Thursday, February 28, 2013

Best day-off ever in Anilao

My friends at work has been longing for a short vacation together where we can have a great time bonding since most of have the same day-off schedules. One of them suggested to us to stay at their family resthouse in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas. It was a good idea since we’re looking an affordable trip vacation that is just near the metro. Actually, I don’t have much background about Anilao except that I know it is a fame diving destination in the country. I haven’t been there yet so I agreed to go on the trip. But never did I expect that this trip will one of my best travel trip of the year or shall I shall one of my best day-off ever from work!

Welcome to Anilao!
So when the date was set, we planned to go on the trip after our time-out from work. Our time-out was 1240 midnight. At 0140 in the morning, we started our road trip to Batangas via South Luzon Expressway. It was a long drive to south but I never get tired and bored during the entire 3 hour trip. The whole van inside was so alive with my co-workers never-ending laughs, stories, jokes and fun. It made the 3 hour drive shorter and bearable. We were so happy and there were no dull moments during the road trip. I realized that having friends while on travel has a different kind of fun compared on family or solo trips. But I’m not saying it is not fun or happier when you are with your family on trips but traveling with friends is one of the best traveling experiences you can have!

Dawn in Anilao...
Sunrise sky beauty of Anilao...
Morning rainbow.
Rocky shore...
At 0430H in the morning, we arrived at Bauan Public Market. Here, we bought our food that we will cook at the resthouse. Our arrival is just the right timing in the opening of the market stalls where most of the meat products have just freshly delivered. I and my co-workers who did the “pamamalengke” took a sip of Kapeng Batangas to energize our morning before we leave the market.

At 5 am, we reached the rest house just in time when the dawn is about to start. I hurriedly went to the front area to see the beach. It was a rocky beach but nevertheless it has a calm and scenic ocean view. I seated in one of the benches facing the sea to calm and relax myself after a 5 hour awake and no sleep. The dawn sky gave me a rewarding sight of a morning rainbow. I was surprised to see a rainbow early in the morning yet it let me sight a relief. Even I didn’t got to witness a good Anilao sunrise that morning, the rainbow among the morning sky was a great compensation. For me, it was a great view to motivate my first day in Anilao.

Mabini tourism office.
I think day-offs should be like this. It doesn’t have to be really grand or spend to a splurge hotel. Just be in an ideal place for vacation trips and don’t forget to bring best friends to make the trip memorable. Anilao is a two baranggay (Anilao Proper and Anilao East) located in the municipality of Mabini in Batangas. It is popular for divers and snorkelers for its waters are in rich marine life, coral garden sea beds and diversity of fishes. Though not popular for swimming for its rocky and coral beaches, visitors can rent boats to visit beach coves, find snorkeling/diving spots and do island hopping.

Anilao Beach.
We settled our things first before we cooked our breakfast to eat. After a few hours rest and no sleep at all we decided to do island hopping around nearby islands in Anilao which are all part of Tingloy municipality. I decided to push through with island hopping since we have nothing to do in following hours. Plus, I want to explore the beaches, islands and what it is to see around in Anilao. Everyone agreed since everyone is on day-off slash vacation mode. Of course, we haggled for a lower rate even we are a big group but I guess oil price hike really determines the rates.  After settling everything with the boatman and guides, we sailed away to the seas of Anilao onto its surrounding islands, coves and beaches.

The islands around Anilao...
A beautiful white beach cove along island hopping.
The marvelous sight that will welcome you in Puting Buhok Cove.
The white sand beach of Puting Buhok Cove.
We were reminded by the boat guides that each island in Tingloy has corresponding fees whenever we dock and stay so we have to choose which will gives an ultimate “summer experience” yet affordable for the whole group. The good thing is that we can choose which island to visit by checking it out and leave if we don’t like it. Actually, we don’t need to dock and visit every island because as the boat sailed through the sea one will already admire the beauty of the surrounding islands. I saw beautiful rock formation islands and gorgeous stretches of coves with white sand beaches. Most of the islands are not crowded by tourists and visitors which are perfect for solitary strolls, private escapade and photoshoots.

Puting Buhok Cove in panorama.
Our boat docked to a cove that welcomed us not only with its long stretch of white sand beach and turquoise waters but also its scenic verdant hill-like rock formation/karst that perfectly blends with the beach and the sea. The cove is called Puting Buhok Cove, named after the caretaker of the cove whose hair is fully white hair, hence the name of the cove which for me it is like a pun to the caretaker. Even though it’s scorching hot under the 12 noon sun, it didn’t stop us to explore the cove. There was a coral garden a few meters away from the boat docking area which some of my colleagues did snorkeling activity. As for me, I stayed with the others in a nipa hut for shade protection against the sun rays for a while first before exploring the island. Puting Buhok cove has a beautiful long stretch of white sand beach to stroll and swim. Though some parts of the beach are rocky, it was still perfect for swimming and snorkeling activity since a few meters from the shore is a coral garden. There are also some files of coral rock formations near the shore and a man-made bridge named Armis Bridge which was perfect spots for summer photoshoots. I did snorkeling and swimming before we leave the cove. And lots of souvenir photoshoots!

Armis Bridge in Puting Buhok Cove.
Gorgeous beach of Puting Buhok Cove.
Escape to Puting Buhok Cove's shoreline.
Snorkeling at Puting Buhok Cove.
The next island we hopped on is Sombrero Island, named after because of its shape is like a hat. Sombrero is the Filipino term for hat. We actually did not docked at the island since we will be collected with fees. What we did here is that the guide led us to an ideal snorkeling spot of the island where I saw beautiful and much-alive corals compare to Puting Buhok Cove. Present are colorful fishes as well. I won’t forget the giant blue starfish that I saw under the sea which my friends who snorkelled with me also saw it too. I was delighted to everything I saw under the waters of Sombrero Island. I stopped snorkeling when I felt that the current is becoming too strong already. We then circled around the island and thus, it gave us already a tour of it without having a dock on it! Sombrero Island had a small beach area and cautious swimming should be done as some parts ashore have sudden deep parts that one might not notice.

Secret cove?
Sombrero Island.
Snorkeling at Sombrero Island!
Closer approach to Sombrero Island.
By 3 pm, we returned again to the rest house to give rest to our tired bodies. Remember, we don’t have enough sleep plus a whole noon activity. As we prepare our dinner, I notice the sea front view by the rest house.   The cloudy sky hides the afternoon sun yet the escaping sun rays reflects to the surface of the sea creating a beautiful shimmering and illuminated ocean. This is the perfect time to practice my photography skills! So I took shots of the view while having a good conversation with a few of my friends. A few more minutes later, the sky and sea started to bath in golden yellow color. The time has come for me to witness the beautiful Anilao sunset slowly unfolding into my eyes. It was a gorgeous sunset and seascape scenery that I felt I become partially deaf for a moment to my colleagues’ call for dinner because of its magnificent beauty. I’m always drawn to sunsets and they are really best viewed by the beach or by the sea. As the sun sets down and I sat to watch it gone by, I reflected it as the most beautiful moment of the day in Anilao.

Moments before sunset...
Anilao seascape - perfect for testing your photography skills.
Moments before sunset...
I took the opportunity to sleep this time after dinner. I think I slept for only 3 hours when one of my friends woke me up because it was time to have booze on our first night in Anilao. Of course, I join with my friends at work to enjoy our night booze session filled with lots of shared stories, laughs, fun that later went down to cries, counselling and sharing our life dramas and drinks, of course! I admit that I was drunk that night but I had a lot fun bonding with my friends. At least, I didn’t vomit out of drunkenness! Wee! Until now, whenever I recall that night in Anilao, I laugh and smile at the same time. We had fun and jokes to each other but most especially I had a great time with my friends as here we get to learn and appreciate more about each other. Hmm... Does that mean beergin* sessions has a good effect, at least?  *beergin – beer and gin mixed liquor.

Awe moment.
Sunset drama...
Anilao sunset... breathtaking...
I think we finished the booze session with sharing our life dramas by 3 in the morning. It was only after that I get a decent sleep. The following morning, three of my colleagues tried snorkeling in the front beach of the rest house as a few meters from the shore there is already a coral garden teeming with rich marine life. After eating our breakfast, we get ready to flee out of Anilao, as one of my workmates has a duty to work at 3 pm. And so we leave Anilao by 10 am and arrive at the metro by pass 12 noon.

The casts of this best day-off ever in Anilao!
I felt exhausted after the trip. Now, my day-off is over. I’m bound to resume working the following day and return to my normal work life again. Yet, amidst all these, I realized that this is one day-off that I won’t forget! Not only I did have a quick vacation on my day-off to distress and relax and explore the beauty of Anilao but I got to spend this “best day-off” with my best buddies and friends at work. What I like best in this trip is that after having a memorable bonding together, we get to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s personality and uniqueness all the while in the sweet escapes of Anilao. Day-offs should be like this - stress-free, spend on a wonderful place, good share of stories, endless fun and great people to share this day-off with – that what makes the best day-off ever!

Best day-off ever in Anilao is my travel story about how did I spend my day-off last November 19 and 20, 2012 in Anilao, Mabini, Batangas where I get to have short trip and quick vacation to Batangas with my friends at work who happens we have the same day-off schedules. We planned to have an ultimate bonding experience by spending a worthy and relaxing day-off in Anilao where one of my colleagues has a family rest house. This is one of the best trips I had with friends which made me dubbed this trip as my best day-off ever!
This is my last travel trip of the year 2012. 


  1. cool story, it adds up to the beauty of Anilao. Keep blogging sir! love ur blog! :)

    Jan Ashlee

  2. Hi! San exactly in anilao yung puting buhok cove? Thanks

  3. Your photos only proved one thing, that Philippines is truly a blessed paradise! Keep traveling!

  4. @Anonymous March 29, 2013 6:53 PM: Anilao is the jumpoint of Puting Buhok Cove.

    @Arlyne: Thanks for dropping by! Come again and read some of my other travel stories too.

  5. Do you know if pwede mag overnight camp sa puting buhok island or other islands?thanks

  6. @Anonymous April 29, 2013 7:24 AM: I think pwede pati sa ibang islands basta bayaran lang yung entrance fee or overnight fee at ipaalam lang sa caretaker ng bawat island. I know na pwede kasi everyday may visitors ang mga island hindi mga local Filipino travelers pati foreigners din lalo na yung mga divers.

  7. Hello Ian! I'm looking for another beach just near the metro and Anilao seems to beckon me!

    Great photos! :-)

  8. @Pondering Paodaolei: Anilao has greater beaches in its surrounding islands. It is also popular for snorkeling and diving especially.

    Thanks for reading!

  9. hi! do you have any contact number of the boatman there? pls post. we're planning to explore the puting buhok cove soon. hope to hear any from you. tnx

  10. @Anonymous May 14, 2013 10:58 PM: I'll try to reply to you once I get the number because we just got the number from the caretaker of the resort. Most of the boatmen were affiliated with local tourism office so it also good to contact them as well.

  11. hi! your pictures look convincing! Can you tell me what is the name of the resort where u stayed?Looking forward to your reply.Thank you!
    You're a great travel blogger! Keep it up!


    1. Unfortunately, we stayed on a rest house owned by the family of one my colleagues which is sold now to another owner.

  12. how much yung cost ng boat ride papuntang sombrero island? :)

    1. If I remember it was 1,500-2000 per boat with a capacity of 12-14 passenger. It was quite pricey that is the standard in Anilao. Plus don't forget that there are entrances per head in each island. In Sombrero, it was 150PHP per head.

  13. Hi! fyi lang po..those islands don't belong to Anilao. it's in TINGLOY, Btangas, a different municipality in Batangas. :)

    1. Thanks for the info. I researched it and found that all surrounding islands at Mabini belong to the municipality of Tingloy. Anilao only serves as a jump point to these islands. I'll correct my travel story.

  14. one of the places in Batangas that I haven't explored yet. thanks for sharing!

  15. hi may contact number ka dun sa caretaker ng puting buhok cove? :)

    1. Nako wala na because this trip happened 3 years ago but you can contact Mabini Tourism Desk at the town plaza office. They all have the same rate.

  16. hi Ian! thanks for the reply. I wasn't able to go to Puting Buhok, sadly due to time constraints but I was able to discover another tranquil place in Tingloy! :)

    1. I'm glad to hear that... Maybe you could tell your travelogue. Puting Buhok Cove can be your next adventure in Batangas on a future visit.


All comments and reactions are highly appreciated.

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