Monday, August 30, 2010

Pan de Amerikana, Marikina City

WHERE: Pan de Amerikana, Marikina City

DATE OF TRAVEL: August 28, 2010

1. Even if you're not addicted to chess, this is such a cool idea! A cafe and chess place rolled into one! They have large chess pieces as well as small ones that you can admire and play with!

2. Their pandesal (bread of salt) is good!

The owner of Pan de Amerikana is Dionisio Salvador Jr. and his yummy pandesals were taken after his father's recipe! His father was a baker in the 1950's and the size of the pandesals now are huge because that was supposedly the size of the pandesals back then! Obviously owner by a chess lover, the cafe is filled with chess tables and chess pieces may be borrowed from the counter. A collection of the different kinds of chess boards are on display, too! Moreover, Pan de Amerikana is also famouo for its huge chess pieces that both children and adults love playing with. It is also a cafe that is built by someone with love for the arts. Things like broken plates and glasses serve as part of the floor's decoration, the order numbers are put on colorful fans, children's artworks are on display, Mr. Salvador's son's photography works are on display and other arts and cultural stuff such as small trinkets, souvenirs, collections and pictures of the "old" Philippines may be seen all over the restaurant. Free Taichi and Art Lessons are held here as well as photography meetings and sessions. Events like baptism and weddings may be held here, too.

92 Ordonez Conception Dos, Marikina City

Pan de Amerikana - +632 4752398/ +632 5021361/ +63922 8418824/ +63917 5308824

Mondays to Saturdays: 6:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sundays 7:00 am - 3:00 pm

Mondays to Saturdays: 6:00 am- 8:00 pm or until supplies last
Sundays: 5:00 am - 3:00 pm or until supplies last

There's not much to eat here if you're vegetarian, but it's still a cool place to hang out. We just ordered their famous Pan de Sal (bread of salt) and Sago Con Yelo (banana with milk and ice). You can also order omelet but they only serve it during breakfast hours. The prices are very affordable.

Pan de Sal - P5.50 each
Iced Tea - P15.00
Sago Con Yelo - P20.00
Mango Shake - P25.00

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Cafe Kapitan (Sentrong Pangkultura ng Marikina) and Around

WHERE: Sentrong Pangkultura ng Marikina, JP Rizal Street, Sta. Elena, Marikina City
DATE OF TRAVEL: August 28, 2010

1. It was the house of Don Laureano Guvera (more commonly known as Kapitan Moy), the founder of Marikina's shoe business.

2. Shoemaking was made in Kapitan Moy's house, therefore, it was also the first shoe house of Marikina.

3. It is a 200-year old house that definitely has a lot of history. It was not only the first shoe house nor the house of the person who gave birth to the shoe industry in Marikina; it also became a place for the underprivileged and poor residents of Marikina. Dona Teresa dela Paz bought the house from Kapitan Moy and turned it into a place to serve the needs of the marginal sector of the community. It also became a primary school!

FEES: None, but there are two restaurants inside: Cafe Kapitan Restaurant and Cocina


1. Kapitan Moy supposedly discovered the art of shoemaking by buying a pair of leather shoes from Europe and did reverse engineering. :)

2. The two people in the statue in front of Plaza Kapitan are Kapitan Moy and Tiburcio Eustaquio.

3. Early in 1993, Mayor Bayani F. Fernando met with the officers of the Marikina Valley Heritage Foundation, Inc. and the Historical Zone Commitee in 1995 to restore this house and make it a place for culture and the arts. An ordinance was passed by the Municipal Council renaming the place "Sentrong Pangkultura ng Marikina".

Cafe Kapitan is a 200 year old house that belonged to the Guevara Family. Don Laureano, the son of Jose Emiterio Guevara and Matea Mariquita started the shoemaking business here in 1887 with the help of Tiburcio Eustaquio, Ambrocio Sta. Ines and Hervacio Carlos. Don Laureano thought of making shoes as a response to the reality that not all men had interest in farming and a lot of people didn't have jobs. He didn't want to see his countrymen being idle and doing nothing. With a pair of shoes brought home from Europe, he opened the shoe part by part and discovered how it was made. This began the shoe business in Marikina that is now what it is known for.

Cafe Kapitan now houses two restaurants: Cafe Kapitan Restaurant and Cocina. It is also a venue for seminars, conventions and other events. The Bulwagang Bayani, located on the 2nd floor, is fully air-conditioned and can house 400-450 guests. The Plaza Kapitan may also be rented for different occasions.

ADDRESS: J.P. Rizal Street, Sta. Elena, Marikina City

Cafe Kapitan Restaurant - +632 6464303
Cultural Affairs Office - +632 6461823/ +632 6462360 local 221/

We tried Cafe Kapitan Restaurant and ordered the following:
Garlic Mushroom (good for two) - P125
Garlic Rice - P35
Iced Tea - P48
Coke - P38
There are other (few) vegetarian food you can order such as bread, french fries and egg.

If you're already in Cafe Kapitan, might as well walk around the area to see other interesting places. Right beside Cafe Kapitan on JP Rizal street is an old house owned by the Piquintos. Right across this house is another beautiful old house (JP Rizal corner Kapitan Moy). Walk along Kapitan Moy and you will see Our Lady of the Abandoned Parish Cemetery on your left. Go inside to see a nice mausoleum and a basketball court in the middle of the gravestones. There's also a bird house here so expect to see pigeons resting or hanging out. ;) Once you're done, head back to JP Rizal Street and cross to the other side of Cafe Kapitan. It's a narrow street (where a beautiful yellow and red old house stands) that is said to be one of the first settlements of the Marikina people since it is near the riverbank. This street makes you feel like you're back in time. When you're done appreciating the small details of the houses and the narrow alleys, go back to the patio of Cafe Kapitan and walk straight to the Shoe Museum (in Isabelo Street). Once you're done adoring the shoes, you can say a little prayer in the church nearby or eat at our friend's yummy restaurant in Isabelo Street called Isabelo's Garden Restaurant! This restaurant is only by reservation so make sure to call ahead of time. :)

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jesus De La Pena Church, Marikina City

WHERE: Jesus De La Pena Church, Marikina City
DATE OF TRAVEL: August 28, 2010
1. It is the oldest church in Marikina City.
2. The first mass in Marikina was held here.

FEES: None

NOTE: This church was obviously restored. The inside, according to our friend who used to hear mass here, looked pretty much like the facade of the church. It isn't like that now today.

The Jesus Dela Pena Church is the very first church in Marikina City and the first mass was held here because the Jesuit missionaries supposedly saw an image of Jesus in a cliff somewhere in this area. Then a storage room, a church was built on this site on April 16, 1630 with the permission of Father Pedro de Arce, then archbishop of Manila.

ADDRESS: Zamora Street, Barangay Jesus Dela Pena, Marikina City

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Blind Massage Site, Marikina Riverbanks

WHERE: Blind Massage Site, Marikina Riverbanks, Marikina City

DATE OF TRAVEL: August 28, 2010

1. It's cheap and good massage!
2. We get to help the blind people by providing them with jobs.

FEES: P90 for 30 minutes, P180 for an hour

1. If you give P100 or P200 bills, they will not give you change anymore.


This massage site is actually a small room filled with monoblocks and blind massage therapists. They are trained by the Blind Luzvimin Livelihood Program. For P180, (plus tip) you get an hour massage (head, arms, legs and back) while seated on a monoblock. Comfortable beds with dim lighting must not be expected here, but if you're looking for a good massage after a tiring day, this is just as perfect.


It's right by the door of Marikina Riverbanks Mall's covered parking (Parking is P25.00 - flat rate). It's near Off Price Mart.

CONTACTS: +63922 698 2649

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World's Largest Pair of Shoes, Marikina

WHERE: At the Marikina Shoe Gallery of Riverbanks Mall, Marikina City, Metro Manila
DATE OF TRAVEL: August 28, 2010

1. It is officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest pair of shoes in the world and it right here in the Philippines!


1. During the Ondoy typhoon in Metro Manila (September 26, 2009), this pair of shoes "swam" out of the window. Good thing the shoes didn't go straight to the Marikina river!
2. The design of the shoes is patterned after the pair of shoes that Don Laureano Guevarra (more commonly known as Kapitan Moy) brought home from Europe. This is pair that is "responsible" for the birth of Marikina's shoe industry because Kapitan Moy supposedly studied this pair through reverse engineering and began making shoes.

The shoes measure 529 centimeters long and 327 centimeters wide. It is made of genuine leather and it can fit 30 people inside! Built in 2002, it took 77 days to make the pair. The materials used for this pair can actually make 250 regular-sized shoes.

Just go to Marikina Riverbanks and head the Riverbanks Mall. It is right inside the Marikina Shoe Gallery.

Marikina City is near Quezon City, Pasig City and Antipolo City.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Villa Amor Resort, Samar

WHERE: Villa Amor Resort, Biri Island, Northern Samar
DATE OF TRAVEL: July 2-5, 2010

It's one of the best resorts in Biri Island! Their hammocks are perfect for relaxation, the sunset is beautiful and the owner's kayak may be borrowed if you want some adventure!


P1,200/ 3 for the main cottage with aircon, P500 for non-aircon rooms

Biri Island doesn't have much shore (wake up early if you want to experience it!) but the sea in front of the resort is still great for swimming. Biri Island has an electricity schedule so there's no electricity from 12am-12nn. This resort has a generator, though.

Villa Amor is the new name of Villa Sunset Resort. It is located 5-10 minutes away from the Biri Island pier and 10-15 minutes away from the famous Biri Rock Formations. It is named after the owner who is a native of Biri and is now residing in Australia with her husband and children. This resort has aircon and non-aircon rooms and a small sari-sari store.

Fly/ Ride a boat to Catarman/ Calbayog. From Calbayog, take a jeep/ bus to the town of Allen (P80/head) and from there take a tricycle to the town of Lavezares (P100/trike). From Lavezares, hire a boat going to Biri Island. A special trip costs P400 for a 30-45 minute boat ride. Once your boat lands, ask a habal-habal (motorcycle) driver to take you to Villa Amor Resort. It costs around P20 per head.

Villa Amor Resort - +63930 3825788

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Dive: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

WHERE: Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro
BEST TIME TO GO: anytime as long as there are no typhoons/ strong rains


1. Puerto Galera is one of the best diving spots in the Philippines! It has diverse marine (read: soft and hard corals are all over!) and plant life, wrecks to explore and a lot of challenging dive sites (read: deep, drift, washing machine!)
2. According to, Puerto Galera has an estimated 3,000 species of fish and marine life, about 50% more than the Red Sea!
3. While Verde Island (center of the center of marine biodiversity in the world!) is part of Batangas province in Luzon, it is nearer the island of Puerto Galera. Verde Passage separates Luzon from Mindoro hence the strong currents that create a vast marine and underwater plant life. Day dives to Verde Island from Puerto Galera are very possible and considered usual.

FEES: Depends on the resort you're staying at or your dive operator.

NOTE: Most dive operators are located in Sabang beach. If you're after a beautiful beach (with shorelines and white sand) or fancy resorts, Sabang is not the place for you. It is basically a jump-off point for scuba divers. You can try the other islands such as White Beach if you want to combine diving with other activities. For a list of the different islands and resorts, click this.

Puerto Galera is an island off the coast of Batangas and is officially part of Oriental Mindoro. Beach lovers as well as scuba divers spend weekends here because of the proximity and the beauty of the place. Home to several islands, one can choose a resort that would best accommodate one's needs since a lot of activities may be done here. Swimming, snorkeling, beach volleyball, scuba diving, mountain trekking -- name it, it's probably offered here.

Scuba divers stay at Sabang beach since it is the nearest beach to most of the dive sites. There is nothing much to do here but it's a great jump-off point if the only thing in your itinerary is diving. White beach on the other hand, is famous for its wide and long white sand and the nightlife. If you're looking forward to mingling with the crowd and strolling on the seashore, White beach is for you. Marco Vincent Dive Resort is located on White beach and has recently launched a grandiose dive boat that is perfect for a large number of scuba divers. Other resorts such as Oceana, Buri and Coco Beach prefer to stay in the quieter islands but they also offer Puerto Galera's best feature: Scuba Diving.

There are several ways to reach Puerto Galera. Some hotels in Puerto Galera arrange pick-ups all the way from Manila so make sure to check with your preferred resort.

BY PUBLIC BUS: Take a bus to Batangas City and find your way to Batangas City Pier. Jam Bus Line plies this route. From the pier, there are several ferries that will take you to Puerto Galera. Make sure you know which beach you're going because ferries dock in the different piers like Muelle Pier, Balatero Pier, White Beach and Sabang Beach. Bus fare is P175/ head (w/ aircon) and it leaves almost anytime of the day. Ferry prices range depending on your chosen "class". It should be around P200 or less. Once you get to the pier, you can ride a jeepney (P25) or tricycle (P50). Click here for the ferry schedule.

BY TOURIST BUS: Sikat Service has a bus that departs daily at 8:00 am from City State Tower, Mabini corner Padre Faura Streets, Malate, Manila. The fare is P700 one way and it includes bus and ferry tickets plus a guide. No minimum number of persons required and it can take you to either Sabang, White Beach or Muelle Pier.

BY CAR: From Manila, find you way to Batangas City Pier and take the RORO (roll on, roll off ferry) if you wish to take your vehicle with you all the way to Puerto Galera. You can also park it in Batangas if you don't want to bring your vehicle along.
Click here for the ferry schedule.

BY BOAT: Some dive resorts in Anilao, Batangas (check our Anilao link) offer daytrips to Puerto Galera for scuba divers. During a calm, sunny weather, the Verde Passage may be crossed without difficulty. Some also offer overnight packages. Check with your preferred resorts (or dive groups) if they have arranged trips or they can arrange one for you. You can even pass by Bonito Island on the way back.

DIVE SPOTS WE'VE TRIED & TOTALLY ENJOYED: Hole in the Wall, Sabang Wreck, Canyons, Sinandigan Wall (aka Nudibranch City) and of course, Verde Island :)

Sikat Tourist Bus - +632 5213344/ +63917 6946918
Jam Bus Line (location: Taft Avenue or Timog corner EDSA, QC) - +632 9251758, +632 5208679


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Haven Of Fun Resort, Samar

WHERE: Haven Of Fun, Dalupiri, San Antonio Island, Northern Samar
DATE OF TRAVEL: July 2-5, 2010

1. The beach resort is very laid back! It is a perfect place if you really want to relax.:)
2. The weather is so nice. The nipa cottages with beach chairs is an excellent spot for those who want to read a book, reflect and/or listen to the waves.:)
3. The water is soooooooo clear, and it's salty enough to actually make you more bouyant. Imagine how fun snorkeling is without having to wear vests (rent is P100) and still float for a looooong time. There aren't too many coral reefs but the marine life is rich!:) We tested feeding the fish with bread and guess what? They swam away and didn't mind the bread. Yehey! :)

P1,350/3 for a beach front cottage with aircon and TV (overnight)
P400 for a special boat trip from the Lavezares town pier

The locals of Samar actually call this resort "HAH-VEHN" (yes, as in have + en) so if you pronounce it as hay-ven, they may not understand you. :P

1. From Calbayog/ Catarman, find your way to the town of Victoria.
2. Go to the pier of Lavazares and ask where the dock of Haven of Fun resort is. From the pier, you can walk it or ride a pedicab (P3.00)
3. You can wait for the boat to be filled up or you can ask for a special trip. One way costs P400.00 for special trips.

Haven of Fun Resort - +63917 3276594/


We didn't know much about this resort because our goal was to go to Biri Island. But after a day in Biri, we decided it was time to explore another place and all the locals we talked to just had one place in mind: HAVEN OF FUN!

"Sobrang ganda dun!" ("It's so nice there!"), they would say. It must be their "Boracay", we thought, and so we decided to leave Biri Island and when we reached Lavezares, we took a tricycle all the way to Victoria and then a pedicab ride to the port of Haven of Fun Resort.

Not really knowing what to expect, this resort turned out to be a sweet surprise. It is no Boracay in terms of the shore and the sand, but it is charming in its own, special way.

The water was beautiful. The temperature was warm enough and the water was salty enough to make us really bouyant. Boy, did we enjoy snorkeling all day! Too bad our underwater camera came to its final rest so we weren't able to record any of our underwater fun, but that didn't make our activity less exciting. The fish were so "friendly", they didn't seem to mind that we were there. Apparently, we tested them by giving them our leftover bread and they turned out ignoring it! Wonderful!

The sand wasn't so smooth so we couldn't lie down on it for some tanning and reading. But this wasn't really a problem since this challenge was already solved! The nipa cottages with beach chairs and tables turned out to be a perfect hang-out place! We spent most of our time there reading, chatting and eating --all while enjoying the sea breeze that only made us wish we could stay longer.

Their rooms were okay...The beds weren't so comfortable, the aircon wasn't so cold and the bathroom was small, but it was clean and that mattered more for us. San Antonio is also one of the islands in Samar that actually has an electricity schedule, so there was no electricity by 6:00 am but it was okay because it was breezy even though the sun was really out and it was a perfect excuse to snorkel yet again. :)

We truly enjoyed our stay here. It was like having our own little paradise. Sure the rooms aren't fancy, there's no nightlife and the sand isn't so smooth, but it has a charm of its own that makes you want to stay longer and live the "beach" life. ;)

1. Bring snorkeling gear if you have plans of snorkeling! They only have a handful of snorkeling gears and they aren't so nice.
2. Make sure to bring mosquito repellent when you hang out by the beach.
3. Call ahead of time if you want to go here because sometimes, they are full of guests as this is where corporations hold their team buildings, conventions, etc.
4. Pronounce it as HAH-VEN and the locals will surely know what you're talking about!
5. If you can, take the special boat trip because sometimes, the commuter boat is so loaded and may prove to be unsafe. The trip going here is not an easy one. The currents are pretty strong.
6. If you are vegetarian, there's not much you can order. Ask them to cook vegetables (they have chop suey) for you, without the broth/ meat powder/ seasoning.

Click here for more...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Biri Island, Samar

WHERE: Biri Island, Northern Samar

DATE OF TRAVEL: July 2-5, 2010

1. This island has one of the most amazing rock formations in the Philippines!:)
2. It is not a usual tourist destination so it's pretty much untouched and definitely not commercialized. :)


It depends on your habal-habal driver (you can also drive it yourself or you can just trek). We paid P150/ head from our resort (about 15 minutes away) and it included a habal-habal ride plus guide to the rock formations. A representative of Biri's local government unit will collect a small fee (P30) and ask you to register your name.

This is one of the most amazing places we've seen in the Philippines!:)

TRIVIA: According to someone we met in Samar, it was the director Chito Rono (who is originally from Samar) who discovered this island. He shot his film Spirit Warriors here.

Biri Island is part of a cluster of islands in Northern Samar. It is known for its beautiful rock formations. It is part of the San Bernardino Strait, the strait that divides Luzon and Visayas and is mainly responsible for the water movement in the Visayas so you can imagine how ferocious and treacherous the waves can get here during bad weather. But this heavy pounding of the Pacific ocean coupled with the strong currents is responsible for scultpting the beautiful scenery that Biri Island is now known for. The most famous rock formations are Magasang and Bel-ot.

From Manila, we flew to Calbayog, Samar. You can also fly from Catarman, Samar and find your way to Allen. We rode the jeep (P80/head) from Calbayog to Allen and it took 2.5 hours! There are also buses that ply between Calbayog and Allen. When you get to the town of Allen, ride a tricycle (P100) going to Lavezares and from there ride a boat (P400/3) to Biri Island. The boat ride took about 45 minutes. To get to the rock formations, just ask habal-habal (motorcycle) drivers to take you to Magasang rocks.

Ronie Enteria (our habal-habal driver) +63939 2923281


1. When you get to the rocks, make sure to climb high to get a scenic view of the ocean and the small pools of water surrounding the rock formations.
2. It is an off-the-beaten track destination and is not yet commercialized (thank God!) so don't expect souvenir shops or organized tours here. The Do-It-Yourself (DIY) style of going around this island makes it even more charming.

3. Bring binoculars if you can because there are a lot of birds in the area.

4. There's no food nor water sold here so if you plan to stay long, bring your own food and water and PLEASE clean up after your own trash.

5. Wear shoes instead of slippers. The rocks (which are constantly exposed to water) are slippery and sharp!

6. The best time to go is in the afternoon around 4:30-5:00 pm when the sun isn't so hot anymore and it's low tide. On a good day, you can view the majestic Mt. Bulusan (Sorsogon).

7. Make sure to check the weather before going there. Like we mentioned, Biri is part of the strait that divides Luzon and Visayas hence the strong currents. It was sunny when we went there but there were areas when the currents were so strong we could actually see them from the boat! If you go when the weather is bad, it would be too hard or impossible to cross to Biri.

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Calbayog City, Samar

WHERE: Calbayog City, Northern Samar

DATE OF TRAVEL: July 4-5, 2010

1. It is one of the cheapest cities in the Philippines when it comes to traveling! For only P3.00, you get a pedicab ride, and for P5.00, you get to eat ice cream!

2. Since pedicabs are pretty much the mode of transportation here, the sound of jeepney horns and tricycle motors are almost non-existent hence it creates a "peaceful" feeling and it makes you feel like you're back in time.

3. It is a jump-off point for Samar's varied attractions!

4. It is known as the City of Waterfalls in Visayas!

NOTE: ERROR in our picture! It should be Calbayog (not Samar), the City of Waterfalls & Pedicabs!

Calbayog City is part of Samar province (western area) and is near Northern Samar. It started as a small settlement that was assigned to the Jesuit missionaries. Jesuit Chroniclers, as early as the 17th century, have written about Calbayog and its people. Ibatan, Hibatang and Tiayban are some of the former names of this city. From a small city, it became a pueblo or town. Several villages called visitas flourished and Calbayog became a religious center. In 1878, Calbayog was hit with a cholera epidemic and it killed half of the total population.

Today, Calbayog is a thriving city filled with pedicabs and friendly people. Everything is close to the town and one pedicab ride can take you to the different cafes and small restaurants in the city or right in the middle of their busy street Magsaysay Boulevard.

We stayed at I's Plant Hotel (P1,200/night for 3 - with a/c and tv) and it offered typical but comfortable rooms and it has its own restaurant. Your payment also includes an airconditioned van ride to take you back to Calbayog Airport.

For a list of other accommodations, click on this.

Carlos N' Carmelos (Magsaysay Boulevard) for their fruit shakes (Avocado shake for only P20!) and Pizza (for only about P200!)
Isla Coffee

Fly from Manila to Calbayog via Philippine Airlines, Airphil Express, Cebu Pacific or Zest Airlines. From there, hire a tricycle that will take you to the city proper. Expect to pay around P90-P100 for one tricycle (private hiring).

Address: JPR Subdivision, Brgy Obrero, Calbayog City
Telephone Number: +6355 2091108

1. The pedicab rate within the city is only P3.00!!!

2. If you want to go to the jeep/ bus terminal which is outside already, expect to pay P8.00.

3. Go to the City Tourism and Information Office (city proper) to ask for help.

4. If you have time (the markets were closed when we went!:(), go to the public market or even better to Basey, Samar to buy Samar's best product: WOVEN MATS or BANIGS! They cost a lot here in Manila and trust us, they make the best BANIG in the Philippines!

5. Calbayog is known as the City of Waterfalls in Visayas, so make sure to visit at least one!

6. Samar is also home to a lot of caves, so if you have time, explore them!

Click here for more...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dive: Anilao, Batangas

WHERE: Anilao, Batangas

BEST TIME TO GO: all year round :)


1. If you're coming from Metro Manila, Anilao is one of the nearest areas where you can really enjoy scuba diving. That means you can actually do a day trip and if ever you decide to stay overnight, you'll actually get to spend more time on the resort and underwater than be stuck on the road.

2. Anilao is filled with dive sites which offer varied marine life. The Philippines is home to about 75% of the total marine species, that's why it's no wonder that we have seen A LOT of interesting animals and plant life in Anilao. From planktons to small shrimps to clownfish aka "Nemo" to tunas to sharks to all sorts of rays to Napoleon Wrasse to our favorite, sea turtle (or as we call it, PAWIKAN). According to our dive friends, whalesharks are starting to appear in the area as well.

3. It is cheap if you're going with a group since you can all share in the Divemaster/ Dive Instructor fees as well as the boat.

4. Anilao = BEAUTIFUL SUNSET. Try staying in Dive & Trek and make sure you're on land when the sun sets. Trust us, it's beautiful!

Depending on the resort, day trips (with 2-3 dives) can range from P2,000-P3,500 and overnight stay with 4 buffet meals start at around P2,750. Rates vary depending on the resort. Resorts like Aquaventure, Balai Anilao, Planet Dive and Dive & Trek offer affordable rates, Pier Uno, Outrigger and Vistamar (if you want a resort each and every family member can enjoy, stay here) have mid-range rates and resorts like Acacia, Eagle Point and Portulano offer high-end services. Day trippers are also charged with entrance fees that are usually consumable.

1. If you are a small group (2-3), Anilao may not be the best dive destination for you if you're on a tight budget. Maximum number of people for each boat is 6 for a small boat (plus DM and bangkero) and 10 for a big boat. The rates won't change even if your group has less people. You can of course dive with "strangers" and make new friends. :)

2. The style for most of the resorts in Anilao is this: they offer buffet meals (1 for day trip, 4 for overnight) as part of their package. If you have special food requests, make sure to let the resort know. For us vegetarians for example, the buffet style isn't really a treat but waste of money. Call ahead of time so they can make special arrangements for you. :)

3. While Anilao is rich in marine life, we noticed that compared to the less visited underwater sites in the Philippines, the marine life are generally smaller and they are "scared" of people. They usually swim away quickly the moment they "hear" you coming close. Some divers have also done harm
to the marine environment such as vandalism, touching of marine life (especially the poor puffer fish), pointing of flash towards the poor animal's eyes during night dives and destruction of coral reefs (intentionally and unintentionally). If ever you decide to visit Anilao, please be a careful and responsible diver. One small change underwater can bring about a huge effect on the whole ecosystem. :)

4. Dive Sites You Shouldn't Miss: Mainit (If you want to see sharks, dive here at around 6-7 am), Bahura (beautiful corals and seascape), Koala's, Steps (easy to navigate and is home to unusual kinds of fish), Beatrice, Twin Rocks, Kirby's Rock, Basura (do a night dive here to see unusual marine life) :)

5. If you're bringing a car, take note of the steep and narrow roads going "down" to your resort. Since a lot of resorts are located on the hillside and the rooms/ dining area/ diving area are located WAY downhill, you will be asked to park in the middle area then use the steps to go to the "shore" or diving area. This means you have to climb back up as there are no elevators. Fortunately, some resorts like Vistamar don't give you this challenge. They have wide roads and ample parking space. Resorts like Dive & Trek on the other hand offer a free boat ride to bring you to their resort.

Anilao is a barangay in Mabini town, Batangas. One stretch of road houses most of the resorts of Anilao. With their fast increasing number, you will never run out of places to stay!

Also known as the "mecca" of scuba divers, it is a great place to go if you're a water baby. Sports like sailing and windsurfing are also offered here, and of course, you can snorkel if you don't scuba dive!

Because of its proximity to Manila, it is also a popular destination for day trippers or a weekend getaway for sea lovers. While Anilao is great for underwater and on-water activities, it may not be the best destination if you're looking forward to relaxing under the sun as there are no "beaches". There are different kinds of "beach hang-out places" like beach chairs and nipa huts and an amazing sunset to make up for it, though.

Anilao's waters are generally warm and is perfect for diving. A wetsuit, not a dry one, is what you need for diving. From late November to around February, the water gets a bit cooler but still warm enough for you to enjoy your dive.

Anilao is about 3 away from Manila but it can take longer if you leave late (the traffic gets bad in South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) and some parts of Batangas) so make sure to wake up early and enjoy the beautiful morning scenery of Anilao. :)


There are a number of ways to get to Anilao. Click on this for the different directions if you're bringing a private vehicle.

For commuters, you can take the bus going to "Batangas City" from Buendia terminal then ask the driver to drop you off at the Bauan Jeepney terminal. Ask the jeepney driver to take you directly to your resort (if possible) or head to the Mabini dock and from there, hire a driver to bring you to your chosen resort.

Dive & Trek Resort, our favorite! - +63920 9064123 (Resort Supervisor-Allan)/ +639176694273 (Resort-Cora)/ +63917 4042973 (Resort-Myrna)/ (02) 8514123 (Booking Office)/ (02) 8320494 (Booking Office)

Ricky Baccay - +63917 8188806
Janet Bellarmino - +63918 5045220
Paul "Pong" Villaroman - +63917 8990618
Jojo Ng - +63918 9005812
Dong Fergara - +63917 8226333


JA Reano - +63917 8388568 (note: If you want to see turtles, contact this guy!)
Abet - +63919 5797402 (note: If you want to see sharks, contact this guy!)
Allan - +63917 9708007 (note: Abet's cousin who's also good in spotting pelagic marine life)

* Most resorts offer equipment rental, but if you want to get your gears cheaper (P300 for BCD & regulator for daytrip-return the next day), rent from Ellen of Diver's Point. :)

Ellen Chua (Metro Manila) - +632 7253631/ +63918 9203323


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Filipino = Tagalog?:)

A lot of people use the terms Tagalog and Filipino interchangeably to refer to the Philippines's National Language.

However, a distinction must be made between them. Filipino is made up of a lot of Tagalog words, but it is not equal to Tagalog. Filipino, which is our National Language, is Tagalog plus other languages like Cebuano, Hiligaynon and even broken Spanish!

Take for example the Filipino words for blue and green. While we accept the terms azul and berde (broken Spanish terms) as Filipino words, the Tagalogs would insist on using bughaw and luntian. Salumpwit may now be called silya (silla), durungawan may now be called bintana (from ventana) and talatinigan may now be called diksyunaryo.

Similarly, words like tindig (hopefully, we remember what our Prof said, correct us if we are wrong!) are derived from Cebuano, not the Tagalog language because the Tagalog term for tindig would be tayo.

Feel free to add more words here that came from the different Philippine languages and now make up the Filipino language. :)

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Have You Heard of the P & F DePect?:)

Have you ever heard of Filipinos say "frayer" and "breakpast"? A lot of us might laugh at the thought of the usual "Pilifino depect", but hold up! Don't laugh yet. One way to explain this is that our original language (including our Alpabetong Pilipino) did not have the letter "F" and was only introduced to us by the Westerners.

No wonder a lot of English words with F (or the F sound) in them become P when translated to Filipino or Tagalog. Some examples would be kwalipikasyon (qualification), pabor (favor), epekto (effect), alpabeto (alPHabet) and of course, Pilipino (Filipino).

What's even more puzzling is that our National Language is called Filipino and our country is called Philippines. Could it be because as some historians would say, there was no "Philippines" before the Westerners came? Maybe, but still, for a group of non-F speaking people joined together by foreigners, it's still quite ironic, isn't it?

Now, better think twice before lapping!:P

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Kubing, A Philippine Treasure :)

Did you know that the first instrument used in the theme song of Lonely Planet is an instrument from a bamboo found among many groups of the Philippines including the Maguindanaon, Maranao, Cotabato, Tingguian, Tagbanua and Yakan as well as the Toraja, Kailinese and Butonese groups of Indonesia?

It is a kind of Philippine jew's harp that is considered an intimate instrument as it is used as a form of communication between family members or a loved one in close quarters. While both sexes use this instrument, the males tend to use it more because they use it for short distance courtships.

Found all over the Philippines, kubing is called in different terms. It's called Kulaing in Cotabato, Subing in Visayas, Barmbaw among the Tagalogs, Kollibaw among the Negritos, Kinaban among the Mangyans, Afiw among the Bontocs and Coding among the Ibalois and Kalingas.

To hear how a kubing sounds like, click this. :)

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