Tag Archives: diving

Family Snorkeling and Diving in Mabini

Family Snorkeling and Diving in Mabini
by Danny Tariman

It was a long weekend. My family usually looks forward to extended weekends so that we can go for our outdoor activities. We really love outdoors!

This particular weekend, we decided to just go for a day trip to one of Batangas’ famous shores for diving and snorkeling — the shorelines of the municipality of Mabini. Popular in this place is Anilao, the spot where the best underwater marine gardens are.

The view of Mabini snorkelling and diving area

While I and my wife were just lounging at the resort’s balcony which offers a good vantage view of Balayan Bay, our grown-up children were enjoying their free-diving. We later joined them in the dive area, but since I don’t know how to dive, I just enjoy seeing them go down to the deep and explore the beauty of corals and reef fishes.

My wife and I enjoyed our snorkeling, viewing the colorful corals under the sea. I was glad that my wife finally conquered her fear of the deep as we were really in the “deep”. Haha! She didn’t notice we can no longer step on the rocks; we were just floating with our life-vests.

Beautiful and colorful: coral formations in Balayan Bay

Come lunchtime, we prepared grilled tuna and pork chops. I did the cooking — on bare charcoal. This too, is an experience as I have to set it on fire with just match sticks and old newspaper. This is something that I seldom do in the city.

It was an enjoyable lunch for the family, as always! We always have fun and enjoy meals on banana leaves and use our bare hands to eat. And with the shore and the sea in front of us, wow, truly an appetizing ambiance for lunch.

My daughter going for the free dive.

We were told by local folks that there is a cave at the far right-end of the cove. And so in the afternoon, we trekked to the place, passing through pebble shoreline, and climbing rock formations. After about 15 minutes slow trek, we finally reached the “cave”. It was not really a cave but an arch — a rock, which by the pounding of waves through the years, had a huge hole punched through it. And so for me it was not a cave because we can pass through it from the front (facing the sea) to the back of the rock.

My family in front of the “cave”

We continued our snorkeling, while our children had their free-diving. It was a full-day of just enjoying the seas and the company of the family.

We drove back to the city, leaving the resort at about 4:30 in the afternoon. It was a surprisingly less-traffic drive. We reached the city in just about one-and-a-half hour drive. And just before we reached home, we dropped by Starbucks for a good sip of its famous coffee concoctions.

Really a great way to spend a weekend!

Capping the day with espresso coffee at Starbucks
The sunset view of Balayan Bay
Photo of our children taken from the top balcony of the resort
A rock formation at the right-end of the bay
Our son taking his free-dive
A coral formation at the snorkelling area

Diving & Snorkeling in Laiya’s Best Kept Secret Spot

Family Adventure
Diving & Snorkeling in Laiya’s Best Kept Secret Spot
by Danny Tariman

My kids were itching to have another dose of “vitamin sea” – that of going to a beach. We had searched the internet for a good location as we had been to most of the popular beaches in Batangas province. But this time, we are not settling for just the beach; we wanted to have a fairly secluded place not with many people, and a spot for diving and snorkeling.

The resort’s right side: this is the place where we had snorkeling and diving just few meters from the shore.

And so, this particular long weekend, we drove to Laiya in Batangas. Leaving the city at about 4:30 in the morning. We passed by SLEX toll way and STAR toll way exiting in Lipa, down to town of Rosario, leading to the municipality of San Juan where this resort is located.

Turning left from the main road, we passed thru a dirt road (not so rough though) for about 2km. When we reached the junction, we were greeted by a lush rustic narrow road going down to the beach. The entrance itself is “Instagramable”.

The resort’s rustic entrance, which looks like a tunnel covered by lush greens

Upon reaching the beach resort at about 7am, we were awed by its freshness – crystal clear waters, blue skies, clean small shoreline perfect for my family. It was a good match for us looking for some “private place”.

As planned, we had our breakfast at the beach. We took our food packs and had a good eat of fruits and buns. We brought our food without the usual corkage fee that other resorts charge. The resort has no restaurant, just a few covered tables lining the beachfront.

The main beachfront, good for swimming with kids

We learned from the caretaker that the owners would want to maintain just a few visitors on any day. Good for us because we also like to be in a place with only few people. The resort has simple yet clean bathrooms and toilets, with water taps.

Immediately, my children explored the seas. I and my wife soon followed. Wow, the water is so clean and clear, you can see the bottom clearly even at the depth of about 4 feet! We explored the right side where my family had a good snorkeling experience. You can see live corals, and an assortment of reef fishes.

The underwater marine gardens: full of life with an assortment of corals and fishes

Further to the reef is a deep basin where my kids had a “free diving” – that dive without the usual diving gears. My daughter had a “free diving” lesson in the city a few months back where she learned the techniques of free diving. I enjoyed watching my kids going down to the deep. Oh! I saw a big anemone, and of course, its inhabitant, clown fishes. My son saw a number of live clams too! Really wonderful place for diving, and snorkeling!

My daughter going for the free-dive at about 18 feet.

At about half past ten, we tried to explore the other side of the resort, the left. This is the place for beach bummers and for swimming. The beachfront is just around 80-100 meters wide, not sandy but is covered with small pebbles and broken corals. Good for us, we brought our aqua shoes, as it could be hurting our feet.

The leftmost point of the cove is a good distance to walk. We saw a lot of tourists on boat go to this point and we thought it was good exploring!

The right side of the cove: a good distance to explore, but worth the trek.

We passed by a trail, where beautiful rock formations lined the shoreline. We even had to go down again to the waters to shoot some photos. It was good. The sea water is so clear. And you can swim almost in private.

We continued our short trek – about 30 minutes, where we had at some point, decided to wade through the very tempting clear water. When we reached our destination – the end of the cove, there were a lot of tourists taking photos. After some photo-ops, we went back to the resort.

Back at the resort, our children grilled tuna jaws. Oh, we had more than enough of tuna flakes! So deliciously fresh! We ate with our bare hands of course, on plates lined with banana leaves! It was a very satisfying home-made meal.

Oh! I will always remember this super-delicious grilled tuna jaws

It was truly a wonderful experience at Johnny’s Resort. Our kids enjoyed, I and my wife enjoyed. And yes, we all enjoyed the snorkeling, the dive, and the crystal clear waters! We love the awesome underwater marine gardens! We will surely come back!

My son’s turn for the deep.
A family pic on our way to the left-side point. Note the crystal clear waters!
My family in one of the few native huts lining the shoreline
A family photo in front of the resort

The Gorgeous Marine Life of Anilao

The Gorgeous Marine Life of Anilao
by Danny Tariman

It was a long weekend, a good time to break free from the hassles and busyness of daily living in the city. This time, my family decided to go to one of the most famous diving spots near Metro-Manila: Anilao in Mabini town, Batangas, and explore the undersea beauty.

We left the city at about 7 in the morning and had a long drive via the South Luzon Expressway, then continued via Calamba-Sto Tomas Expressway, and finally passing through the Star Tollway. It was an easy drive running an average of 100kph up to Batangas City.

An awesome view of the sunset in Anilao photographed by my son.

From the city, we drove slowly though traffic in Bauan, and finally reaching Mabini. (You may check the Google Maps for the details of the road).

We reached the resort at about 10 o’clock in the morning. It was a long drive through traffic from Batangas City, but no complain because I enjoy driving with my family.

We checked-in at Arthur’s Place Diving Resort. It has nice and clean rooms at very affordable price. We were surprised, most of the resort’s guests were foreigners. I think we were the only group who were all Filipino. Haha! But don’t think that the room rates are expensive, because it is not. The meals at the resort were also good! All were reasonably-priced and offers a good variety.

Arthur's Place Diving Resort: simple & clean accommodation just fronting a diving spot.
Arthur’s Place Diving Resort: simple & clean accommodation just fronting a diving spot with the same name.

Immediately, our children took the beach and the sea. The resort was just in front of Arthur’s Place, one of the popular diving spots in the area; the reason why there were a number of boats filled with divers just in front of the resort.

Just a few meters from the shore is a good snorkeling area. The sea bed has a great bio-diversity of various marine creatures and fishes – it was all colorful. The place is really good for those who are afraid of the deep, because it is only about chest-level deep, at most. Make sure to wear aqua-shoes or any appropriate footwear to avoid any foot injury, as it got plenty of corals and live rocks.

I and my wife trying it out in the shallow portion of the snorkeling area.
I and my wife trying it out in the shallow portion of the snorkeling area.

The afternoon was really a good time to watch the sun sets down and hides in the horizon. The sky turned to amber and the view was simply glorious! I and my children took many different photo shots to capture the beautiful sunset.

A highlight of our trip was the dive to the deep. Wow, our children went down to 20 feet down the sea while I was just skimming the surface, taking the photos while they submerge. I was able to take many shots of colorful corals and fishes.

Colorful corals and fishes in the deep, as taken by my daughter.
Colorful corals and fishes in the deep, as taken by my daughter.

The most beautiful shots, though, were the ones taken by my daughter in the deep. An even more colorful marine scenery captured our imagination! While we were watching the video that she took during the dive we were all awed, you can literally hear the “”Ohs” and the “Ahs”! Haha! It was really great – bright colored corals and fishes, including the iconic clown fish popularly known as “Nemo”.

My daughter also spotted a giant clam down in the deep which she was able to capture in photo. She even touched the opening! Haha! Exciting indeed! My son also spotted a lion fish with its wide dorsal fins open! Truly elegant! Another one also saw a lobster! This was really an experience for all of us.

A giant clam spotted by my daughter in her dive of the deep.

Driving back home, we passed by a resto for lunch where we had the famous Batangas bulalo – a soupy dish of beef shank and vegies, slow cooked in low fire. The meat just peels off the bone!

Really a good time for our family! We certainly look forward to another dive in this wonderful diving resort.

My wife & me at the shores of Anilao.
My wife & me at the shores of Anilao.
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A “groufie” of my family at the resort.
A starry night at the shoreline of Anilao, as taken by my son.
Under-the-sea view, as taken by my daughter: colorful corals & fishes
Under-the-sea view, as taken by my daughter: colorful corals & fishes
Taken at the snorkeling area near the shores: even in shallow waters,  marine life is fantastic
Taken at the snorkeling area near the shores: even in shallow waters, marine life is fantastic
A diver in the deep, as taken by my daughter.
A diver in the deep, as taken by my daughter.