Juvenile ternate damselfish (Amblyglyphidodon ternatensis) in a crinoid.

Anilao is a dream location for macro photographers. Located in the northern part of the coral triangle and fueled by the productive currents of the Maricaban Strait, the muck diving mecca is a biodiverse hotspot. Anilao’s 40+ dive sites are home to some of most unusual marine critters on the planet; including Rhinopias, harlequin shrimp, tiger shrimp, bumble bee shrimp, blue-ringed octopus,  mimic octopus, hairy frog fish, bobbit worm and boxer crab as well hundreds of nudibranch species.

Emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) lives commensally on a number of hosts, including this sea slug: Hexabranchus.
Emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) lives commensally on a number of hosts, including this sea slug: Hexabranchus.

The first Anilao dive center opened its doors way back in 1966, but it was not until the recent macro/muck diving boom that the area became popular. Now, dozens of dive resorts are scattered along the steep coastline overlooking the picturesque Balayan bay. Access to Anilao is relatively easy.  The sleepy little town lies just past the Batangas province, a 2-3 hour drive south of Manila, Philippines.

Head shot of red-barred sandperch (Parapercis multiplicata).
Head shot of red-barred sandperch (Parapercis multiplicata).

I spent a week at CBR (Crystal Blue Resort) diving Anilao. My dives were packed with sightings of colorful reef fish and invertebrates. Favorite images from my trip to Anilao, Philippines.