your hands and strength, you can go as deep as you want and as long as you can, then go back up as if you are flying freely underwater. Not just for the thrill and adrenaline rush the experience brings, but you also will surely get amazed with the view beneath, the vast garden of coral reefs and various kinds of fishes.
How's my experience? Nervous at first, coz of course it's on the deep area. I can swim, but not that good. And no matter how much I love the ocean and the idea of being a mermaid, I still get anxious of the abyss. Then the surge of excitement for it is something new. While on it? The first time I was able to maneuver the wing and go deep, there's the feeling of fulfillment despite the stomach butterflies. When I say "deep" that's still not that deep tho coz I feel like I was going to hit the corals, which is a big no-no! I also fear that I might not be able to go back up in time to catch my breath. Don't be like me on that part. And I also think you gotta have strong arms. But will I do it again? Yes, yes, yes!
How to get to the The Sicilian Reef Dive Resort?
By Public Transport
From Cubao, Buendia LRT Station or Alabang South Station, ride a bus (JAM, Alps, etc.) going to Batangas Grand Terminal for php165 (Cubao), php157 (Buendia) or php127 (Alabang). It will take you for about 2 hours.
From Batangas Grand Terminal, take a jeepney ride going to Mabini for 37php.
From Mabini, a tricycle ride going to Anilao Port then to the Sicilian Reef Dive Resort.
By Private Transport
From Manila, you will need to drive along South Luzon Express Way (SLEX) to Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (Star Toll Way) entering the province of Batangas.
By the end of the Star Toll Way, you will need to pass towards the road going to Diversion Road in Batangas City then going to Bauan. You will see a sign going to Mabini after municipality of San Pascual then turn left towards Anilao, Mabini.
Or use Waze!
Other Things To Do In Anilao
Aside from scuba and manta ray diving, you can do island hopping. Rent a boat for as low as php2,500 which is good for good for 10 persons. They can take you to Masasa Beach, Sombrero Island, and/or to Binukbok View Point which is a great snorkeling and skin diving site.
If don't like going far and spending more, the waters just in front of the resort is also good for swimming and snorkeling.
Watching the sun set is also a great idea. Always!
Reminder: The whole Mabini municipality is out of water and power supplies during Sundays. We found this out during our weekend stay and no idea until when.
Credits to sir Rajel for the cover photo.
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