Where’s better – Lembeh in Indonesia or Anilao in Philippines
That’s a tricky one – I’ve dived both quite a few times and like them both for different reasons. Lembeh was always regarded as the home of muck diving (aside from Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea which also claims the title). Lembeh has also been pipped as ‘the go to spot’ location by film crews, photographers and all round self confessed fish geeks (like me). But Anilao is quickly re making a name for itself and drawing people away from Lembeh. As usual it’s a matter of taste!
What do you mean Anilao re-making a name for itself?
Well strangely Anilao used to be very popular and then people kind of forgot about it for a while. It’s only a few hours from Manila so local divers used to travel down at weekends during the 80’s and 90’s. Back then ‘Muck Diving’ didn’t really exist, at least not in the way it does now. Many dive centres closed during the week because of lack of demand. Over the last 5 years popularity with Muck Diving has exploded, much more people get excited by pygmy seahorses, frogfish and nudibranchs. Anilao is going through a period of revival!
So is there a better time of year to visit each location?
If you’re visit is purely for the diving then both locations are year round. Lembeh weather is better from around March to October but even then North Sulawesi doesn’t get much of a monsoon. Anilao works almost to opposite seasons with November to May being best.
Where should we stay?
There are plenty of options for both Anilao and Lembeh – to suit a wide range of budgets. One of my favorite places in Lembeh is Kungkungkan Bay Resort, they’ve got good boats, excellent dive guides and you can make shore dives as and when you like. For Anilao then I recently visited Buceo Resort – an excellent value for money option with over 40 dives sites within close proximity. You can also dive Verde Island and Puerto Galera on full day trips.