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Anilao, is an area just two and a half hours south of Manila that is a very popular diving destination. Considered by many to be the first region in the Philippines to attract scuba divers, visitors have been arriving here since the mid 1960’s. Former President, Fidel Ramos was a regular visitor to the dive spots around Anilao.
The short journey time from Manila and the quality of the diving makes this a very popular destination for those seeking a break from the capital, for those taking diving courses and for people staying here as part of a two centre holiday.
The emphasis in Anilao is firmly on the outdoors and in particular the water, as well as diving, visitors engage in kayaking, snorkeling, sailing and island hopping. For those who like a little more strenuous exercise there is rock climbing around Anilao and you can also visit Taal, reputed to be the world’s smallest volcano.
Eagle Point Resort is a hillside getaway with accommodation running alongside the sea shore. Here rustic natural charm meets comfortable living arrangements. The theme here is definitely the water and Eagle Point has three swimming pools, two are freshwater and equipped with slides and waterfalls. The third is a saltwater pool, next to the dive centre, ideal for training dives. The saltwater pool is designed to simulate a coral reef and is used by local marine conservationists as a rehabilitation pool for injured or juvenile fish and animals.
The main building of the resort contains the restaurant and bar which have magnificent panoramic view out across the South China Sea. The food concentrates on seafood and blends international and local style cuisines. The main building also has a gift shop and games room.
The resort has a wide range of accommodation including cottages, native type cabanas and terrace suites. Within the grounds are a walk through aviary, butterfly farm and children’s playground.
All rooms at the resort have hot and cold water and with the exception of the native cabanas, air-conditioning.
Just 20 minutes away by boat is Sepoc Island, it is here that guests travel to relax on the white sands and in the clear blue seas of the Sepoc Beach Centre. You can idle the day away sunbathing, snorkeling, rambling around the green interior and eating beach barbecues. Guests often get together for impromptu games of beach volleyball but if this a bit too active then settle into a hammock and watch the sun slowly go down.
The Safety Stop Dive Centre is within the grounds of Eagle Point and is a PADI dive centre. A wide range of courses are available here and it is particularly popular with those beginners taking Discover Scuba Diving programs and Open Water Diver courses. The swimming pool and immediate access to some very colorful reefs make this a great place to start diving. There are over 25 dive spots within easy reach of the Dive Centre.
The Diving: The area around Anilao is home to some of the most pristine reefs in the country and it is particularly popular with photographers and those seeking macro life. The waters here have pretty much everything you need with sandy slopes, drop-offs and walls, swim-throughs and overhangs, pretty coral gardens and so on. Visibility here tends to be very good and upwards of 20m is common.
The reefs play host to a huge range of smaller species including nudibranch, shrimps, ribbon and moray eels, frogfish, mimic and blue ring octopus, mandarin fish etc. Larger species are abundant and you will regularly see jacks, snappers, trigger fish and angel fish. At certain sites the strong currents may attract turtles, white tip and black tip reef sharks. Blue spotted and eagle rays are often seen in the deeper waters. There is also a profusion of hard and soft corals and sponges in these waters.
The reefs close to the Dive Centre are ideal for first dives, check out and night dives. More experienced divers will want to visit Mainit, Bahura and Beatrice – the currents here can run fast but the activity in the water is rewarding. Keep an eye on the blue water for passing mackerel and tuna.
Photographs courtesy of Eagle Point Resort & Safety Stop Divers