Located in the west coast of Batangas, Anilao is home to one of the best coral reef system in the Philippines. It is a go-to place for divers, freedivers and scuba divers alike. You can take a bus from Buendia bound for Batangas City which takes about 2-3 hours. Don’t forget to ask to be dropped off at Bauan jeepney terminal thereafter you’ll be taken to Mabini dock area. From there, you can make negotiations for boat rentals or ride a tricycle if you booked with a resort.
Taking a trip down memory lane, I can vividly remember my twenty-pound heavier self who unwillingly went to Anilao with her then acquaintances from college. As a 20-year old woman with little to no activity, waking up at 3 o’clock in the morning for a trip I knew nothing of, was extremely dreadful. The only thing that made me commit to such invitation is the fact that I loosely said yes weeks ago and that invalidating my word would then invalidate me (my ego).
Road trips would be a pleasure for some – yes, but as for me, they equated to more hours to sneak in some sleep. Unfortunately, on this particular trip, an unwritten rule was made that no one was allowed to doze off during the 3-hour drive. You can only imagine how stingy and cranky I was becoming as the minutes turn to hours, but the mood abruptly changed as throwback songs were played on the radio. Combo those songs from the 90s with a chatterbox friend and you’re good to go. Honestly, it was surprisingly amusing. It was a pill of relief to be in such company of people who sang their lungs out and owned the car seats as their stage.
Upon arriving at the town of Anilao, the zigzagging road built on mountains would let you steal glimpses of the ocean view. It’s an easy give away that the long drive would soon be over. We were feeling a little bit restless as we sat in eager anticipation of the adventure that awaits. Simultaneously, I was getting jumpy at the thought of swimming in the open ocean. Who wouldn’t when it’s your first time? I knew the basics of swimming but my best bet for living while in deep ends was floating on my back.
Unloading our stuff from the car, I noticed that my two pocketful-of-sunshine ‘sort of’ friends were smiling from ear to ear. I wasn’t entirely sure if they had some sort of a plan for the day that made them that much happy, but I was trying really hard to make sure that my anxious sweat wouldn’t give them much hint.
After much deliberation with our snorkel rentals and payment for a day-pass in the resort, the much awaited event is bound to happen. I was silently thanking God for the relatively calm waters as I was sarcastically patting myself on the back for being so rational. Yes – rational for snorkeling without knowing how to swim. Great!
My colleagues said it would be easier to float in here because it’s salt water so I skeptically accepted their weak attempt at encouraging me. In my disbelief, it is actually easier to float in the sea compared to pool waters. Although, I must admit that I would score my first attempts to thread in for a minute or two (aka staying alive) a zero. It must be the muscle tension, lack of oxygen perhaps for being too anxious, or it could be all at the same time.
Nonetheless, after a few bad attempts, I was undulating underwater in no time, albeit awkwardly. Maybe I’m a little bit biased but I consider Anilao as a diver’s paradise. Why? You ask. Its vibrant marine biodiversity is the only reason I dared to stay in those intimidating depth. Here, sea for yourself.
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