The clear waters of Batok Reef

Anilao, in my opinion, is one of the best places to go to for diving for several reasons. Especially now that I’ve discovered the colorful underwater world of Batok Reef.

Why Dive in Anilao, Batangas

First, it’s the nearest dive site from Manila. During very busy periods at work, I can squeeze in a day trip to Anilao, do two dives, and head back to Manila at night. During unexpected long weekends and last minute pronouncements of non-working holidays, I can just get into my car and make the two-hour drive to none other than my favorite Portulano.

Second, Anilao and Mabini have some of the most colorful corals you can find. Some friends, especially those who have been diving for a while, get disappointed with Anilao reefs because of the lack of big fish, but you do get them from time to time. Not all the time, only if you’re lucky.

I’ve been diving at the reefs along the shores of Anilao and Mabini for three years, and no matter how many times I’ve gone, they always look different to me. I don’t mind not seeing sharks or dolphins – watching the corals dance in the current, schools of fish swim in and out of their homes, and just looking at the burst of color all around me is enough of a meditation for me to enjoy any dive.

And then I went to Batok Reef.

All About Batok Reef

Batok Reef can be found at Sombrero Island, one of the many islands around the Southern part of Batangas.

As you can see, it is only reachable by boat, and many resorts along Anilao or Mabini can schedule trips to Sombrero Island, which will take around 30 minutes.

Last October was my first trip to Batok Reef. It’s quite a trip, so it’s not somewhere resorts normally take guests to unless you specifically ask. And because I never specifically ask and I just hitch a ride with other dive groups, I never thought of making a trip there.

That day was a full day where our dive group went on two dives at Verde Island in the morning, and one dive at Batok Reef in the afternoon. Our dives at Verde Island were great but treacherous – it was two days after a storm, so the current was very strong and visibility was a bit poor.

I didn’t have very high expectations from the Batok Reef dive, but my mind was simply blown.

Our dive master was disappointed with the visibility, but I can’t imagine the water being clearer than it already was. Again, with my GoPro 3 White, clear as day photos mean very clear waters that I get enough sunlight to make the colors pop.

Batok Reef is a relatively easy dive. There was barely any current, seascape was easy to manage, and there is simply so much to see. It’s a mix of coral beds and rock formations, and you will simply be surrounded by fish the entire time.

And sometimes, if you look closely, you get surprises like this!

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