Destination Fact File
A sanctuary for many species of small critters.
Mindoro and Anilao are located a mere 3 to 4 hours away from the capital city of Manila. This part of the Philippines is absolutely fantastic and offers visitors a range of natural wonders on land including waterfalls, tropical rainforests and mountain ranges as well as great diving opportunities. Prepare yourself for an adventurous diving holiday admiring the astonishing sites of Apo Reef National Park where you can find mantas, sharks and rays, exploring the drop-offs around Verde Island to the north of Puerto Galera and finding the smallest critters in the beautiful Anilao coast. This area of the Philippines really is a mecca for divers and for a good reason.
Known as the “Pearl of Mindoro”, Puerto Galera is approximately 100 miles from Manila on Mindoro Island where you will find more than 50 dive sites surrounding the area. The marine life here is spectacular and you can drift dive along the breath-taking walls, practice your buoyancy with swim-throughs or just marvel at the schools of snapper, emperors, eagle rays, barracudas, turtles, tuna and the occasional shark.
Puerto Galera home to Atlantis Puerto Galera Resort and El Galleon Beach Resort is separated from Luzon by the Verde Island passage, home to strong currents from the South China Sea flushing in rich nutrients and attracting a variety of marine species. This area of the Philippines is well known by divers for its spectacular and exhilarating drift dives. Puerto Galera is also home to a 5km foreshore marine sanctuary dotted with world class dive sites and a diversity of over 300 different types of hard and soft corals.
In the evening you can choose to take a stroll along Puerto Galera’s promenade where you can buy a souvenir sold in stalls along the pier, in boutiques in Poblacion and by street vendors. Handicraft particularly marble novelties, rattan and coconut products can also be found. Puerto Galera comes with a wide range of restaurants, pubs and discos lined up and almost encroaching in the water where you can try the local cuisine and have a refreshing drink at the end of a hard day’s diving.
Anilao is a must dive destination! This marine protected sanctuary is one of the best places in the Philippines for macro photography and videography. The reefs around Anilao are extremely healthy, some being quite shallow and some at very deep depths. If you are looking for a holiday where you can immerse yourself looking for small critters, the reef fish in Anilao are plentiful on every dive site including lots of nudibranchs, mantis shrimps and soft corals.
This diving paradise is just 3 hours’ drive to the south of Manila making it a popular destination for day and weekend excursions for Manila residents. In Anilao, the underwater beauty and adventure continues uphill and when you are not diving you can go hiking, windsurf or just relax on one of the beautiful beaches.
The nightlife in Anilao is normally confined to the dive resorts that dot this area but the evening entertainment is always low key. Anilao is the perfect place if you are looking for a relaxing and laid back holiday where you can have a refreshing drink with like-minded people after a great day diving if you feel like.
Mindoro & Anilao Top Dive Sites:
The Canyons in Puerto Galera is the most famous dive site, a must visit for all experienced and technical divers. It is here that the currents encourage the abundance of marine life in the area making a massive impact. When currents are strong, the marine life is plentiful and varied. Burly surges along the wall which means divers and fish alike have to seek shelter in one of the three distinct canyons. You will find yourself having a short rest in each canyon surrounded by schools of snappers, jacks, sweetlips, emperor angelfish and barracuda. Recently, there have been sightings of pelagics including mantas, thresher and hammerhead sharks. Resting at the end of this site is a coral encrusted anchor, all that remains of a Spanish Galleon. The Canyons is best dived on nitrox to give you more bottom time to take in all the sights. This is truly a world-class dive that should not be missed.
MV Alma Jane in Puerto Galera is a cargo vessel that was scuttled right in the middle of Sabang Bay in 2005 in an effort to create an artificial reef. Today it lies upright in 30 metres of water and is home to inquisitive schools of batfish, yellowtail fusiliers and drummers around the wreck. The hull is still intact and you can swim into it taking care of sharp edges and lurking lionfish waiting in the shadows for a meal to swim by. There is plenty to explore and you may also come across some smaller critters such as mantis shrimp and morays; stingrays can also be found in the sand around the wreck.
The Twin Rocks in Anilao is one of the best sites with prolific life at 3 to 40 metres and all depths between. Here you will find a range of marine species great for macro and wide-angle photography. Count with encounters with schooling jacks, small fish, jaw fish soft corals and much more.