Turn Garbage into Gold at Basura Anilao

flasher wrasse jun lao
Basura is simply Fantastic. Find Flasher Wrasse Daily at Basura, they do their mating sessions 1700 daily here

In 2013, there have been much changes in Anilao. A review of the top sites for macro photography within the Balayan Bay area... Secret Bay (prime was in 2008, 2009, 2012, empty FY 2010, 2011, 2013), Coconut (July-Aug 2012), Matu Point (Dec 2012- June 2013). More consistent all year round sites for photogenic subjects are Bethlehem, Secret Garden a.k.a Balanoy, surprisingly Caban CoveDaryl Laut and Sunview. ..
Through the years, a site which has been overlooked by many is the wonder that is Basura Anilao which I have revisited just last weekend doing solo dives.

In 2005, passionate uw photogs were raving about Basura, considered at the time as the top muck diving site for seeing special finds. When good underwater photography equipment  was still out of reach for the average local diver plus without social networks to gauge the site from real divers, Scubaboard & countless websites shared by foreign divers were the main sources of images and information about this site. (Scubaboard 2005 forum on Basura)
Anilao has Lembeh Sea Dragon by Jun Lao
Bebot and Me were the first divers to discover Lembeh Sea Dragons in Anilao
No one can ever claim otherwise... consistenly seen after we posted our first find in 2013
By 2007, some resorts fronting the dive site decided to place artificial reefs, which was quite successful in growing corals and increasing fish stock in the area, which however caused the demise of much of the special critters. By 2008 when Secret Bay was discovered to be abundant with strange and desirable macro subjects plus with the growing fish population consuming all the special critters, Basura became an echo and was dislodged as the No. 1 muck site in Anilao.

Anilao Underwater
saw six of different types in one coral rock
I still remember the days when you didn't need a great spotter to find good stuff at Secret Bay, literally, every square meter yielded something very special and I believe most local divers got spoiled and thought this good mana would last. Basura in its prime was the same critter fiesta. Nowadays, you can only find four to five special subjects on a two hour dive in almost any dive site in Anilao and the chances of seeing something extra special is highly dependent on the spotter you get.
Anilao Macro
consistently see hairy frogfish from Dec-May (during cold water)
While everyone was doing boat dives to find much desirable subjects in Anilao, was lucky enough to have met Padoy Fajermo, my instructor and good friend who showed me around Basura (he lives right in front, do drop by Padoys Dive Camp). The dive site is no longer a critter fiesta but if you are knowledgable enough and know where to look, Basura remains a treasure trove of special macro subjects. The subjects apparently adapted and learned to hide from its prey but if you take time to study the site, it will surprise you and will leave you saying...Fantastic!

Singing Fish
Mackarels aboud in the late afternoons
The Basura dive site to this day is unprotected. Most mornings, some local residents do small scale bottom trawling on the shores. The population density in Barangay San Jose is huge, while knowing its one of the best dive sites in Anilao, the locals exercise their right to do as they please. We can only watch them do what they do in the mornings... there is still hope that the next generation of San Jose residents will have a softer spot for the ocean's residents or hoping they may do their fishing several meters away from shore.

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