Anilao SMall wonders

Home of the small but wonderful, Anilao in the Batangas province of the Philippines is just a few hours drive south of Manila.

Divie boats are a traditional design called a bangka, a narrow-hulled, wooden boat with outriggers.

Our bangka in front of Crystal Blue Resort


Anilao is renowned for its frogfish, or anglerfish. These well camouflaged little fish have an adapted first dorsal fin that acts as a "rod and lure" to attract its prey.

Antennarius hispidus?
Some of the frogfish (genus Antennarius) of Anilao
Hairy frogfish (Antennarius stratus)

Sitting upright, and wearing a bony armour, the seahorse is not a typical fish.

Thorny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix) hunting successfully while anchored to a soft coral.

The ghost pipefish are related to seahorses. They hang in the water almost motionless near a background that makes them hard to see. They feed on small crustaceans.

Robust ghost pipefish (Solenostomus cyanopterus), top, and Ornate ghost pipefish (Solenostomus paradoxus), bottom.

Much of the best diving in Anilao is on a sandy bottom. While not as spectacular as coral reefs there is plenty of great habitat for unusual critters to make their home.

This Yellow comb-tooth blenny (Petroscirtes fallax) found a home in an old tubeworm hole


Sea slugs... That's what nudibranchs are. Literally "naked gills", they have no shell to protect themselves. Instead the rely on colour, mimicry and chemical warfare.

Ceratosoma tenure
Allen's ceratosoma (Ceratosoma alleni) laying eggs
Tyron's risbecia (Risbecia tyroni)
Chromodoris geometrica, Glossodoris cincta and Thecacera picta
Willan's chromodoris (Chromodoris willani)


Crab and shrimp species abound in the diverse range of habitat that provides essential shelter and food. Many symbiotic relationships exist between species that have evolved to depend on each other.

The boxer crab (genus Lybia) has a unique relationship with an anenome species that it carries as "gloves" on its front claws
Hoplophrys oatesi
Uniquely decorated to match their home, the soft coral crab (Hoplophrys oatesi), urchin crab (Zebrida adamsii) and harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta), clockwise from top left, are masters of camouflage.
The porcelain crab (Neopetrolisthes maculatus) lives within the protection of a sea anenome's stinging tentacles.
Weird but cool, the orangutan crab (Achaeus japonicus) and bumblebee shrimp (Gnathophyllum americanum) are aptly named
The arrow crab is amazingly camouflaged when roaming the sand.


They look weird, they can change colour, and they are curious and inquiring. The cephalopods include cuttlefish, squid and octopus. They are active hunters on the sandy and rocky sea floor around Anilao.

This cuttlefish (genus Sepia) flashed bands of white as it was approached by divers

The mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) is an active evening hunter, emerging onto the sand at dusk

What a treat! We were privileged to witness a flamboyant cuttlefish (Metasepia pfefferi) hatch


Crystal Blue resort looks west over the bay, so guests are able to watch magical tropical sunsets from the bar.

Sunset from Crystal Blue resort


Created By
James Robins


James Robins Photography

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