Balai Anilao

We were in need of a quiet, peaceful break from the stressful atmosphere in Manila, so we turned to Google to search for an affordable sanctuary in Anilao, Batangas. We stumbled upon Balai Anilao, read positive reviews about it in, and booked at once! We weren't sure what to expect as its rates were relatively cheaper than other resorts in Mabini, Anilao, but we trusted in its ratings and headed on.

It took us a good 3 hours to reach the place. The resort is located at the far side of Mabini, Anilao's shoreline. Keep your driving speed to a minimum as they only have a small sign that says "BALAI Parking," which leads to a grassy parking space. We went down the cemented steps towards the sea, walked through stones and sediments by the beach (avoid girly sandals), and reached the friendly place known as Balai Anilao.

We were in awe of what we saw! Everything we were expecting was spot-on. The view of the ocean, the serene atmosphere, the rustic vibe of the place... Most importantly, Balai has a friendly and excellent crew who knows proper customer service.

This is the place for you if you want to have a solitary time with the sea. Stare at it all you want from Balai's dining area, "dock," or veranda. Mats and pillows can be borrowed as well.

Take note that this is a diving resort, so expect no fine sand. Bring your booties as the shore is rocky. If you do not have booties, you may rent at the resort for P100 per day.

We settled down in our room only to be greeted by another surprise - the view was incredible!

The view from our room

Native room set-ups

One of the airconditioned rooms located directly in front of the ocean

The rooms at night
Balai's rooms do not have TVs as their main purpose is to get us in touch with nature and the basics. We are, after all, escaping from the stressful rush of the city. They have, however, an airconditioning system, hot and cold shower, and generator (in case brownout strikes). The rooms are small but comfortable, and the comfort rooms are clean.

Balai Anilao's rates are inclusive of four buffet meals - lunch, dinner, breakfast the next day, and another round of lunch. The food was really good! Ask my friend, Doreen, and she'll agree with all honesty. This is no place for your "baons," fresh catch, and butane gas stoves. Leave all the work to them; you will not be disappointed.

Our dinner buffet. Their chicken kebab was really good.
My first plate for breakfast, with Batangas brewed coffee

Mango crepe, one of their desserts
They also offer a welcome drink upon your arrival, plus unlimited brewed or three-in-one coffee, tea, and chocolate drink! WiFi is also available (and fast!) at their dining area.

Unlimited coffee, tea, and chocolate drink
Dining area, day time
Dining area at night
Lovely, relaxing view from the dining area
Some quirks around the dining hall. They have magazines you may read, board games, a chess set, mats, and pillows you may borrow.

Of course, your trip to Anilao won't be complete without a snorkel or a dive. For non-divers, snorkel at the Twin Rocks Marine Conservatory just beside Balai Anilao. You may also rent a boat for P2500 for a short trip to Sumbrero Island. Snorkeling or skin diving is a must, so bring your masks and flippers! You may also rent at Balai Anilao for P100 (mask) per day. I think they also charge another P100 for the flippers.

The back part of Sumbrero Island is more vibrant with marine life, and a lot of jelly fish abound in the area too. Hence, it's highly advisable to wear your rash guard.

The front part of Sumbrero Island is laden with white sand. Here, you can simply relax. Bring your mats, a book, and a bottle of beer (or wine) for a morning slow down. Entrance fee is P200 per person.

En route to Sumbrero Island

Beach front of Sumbrero Island

Beautiful weekend escape!

Diving packages and intro dives are also offered by Balai Anilao. You may check out their website at for more details. You may also find their rates on room accommodations here. (UPDATE as of May 2017: Their website link is not working anymore. Try and ask them to refer you to the proper contact info for the branch in Anilao.)

Overall, it was a restful two-day vacation. It was about time we got in touch with the quiet side of life. Mabini, Anilao is just a three-hour drive from Manila, with two-way toll rates that amount to about P600+. It won't cause much of a hassle to visit every now and then. :)

Photos shot using Fuji XE1 (except Sumbrero Island photos)

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