Continuing the thread of last week's BOW, this week's BOW will highlight one of my favorite diving spots through the years, the Anilao region of Batangas, Philippines. This story begins back in the early 80's when Juny Binamira then a commercial photographer for Philippines Airlines first brought the area to my attention. Juny picked up on my interest in Nudibranchs immediately during a live aboard trip in which Juny was the dive master. Juny recommended the Batangas area based on his observations in the area. Of course when my desire was communicated to an American dive operator his first response was why would you want to go there? So I was left to my own devices to put the trip together. About this time I had the good fortune to be introduced to a transplant u/w photographer to the San Diego area named Bob Yin who was very familiar with the Batangas area having dived there for many years while living in Manila. With Bob's help I was able to put together dive trips to a dive resort named Seafari which was really a compound of nippa huts owned American ex-pats and Consular officials. Seafari resort is long gone, but the beach front diving area continues to be known as Basura. Gradually the area obtained greater recognition and there are now many dive resorts along in the area which cater to a diversity of international divers. Many professional U/W photographers like Roger Steene of Australia continue to visit the area on a yearly basis to take advantage of the unique macro photographic opportunities. A recent publication entitled "Center of the Center", a study of off shore fishes of the Verde Island area pretty much hits the nail on the head. The article indicated that the Verde passage may exhibit even more marine biodiversity then PNG. I have heard the same may be true for Opisthobranchs but I can't quote the source or the numbers.
For all you slug fans I would like to recommend a resort in the area named Club Ocellaris that our group has been using for years. The accommodations are basic, the food is great, and the Club has the best nudibranch guides in the Philippines. I am not getting any special rates or discounts for making this recommendation. It is being made because dive resorts that cater to sluggers are few and far between so take advantage of this opportunity!
For those of you with Flash viewing capability, a short Flash (flv file format) show has been put together based on Jeffrey Guzman's images from Anilao, Enjoy: Nudibranchs of Batangas, Philippines