Anilao – a breather from Manila

When clinical clerkship duties already feel overwhelming, I close my eyes and imagine the sea. I remember the sound of the waves, the cool breeze in contrast with the bright warm rays of the sun, the sharp broken pieces of dead corals battered and eventually ground to powder form, and the varying shades of blue created by the water and the horizon as it meets the sky.
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It had been around 8 months since I last swam the infinite blue, and everyday since I yearn for it’s familiar comfort. The sea is my happy place. There is something about it’s vastness that makes you feel so small and unimportant that you become grateful of all the beauty and wonders.

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With these thoughts in mind, as soon as the declaration of special holiday for the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) was announced, I immediately planned on a quick getaway to Anilao, Batangas.

Together with my mother and sister, and my godmothers and godfather, we took the Bus to Batangas Grand Terminal station. After about 2 and a half hours of travel, we alighted and rode a jeepney bound to Anilao Crossing, which took about an hour. The last part of the journey was a 30-minute tricycle ride to our Destination – Arthur’s Place dive resort. We arrived late in the evening so after enjoying dinner we slept comfortably, in preparation of the next day’s adventure.

The coastal town of Anilao is embraced by Balayan Bay on the North and Batangas Bay on the South. It has been known for diving and is actually near the Verde Island Passage, which according to a 2005 study by Dr. Kent Carpenter of the IUCN and Victor Springer of the Smithsonian institute,  is the “Center of the Center of Marine Shorefish Biodiversity” (the Philippines being the Center of Marine Biodiversity in the world).

From Arthur’s Place a boat took us to the nearby Sombrero Island where we could snorkel and swim.

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Sombrero Island

Back at Arthur’s Place we enjoyed the laid back afternoon with food, friends and a good view.

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I also saw a very friendly dog who loved the sea as much as I do!

The trip was a much needed breather from all the toxicities of city life. We definitely went home energized and filled with lasting memories of Anilao’s beauty.

 

 

References:

Carpenter, K. E., & Springer, V. G. (2005). The center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity: the Philippine Islands. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 467-480.

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