Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2024 - Bluewater Dive Travel
Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2024

Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2024

Anilao Trip Recap Spring 2024

A Bluewater Travel Underwater Photography Workshop

Text by Erik Lukas, Images by Dan Bishop

A seahorse's silhouette 


If you're passionate about underwater photography like we are, the Bluewater workshop in Anilao, Philippines, should be on the top of your list. Known among other things as the "nudibranch capital of the world," Anilao offers some of the most biodiverse and vibrant underwater environments on the planet. Each year in April and May, Bluewater Dive Travel hosts two incredible workshops at the beautiful Crystal Blue Resort.

A nudibranch rests atop a rock Macro life in Anilao


Anilao is located in the province of Batangas, just a short 2-hour drive from Manila. Its proximity to the capital makes it easily accessible for guests arriving into Manila from anywhere in the world, yet it feels worlds away. Situated along the shores of the Verde Island Passage, the resort where the workshop was held offers beautiful views of the ocean and a serene atmosphere that was perfect for both relaxation and intense learning.

The workshop is structured to cater to photographers of all levels, from beginners to advanced shooters and everyone in between. The daily schedule is a mix of lectures, hands-on practice sessions, and detailed image reviews. Each morning starts with guest image reviews, a lecture covering various aspects of underwater photography, including camera settings, composition, lighting, and macro photography techniques. The sessions are comprehensive and packed with tips and tricks that guests can take advantage of immediately. With four dives each day over the ten and seven day workshops, there is ample time to work on the skills of the course. The schedule is always busy and the days are long, but this approach is proven to keep the workshop guests on their feet and constantly striving to produce the best images possible.

Two yellow fish huddle close together in the neck of a bottle An octopus lies on the sand

A fish pops its head out of a hole in the coral The macro life in Anilao makes its way underwater


The diving in Anilao this year was nothing short of spectacular. Anilao's waters are teeming with life, and each dive presented new opportunities for photography. The diversity of marine life in Anilao is astounding – from colorful nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses to curious and inquisitive octopus and this year in particular, more frogfish than any time in the past. While there are numerous dive sites throughout the Anilao area, this year's most popular sites included Kirby’s Rock, Coconut, Octo Point and El Pinoy. Each site offered multiple highlight subjects including hairy frogfish, ocellated blue ring octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish, pygmy seahorse and so much more.

An octopus eyes the camera An octopus walking on its tentacles underwater

A frogfish on the underwater sand A pygmy seahorse on its coral A frogfish opens its mouth wide


As is to be expected at Crystal Blue, the facilities at the resort were top-notch. Our rooms are comfortable and spacious, providing a perfect retreat after a day of diving. The resort's restaurant serves delicious local and international cuisine, catering to various dietary preferences. The staff are always friendly and attentive, and in my experience always deliver among the best guest experiences of the many resorts I have had the privilege of visiting.

A fish rests underwater Colorful macro life in Anilao


One of the most significant takeaways from the workshop was the emphasis on breaking out of a comfort zone and exploring new techniques. This approach resulted in consistent daily improvement by all of the guests. The underwater photography workshop in Anilao is a journey of discovery, learning, and inspiration. It offers an immersive experience that combines world class diving with the art of photography, set against the backdrop of one of the world's most stunning marine environments. Whether you are a novice looking to improve your skills or an experienced photographer seeking new challenges, this workshop is a must.

Guests pose at the Crystal Blue Resort Guests in the photography workshop



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