Batangas is considered a scuba diving haven because it is a short drive by car from Manila. It is recognized as one of the favorite hangouts of people looking for a weekend dive and getaway. Diving is possible all year round. But it is best to dive between the months of November until June. So lets start with Anilao one of the favorites of local and foreign divers.
Diving conditions in Anilao are perfect for novice to experienced divers. Water temperature ranges from 22 to 28C, which makes diving in 3mm wetsuits an ideal skin suits. Average visibility is at about 60 feet. Below the water surface currents can change from nearly zero stream to a powerful one. But the surface tends to stay relatively still. It is advised that expert divers or novice should check the tide tables before diving.
Diving sites consist of coral slope of small drop-offs and shallow coral gardens among sandy patches. It is also a supreme place to observe marine life and macro photography. Devoted naturalists are able to discover a lot of varieties of nudibranches, frogfish, sea horses, sea cucumber, pipefish, and other colorful fishes.
Every scuba diving site has something new to offer. Here are the dive sites around Anilao:
Sombrero Island On the surface, this island resembles a hat underwater, so its profile makes the name Sombrero quite appropriate. It could be access by banca southwest across the Maricaban Straight up to northwest of Sombrero Island. Gorgonians, black coral shells, turtles, rays grunts, snappers and a great variety of soft corals are abundant. Streams are normally strong and squally on the surface. Visibility can reach up to 80 feet, and average depth is 33 feet.
Mapating Rock This open reef is for experienced divers only and its exploration may require assistance from a local dive guides. It could be accessed by banca southwest across the Maribacan Strait and around the northwest end of Maribacan Island. The rock itself is bounded by a fairly shallow area at about 35 feet, ending in a series of drop-offs running down to about 60 feet. The area is huge and the currents are ferocious. Marine life is abundant with different species of fish and quite a few pelagic varieties. Grey reef sharks and white tip reef sharks are occasionally seen in the area.
Merriel's Rock The scuba diving site can be accessed by banca southwest across the Maricaban Strait and around the northwest tip of Maribacan Island. Severe streams may be experienced in this cluster of shallow reefs. Visibility can reach 80 feet, and average depth is 60 feet. The site is rich with a lot of different species. And there are numerous types of coral formations enough to fascinate a marine biologist. Divers are advised to dive in the morning, as it can get rough in the afternoon because of the wind.
The Cathedral Around 60 to 90 feet south of Bagalangit Point lay a giant rock formation that looks like a roofless underwater amphitheater. Between is a small cross planted at 50 feet by now ex Philippine President, Fidel Ramos and blessed by Pope John Paul II. It's a Marine Park Sanctuary and the best-known Philippine dive sites. Unfruitful, the Cathedral has been seeded with corals from other sites. Flocks of fish eagerly congregate around the divers, waiting to be fed. Diving conditions is generally calm, but can have some strong currents. Visibility can reach 80 feet, and the site is best dived at neap tide.
Layag-Layag Reef Located at the northwest corner of Caban Island. Layag-Layag can be reached by banca or boat from Eagle Point pier southwest across Maricaban strait. On the south side of this open-water area, is a ledge drop to about 90 feet from the surface. Big jacks swim to within a few feet of the surface, although the larger fish tend to be somewhat coy. Scuba diving conditions is calm with medium to fierce currents. It is considered to be a good snorkeling site. Average depth is 33 feet and visibility can reach 100 feet.
Ligpo Island Location is 40 minutes north by banca and west of Ligpo Point. Diving conditions is generally serene but could have some ferocious currents that change rapidly. Novice divers are warned not to dive when currents are running. Average depth is 90 feet and visibility can reach 80 feet. Corals of different types and colossal gorgonians bound in the vicinity. The eastern shore has all the reef fishes, but when the current is running countless pelagic species can be seen out in the deep. Ligpo is a fine night dive at neap tides.
Sepok The rim of the drop-off west of Sepok Point and running southwest is an excellent dive site with a wide kind of marine life. A large quantity of small reef fish, gorgonian sea fans, barrel sponges, a large number of distinct species of nudibranchs and pelagic visitors. Scuba diving conditions is calm with average current, but it can get rough with intense currents with visibility of 100 feet and average depth of 50 feet.
Malajibomanoc Island The scuba diving site is 50 to 70 feet with a flat bottom and rational to harsh current. The major attraction is a hot spring in a hollow from 60 to 70 feet. It is being noted that when Taal Volcano has an increase in activity, the area releases fine hot bubbles. Diving conditions is generally calm with powerful currents, but could be very turbulent. Visibility can reach 80 feet and average depth is at 60 feet. Fish life is abundant with groupers, trumpetfish, moray eels, pufferfish and parrotfish. Even a Blacktip Reef Shark is often seen in the area.