Michael McFadyen's Scuba Diving - Buceo Anilao Home Reef, Philippines
In August 2023 I did a three week long dive trip to the Philippines with my friend John. We spent the first week at Anilao staying at Buceo Anilao Dive Resort.
There are dozens of dive sites located within 20 minutes run from the resort.
Unfortunately we had a Super Typhoon hit the northern Philippines when we were there, so the Coast Guard banned all boats and diving. Later they permitted diving without boats. On this day, we did two dives at the home reef straight in front of the resort. To be honest, it is so good that you should do at least one dive here if you visit.
As you would expect, the Buceo Anilao Home Reef is located in front of the resort. A GPS mark for the dive spot is 13Â°41' 11.303" N 120Â° 53' 30.386" (using WGS84 as the datum).
|A satellite photo from Google Earth that shows the location of the dive site
The dive starts straight off the beach. The entry is very easy, with not many rocks at all, mostly sand. The bottom slopes out to 4 metres and then slopes a little more steeply to 30+ metres. The bottom is sand with small rocks here and there. There are also some moorings for the dive boats in the 30 metre area (and some supplemental ones around 22 metres). There are also some old coral pieces that are larger than the rocks.
|This tan coloured warty anglerfish (Antennarius maculatas) was quite cute
|This orange hairy striated anglerfish ((Antennarius striatus) was very cute and a bit smaller
On our two dives here, we did one to the north at 24 metres and coming back at about 10 metres. The other one was the more interesting. On that one we headed north-west to about 24 metres and then west deeper to 28 metres before heading south at this depth and then gradually coming shallower before heading back east and north-east to the exit point.
|This warty anglerfish (Antennarius maculatas) was fairly ugly really
|This blue sea squirt has a tiny amphipod inside, you can just see it
The bottom and rocks have some featherstars, sea whips, very small gorgonias, anemones and some small sponges. Things we saw here were three anglerfish, all on the second mentioned dive above. The anglers were all in different spots and very different looking. See the attached photographs. There were also heaps of nudibranchs and shrimp, some crabs and a few different species of squat lobster. There were also a few lionfish, mantis shrimp, a large octopus, a sea moth and more.
|A smaller mantis shrimp
All in all, this was a very good dive site. The visibility ranged between 15 and 20 metres and this was after at least 200 mm of rain had fallen in the preceding days. Water temperature was 29C.
|A swallowtail headshield slug, Chelidonura hirundinina
|This extremely tiny nudibranch was only 2 mm long and on a piece of weed
|A flabellina nudibranch
|An Eubranchius species of nudibranch
|A Hypelodoris species of nudibranch
|Brooks urchin shrimp (Allopontonia brocki) in a sea urchin
|A cryptic sponge shrimp (Gelastocaris paronae) on a sponge
|A shrimp in a featherstar
|A dancing /sexy shrimp on the outside of a tube anemone
|A Zanzibar whip coral shrimp (Dasycaris zanzibaica)on a sea whip