More Than Just a Pretty Place: Malapascua
Malapascua is a water-surrounded gem located up north of Cebu. The island is regarded as one of the best diving spots in the world with its rich and colorful marine life. For most people, Malapascua is a go-to place for divers especially those who wish to swim with the thresher sharks in the Monad Shoal. Typically, Malapascua Island can be very well considered as a premier diving destination but the island actually has more to offer.
But first, let us start with the basics.
How to Get There
It takes at least 4 hours to get to the island and the trip starts at the North Bus Terminal. You can either take a Ceres bus bound for Maya or take the V-hire. The fare for an air-conditioned bus is at 180 pesos while you only need to pay 150 for a non-airconditioned one.
The 30-minute boat ride to the island is the final leg. The first trip starts at 6:30 in the morning while the last trip is at 3 in the afternoon. It is best to take the earlier trips to avoid big waves or any sudden weather changes. Boat fare is at 100 pesos per head, but you can also rent one to yourselves for at least 800 pesos (depending on your haggling skills) if you are traveling with a group.
Before you hop on a bus bound for Maya Port, it will be wise for you to book your accommodations in advance. There are plenty of resorts, hostels and inns to choose from for your stay there. It is best to set a budget and then research online for what set up could be most suitable to your needs. Checking for guest reviews is a plus for you to have a better idea of where you’ll be staying.
While on the look out for budget-friendly places on the island, a must-visit is the Malapascua Budget Inn. Not only did they rank #1 for B&B and Inn in the well-renowned travel review site, TripAdvisor, they also have that homey atmosphere where you’d love to recharge after an eventful day. They have very accommodating staff and offer luscious seafood, if you will. You may reach them via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or SMS (+63 977 8203 111), or you can simply visit their website for booking reservations.
Malapascua Budget Inn Accommodation Rates
- ₱2,000/night – airconditioned room good for 2 pax with own T&B (low-season rate at ₱1,300)
- ₱2,500/night – airconditioned family room good for 4 pax with own T&B (low-season rate at ₱2,000)
- ₱1,800/night – airconditioned room good for 4 pax with common T&B (low season rate at ₱1,500)
- ₱400/head per night – fan room with bunk beds; rooms good for 4, 10 and 14 (free upgrade to AC room if fully booked; low season rate at ₱300/head)
*** Peak Season from September to May
*** Low Season from June to August
*** Rates do not include meals.
And now for the best part. Here are the top 5 activities that you can enjoy in Malapascua Island:
Well, this is pretty obvious. If you have a PADI certificate or perhaps are adventurous enough to explore life underwater, then you definitely need to go on a diving trip. Malapascua has many diving shops that offer basic lessons and even tours for certified divers. You can do a quick online search beforehand so you can find the best diving school there and prepare your budget for the activity. Now will be the best time for you to conquer your fears and be a mermaid even just for an hour.
Photos: Pascal Kobeh / Kokay’s Maldito Dive Resort
If diving is too much for your taste, then the next best option is to go snorkeling. You can charter a boat so you and your entourage can get to the deeper portions and explore the wonders of marine life. Boat rental usually starts at 500 pesos per person but it might be cheaper in groups.
Photo: Gusty Quintin / Sea Explorers
If you live and breathe YOLO, then you will surely be thrilled to go jump off a cliff. This activity is definitely not for the faint of heart and the scaredy cats (hint: take it as a challenge). Just ask the boatman to take you to where the 50-foot cliff is or you can ask the locals to take you to the sweetest spot. But just in case you suddenly didn’t feel like having a death wish, don’t fret. Go on trekking instead, and enjoy the majestic view while you’re at it.
A trip to Malapascua will never be complete without a short visit to its neighboring islets. This is also a great way for you to enjoy a sunset or sunrise riding a banca. You can ask the resort staff or some helpful locals to book you a ride.
- Island Hopping with Free Use of Snorkel – ₱300/head
- Trip to Kalanggaman with Lunch – ₱800/head (exclusive of the ₱150 entrance for locals or ₱500 for foreigners).
The Malapascua Sunset Cruise by Lee of Hippocampus offers a 3-hour sunset cruise that costs 1,000 pesos per person. The package already includes 6 drinks (alc), snacks and fruits, with photo and video coverage.
With visitors from different parts of the globe, may it be foreign nationals, expats or Filipinos alike, we would all agree that having a glass or 2 (or more) of your favorite poison is probably the best way to end an action-packed day. Offered in several bars and restos on the island, happy hour usually starts at 4PM and ends at 6PM. So if you drink like a fish, then you probably will be more than tipsy by the time the offer ends.
- Have enough cash because there are no ATM’s in the island.
- Travel early to avoid bad weather or any boat schedule changes.
- Book your accommodations in advance especially during peak season.
11 thoughts on “More Than Just a Pretty Place: Malapascua”
I’ve heard many good reviews of this place. But I have yet to visit it. I hope to bring my family here, too. We love going to Cebu. I’ve been tere a number of times.
The island seems to be perfect for this summer’s beach bumming. I have only been to Bantayan which we chose over Malapascua due to our other scheduled itinerary last summer of 2009 and have not been there yet! It is cool to know that Kalanggaman Island is also accesible through Malapascua. It is getting more popular too these days.
There are more and more islands discovered in the country! It’s fun to know and learn about new places in the country. I know a friend who went to this place just recently. It’s fun to read your post, the details that I look for are here!
Ahhh my family! 😀 I love this place, I’ve been here twice already and I still love it. Malapascua and Moalboal are my most loved places in Cebu and i never get tired on going back to those places. I’m thinking of going back in the summer, hmmm. Sounds like a plan 🙂
What a beautiful island! I can see why it would be worth the four hour trip. It is good to know we need to book accommodations in advance. I would certainly like to go diving because I’ve been diving in Puerto Rico. I’d like the snorkeling too!
My husband and I are planning to go to Cebu on summer break but it wasn’t final yet. We just received a call yesterday that my MIL will be leaving to Aus soon and so we changed plans. It’s a pity if we can’t really push the plan. Hoping to visit here someday.
Malapascua looks like a wonderful island to explore with a lot of options for activities! I have never dived before but I would love to do it in Malapascua, the underwater scene is so amazing! I would love to swim among those corals and rocks. Is that a shark I see in your photo? Was he a friendly one? 🙂
Oh great photos you have there! I especially love the underwater photos as well as snorkelling photo. I have been to Malapascua before but that was when cellphones don’t have good cameras yet and I still don’t own a camera so you can imagine it has been pretty long since the last time I was there. I can’t wait to be back though. It’s one of the best islands the Philippines can be proud of.
I have always wanted to go underwater and those epic Pictures. I am planning to do something of this sort very soon this year. Interesting post.
I heard about Malapascua once, some years ago but I never expected the island to be that interesting. I hope despite being commercialized, the placed would retain its natural form…
Can I please take a plane and go here? The beaches and ocean looks amazing. I would love to dive into that sea! It’s such a clean and beautiful water here. I would love to visit this little piece of paradise.
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