Tag Archives: snorkelling

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

Revisiting the Marine Gardens of Lobo

Revisiting the Marine Gardens of Lobo
by Danny Tariman

My family had been to this beach front resort a few months back. We liked the beautiful marine garden which is just a few meters from the shoreline.

This time, we planned to stay overnight to have more time to enjoy the beach, the underwater marine gardens, and the sea breeze in the evening.

The pristine marine gardens just few meters from the shore.
The pristine marine gardens just few meters from the shore.

It was a much easier drive from the city: we passed by South Luzon Expressway, continued our highway drive via CSTEx (Calamba-Sto Tomas Expressway) and on to the STAR Tollway. We exited at Ibaan. From the highway, we turned left to Ibaan town then left to a “less-known” road to Lobo.

We liked this route: only few cars pass by this secondary road to Lobo. From Ibaan town, it took us only 1 hour flat to Lobo town, which is about 30-45 minutes travel time savings compared to Batangas City route.

Along this route, we passed by La Farge cement plant. From here, it was all zigzag up to the town proper. [There is also a long zigzag road via Batangas City.]

The Lobo beach in the morning.
The Lobo beach in the morning.

Leaving our home at 12:30pm, we arrived almost 3:30pm because of a funeral convoy we passed along the road, which slowed down our travel by about 30 minutes.

We were welcomed by the homey smile of Lea, the resort administrator. [You may reach her by mobile phone at 0932-326-3390. Tell her you got the number from this blog.] Immediately after settling down, we were offered our afternoon snacks. Just the right timing because we were all famished from the quick early lunch we had and long trip.

We promptly went to explore the marine garden because it was low tide. It was just a few meters from the shore. It was an amazing sight: all sorts of corals – from soft to hard, in various shapes and colors. We enjoyed viewing these, with our son explaining to us the names and other details of each specie, while our daughter took photos.

My daughter snorkeling in the marine garden
My daughter snorkeling in the marine garden

We also saw a baby octopus, a clam which attached itself to a rock, and many others. Wow, it was like snorkeling in a knee-deep water! You don’t have to swim actually.

Before retreating from the shore and swimming, my son and I gathered some dried wood from the beach to be used for our bonfire later in the night.

Come evening, we had our dinner prepared by the resort’s restaurant. It was a plateful meal composed of chicken barbeque, mixed vegies, rice, and desert. Nice one!

After our dinner, my son and I started to fire the dried wood we gathered earlier, while my wife and my daughter prepared the sausages and marshmallows on stick for roasting on the bonfire.

The bonfire was another experience for us family. While we enjoyed together cooking the sausages and mallows on “live fire”, we enjoyed much more eating it! Haha!

My family gathering around the bonfire,  broiling sausages
My family gathering around the bonfire, broiling sausages

Later in the evening, we strolled on the shore. The moon was very bright; it was almost full-moon. We took some night photos; thanks to my son’s SLR camera, the shots were really nice even without the flash, it fact it was much better shots!

An evening shot (no flash)  under the moon light.
An evening shot (no flash) under the moon light.

The following morning, the sea was so calm, and the water very cool. It was a lovely morning view!

After a quick breakfast of eggs, meat loaves, and fish, with hot coffee and hot choco drink, we immediately went back to the sea. This time, the sea was rising to its high tide. It was perfect for snorkeling!

We covered almost half of the width of the shoreline snorkeling at chest-level water. The underwater views was just great! The marine gardens we saw during low tide, were much more alive with fishes swimming around. Truly wonderful!

The beach just before sunset.
The beach just before sunset.

We withdrew from swimming at about 9 o’clock, and we just stayed on the shores until 10. I was just lazing on the sandy beach, enjoying the relaxing moments.

What a wonderful family time! Until next time, Lobo!

More of the marine garden
More views of the marine garden
Another shot of the beautiful underwater garden
Another shot of the beautiful underwater garden
A scenic view of the beach at night (photo taken without flash on an SLR)
A scenic view of the beach at night (photo taken without flash on an SLR)
Outdoor adventure, my family's favorite past time
Outdoor adventure, my family’s favorite past time
Close up shots of sea creatures taken from the marine garden
Close up shots of sea creatures taken from the marine garden