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Dive Review of Aiyanar Dive Resort in
Philippines/Anilao

Aiyanar Dive Resort: "Capital of muck diving", Apr, 2016,

by Todd Lichtenstein, New Jersey, United States (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 4 Helpful votes). Report 8901.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments In April 2016 I attended a one-week Photo Workshop given by Reef Photo. A bus transported the 30 attendees from Manila to Anilao, a trip that was supposed to take 3 hours. The traffic was so bad that it took 4 and a half hours. That was typical of our experiences on the Philippine roads.

At least for this workshop, there was one dive guide for every 4 people, and the guides were rotated among the divers throughout the week. Most of the guides were excellent and very skilled at finding critters. The workshop was great and very well run. That being said let’s get to the diving. All the diving is done from boats with outriggers. Entry is by backroll; wooden ladders are used to get back into the boat. The visibility varied from poor (maybe 20 feet) to moderate (perhaps 50 feet at best). We were surprised by the low visibility as we had been told that April was the best time of year to dive here.

Anilao is all about little critters. It is almost entirely muck diving (there are a few patches of coral) and I shot exclusively macro. We have been to the muck diving haven in Lembeh, Indonesia. I was surprised that for all the hype Anilao did not live up to what we saw in Lembeh. The diversity and the numbers of critters was much less than I had expected. The other divers on our boat couldn’t get over the diversity of critters, but this was the first time they had been to the Asia Pacific region.

We stayed at the Aiyanar Dive Resort. The Anilao area is crowded with resort after resort lining the coast. Aiyanar is overall a good one, with a few drawbacks. The outdoor space was wonderful with a huge open-air dining area, a bar, a pool and good sized dive shop and camera room, all on different levels. Be advised, though, that like most Anilao resorts, Aiyanar is set into a steep hillside, so there are many stairs to climb – there were sixty steps (the equivalent of five flights) between the shore and our room; guests on the upper level had an even bigger climb.

The dive shop includes excellent enclosed shower rooms for men and women in addition to open outdoor showers for rinsing off; there are multiple rinse tanks designated for different uses. The biggest failing of the dive area was a shortage of places to sit while getting into and out of wetsuits. The indoor spaces i.e. our room left much to be desired. Someone else we know described the rooms as “tired”. That is a good description. The bedroom area was very small with virtually no storage space to put clothes. The small desk was barely large enough for my laptop computer. On the other hand, the a.c. worked very well. The main problem with the room was the beds. The mattresses were firm and comfortable, but both top and bottom sheets and the blankets were too small for the mattresses, so that when the beds were made up it was as if they had been short-sheeted. We had to remake the beds every night and turn the sheets and blankets lengthwise so that they would cover our bodies. The bottom sheets were so small that they could not be tucked under the mattress. We would wake up in the middle of the night with all the sheets balled up on the bare mattress. We told the hotel manager about this problem but it was never fixed.

The food was served buffet style, though there was a very attentive and good-natured dining room staff to assist with delivering drinks, filling water glasses and handling special requests. The breakfasts were partly American style with eggs and pancakes and French toast offered. There was also an omelet station where they would make you any kind of omelet you wanted, and the omelets were superb. Lunch and dinner were also buffet. The quality of the food and choices of dishes at each meal were good if occasionally monotonous, especially the pork dishes. A high point were the salads at each lunch and dinner, featuring a variety of fresh lettuces (almost never iceberg) and toppings.
Websites Aiyanar Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Lembeh, Maldives, Galapagos, Cocos, Dominica, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman, Papua New Guinea, Andaman Sea, Raja Ampat, Blue Heron Bridge
Closest Airport Manila Getting There We flew on Asiana Airline from NYC through Seoul. The flights were very good. It helped that we used our frequent flyer miles on United to go business class.

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, surge
Water Temp 79-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-50 Ft/ 6-15 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments The resort has a very good air conditioned camera room with plenty of workspace.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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