Malapascua Island is basically just a heap of sand and rocks in the middle of the Visayan Sea. It is a charming island where foreigners mix seamlessly with the locals and you can get a real slice of Filipino life if you venture outside your resort.
The island has been called the “Next Borocay” but we don’t think it will ever be like that. Even during busy season, it feel like there is hardly anyone else here, the pace of life is unhurried and you are sure to have a relaxing vacation.
As you probably know the reason most people come to Malapascua Island is for the diving. Malapascua is beginning to get a worldwide reputation for incredible diving which means now is a great time to come, before it gets too famous. It is the only place in the world you can reliably see thresher sharks and is possible the best place in the Philippines for big fish encounters.
It is still a quiet island and the resorts, restaurants and dive shops are nestled amongst the palm trees along the main beach. There are not so many and so it does not feel at all crowded.
Malapascua is a developing island without basic infrastructure. It does not have a many of the things we often take for granted in our homes. This means you need to come with an open mind and be ready for things that may make you a little uncomfortable such as salty water, electric blackouts during the day etc. But you are on holiday, relax, it’s not a problem.
The weather on Malapascua is usually excellent. Typhoon season in the Philippines is from May to December, but Malapascua is rarely affected. The typhoons usually pass to the north and because there are no mountains nearby it avoids a lot of the rain that tends to fall on Leyte or Cebu. Occasional a typhoon will hit but it happens maybe a couple of times a year. Most people do not realize this and come between January and April. If you want a quieter holiday, come during ‘typhoon’ season. The diving is better at that time as well.
Outside of diving and snorkeling there is not a huge amount to do. It is a great place to chill out, so if you are not diving, get ready for a relaxing trip. Other things you can do on the island:
Snorkeling and swimming. There are some great snorkeling spots around the island. You can take your mask and fins (or rent some) and go from almost any beach you find. Near to the lighthouse is a shallow wreck that you can easily skin dive down to.
Massage. Massage ladies on the beach charge only around PHP 300 for a great massage. You will pay a little more in some of the resorts.
Go around the island. You can easily walk round the island in 2 hours. Or you can hire a motorbike. You could also hire a driver to take you to all the best places on the island.
Island hopping. Various places can organize trip to some of the nearby islands. There is also a day trip to Biliran Island where you can see rice terraces, volcanoes, hot springs and waterfalls. You will need a group for this – Cocobana or Thresher Divers can arrange this for you.
How to get there?
Malapascua is located in the Philippines just off the north tip of Cebu Island.
Most people get to Malapascua via Cebu City. From Cebu, take a bus or car up to the port of Maya, then a boat over to Malapascua. The road ban be rough in places but it is getting better as the government slowly implements its improvement plans for northern Cebu.
The easy way
If you have a booking on Malapascua, have your resort or dive shop arrange a private taxi and boat transfer. Average price is around US$100 -$120 for a one way transfer. including boatThey will pick you up at the airport and bring you all the way there. Mostly this is very reliable but bring the cell phone number of the resort just in case.
You can also arrange a taxi in Cebu. This will cost anywhere up to PHP 5,000 but you may be able to get a good deal. Just make sure he actually knows the way! Often these city drivers get lost near the end and a three hour journey takes five.
Once in Maya you can hire a private boat (P1000 and up), or just wait for the public boat (P50). This takes 30 minutes.