The charming little province of Mabini, Batangas, some 140Km south Manila, is a popular weekend getaway known for its prolific marine sanctuary — a treat for underwater photography enthusiasts. It boasts a 40,000 km stretch of lush aquatic life with over 20,000 species of fish, colourful nudibranchs, and varieties of hard and soft coral.
Flocked by locals and tourists alike for its glorious dive sites and proximity to Manila, the perimeter of the Calumpan Peninsula is lined with hotels and resorts that offer the most basic to utmost luxury, depending on what you need. When scouting for accommodations, I saw some that offer only the bare necessities, others that make you feel like royalty, and then there are those like El Pinoy Dive & Leisure Resort, that makes you fall in love the moment you step in.
El Pinoy Dive & Leisure Resort in Anilao: The Perfect Family Weekend Getaway
El Pinoy is the perfect family getaway. Just a three-hour drive from Manila is paradise waiting for those who want to get up close and personal with marine life or just enjoy time away from the busy city.
Upon entering the establishment, you are immediately welcomed by a steep path that slowly opens up to a magnificent view of the Batangas Bay. It will lead you to the receiving area where the bright smiles of the staff await. Upon registration and joyful sipping of your citrus welcome drinks, jumping into the refreshing pool and relishing the ambiance may be a bit compelling, but I suggest that you explore the room first for your much awaited post road-trip replenishment.
‘The resort exudes an adventurous yet cozy laid back feel at the same time. It offers beautiful and spacious rooms for each clientele. From the sophisticated Villas to Standard and Deluxe rooms to Suite rooms for bigger groups. All 29 rooms boast a fantastic view overlooking the Ocean and Maricaban Island.’ – El Pinoy
The rooms are cozy and above ordinary. What makes them extra special is the unparalleled and unobstructed display of the bay against Maricaban Island that welcomes you in the morning. Such a postcard perfect sight is enough to make you stay there forever and snuggle in the ultra-cozy sheets. Just make sure though, that you have the physical capacity for the constant workout that awaits you in the duration of your stay. The steep and threatening path between the main rooms and the common areas will test your knees, but will hopefully improve once they get the intercom system rolling. But then again, exercise is and will always be a good thing.
After settling down and freshening up, take your pick from the various group activities offered in the resort. For family affairs, choose among the board games and try picking your brains against a magnificent view. For more physical demanding alternatives, they also have available kayaks, a billiard table, and a pingpong table, all at the guests’ disposal.
El Pinoy has its own dive shop and has complete gear for those who want to make the out of their trip and experience Anilao for what it’s famous for. During our stay, there was one group that had me lusting over their scuba gear and captivated me with their ‘look I’m about to explore the ocean’ confidence and aura. I wish I had the guts then to try it then, but I settled for snorkelling instead. Still, it was an experience to remember.
But even the less adventurous types will enjoy place. El Pinoy’s overall ambience is super cozy and homey with an unbeatable view. It’s so easy to just let go and lie on the outdoor couches, fronting the bay, with a beer in one hand and a lover’s hand on the other, while waiting for the sunset.
The next day, we continued exploring the lush marine life after a hearty breakfast, one of the three meals included with the package. There aren’t many options outside the resort so it’s a good thing the meals were adequate and palatable. It’s a buffet so feel free to eat your heart out.
Overall, I had a grand time. More than the brilliant Architecture and elegant yet modest design which originally captivated me, the overall experience was something I’d come back to.
El Pinoy Dive & Leisure Resort
Bgy San Teodoro, Mabini