(SPOT.ph) With more than 7,000 islands and a location near the Coral Triangle, it is not a surprise that the Philippines has some of the best diving sites in the world. Most of them aren't too far from Metro Manila, either, giving the city dweller more reason to explore our seas' rich marine environments on the weekends. This includes the municipality of Mabini in Batangas, which officially reopened on October 12, 1 p.m. following closure amid the community quarantine. Batangas is under general community quarantine until October 31.
In an Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases resolution released on October 9 as well as a list of guidelines by the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, it was announced that accommodations and dive centers in Batangas are allowed to accept guests for recreational diving. Recreational divers of all ages coming from areas under general community quarantine or modified general community quarantine can pass through the checkpoint to Mabini as long as they present a negative swab test result taken within 48 hours, a travel pass, and pre-booking confirmation. Dive establishments need valid accreditation by the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, and a Certificate of Authority to Operate issued by the Department of Tourism if they offer accommodation options. They are allowed to operate at 50% capacity for both the rooms and boats.
These resorts in Mabini, Batangas are now open to the public:
San Teodoro, Mabini, Batangas
Opened in 1999, Planet Dive is one of the more popular diving establishments in Mabini. It's right in front of Twin Rocks, a marine sanctuary with shallow depth and great visibility that can also be enjoyed by snorkeling and freediving. It's named after two massive rocks covered by a variety of hard and soft corals. Their diving staff—who are accredited by the National Association of Underwater Instructors—can help you become a certified diver yourself.
Anilao Diving and Resorts
Marimar Building, Pulong Niogan, Mabini, Batangas
Anilao Diving and Resorts runs an Intro to Dive program that lets first-timers experience the underworld with a professional. But if you're ready to step it up, the resort offers courses and certification following the schematics of Professional Association of Diving Instructors. You can be a certified open-water diver, rescue diver, or a divemaster. You can also take specialty courses for deep diving, night diving, or photo and video diving.
Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort
San Teodoro, Mabini, Batangas
Aside from their PADI dive center, which comes with a 10-foot training pool and air-conditioned classroom, Buceo Anilao Beach and Dive Resort also offers deluxe rooms that come with majestic views of the sea and sunset from the terrace. The resort also has platforms where you can practice yoga at sundown.
Casa Escondida Anilao Resort and Dive Center
Ligaya, Mabini, Batangas
Spanish for "hidden home," Casa Escondida offers a peaceful escape away from the city. It's a jumpoff point to a number of diving destinations. After a whole day's worth of activities, you can rest in one of their rooms that has a view of the sea. You can also book an elegant suite that comes with a private hot tub.