PHILIPPINES

ANILAO, MABINI

PHILIPPINES' MACRO MECCA

Season: January-April

Visibility: Good

Water Temperature: 26-29°C/79-84°F


A juvenile flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) only seconds old buzzes over the eggs it just hatched from. These very small 3-4mm guys are ready to hunt from the instant they emerge, Inking and flashing colors with an attitude that says "Look out world, Here i come" (Image by Mike Bartick)

Located just a three hour drive south of Manila, the Philippines, in the vicinity of Batangas, Anilao not only has become the mecca for macro life in the Philippines, it may be one of the best critter dive sites in the world.

Weird and wonderful creatures like nudibranches, seashells, frogfish, cuttlefish and octopus can all be found in Anilao and there are still new species being discovered in the region. 

Both the shallow and deep reef systems of Anilao are very healthy and they feature an abundance of reef fish, soft and hard corals.  If you are keen to seek the larger pelagic fish, then Anilao isn’t going to suit you.  However for all other marine life it is outstanding.  For photographers it offers a paradise in terms of diversity and subject material.

Anilao is the perfect location for critter geeks seeking encounters with shrimp, frogfish, cuttlefish, octopus, rhinopias, pipefish, seahorses and you can also have good encounters with the frightening Bobbit Worms.

Larger fish like Trevally can be seen on deeper dives, as can reef sharks, but it’s the little stuff that can keep divers and underwater photographers entertained for hours in Anilao.

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