For years, Malapascua Island has become a haven for scuba divers aiming to have an encounter with the Thresher Sharks. The island has been synonymous to this species of shark since it is the only known place in the world that guarantees daily sightings for shark of this kind.
An island barangay of the town of Daanbantayan, Malapascua is approximately five hours away from the Cebu City. It boasts of world class diving spots and white sand beaches, making it a popular travel destination for both local and foreign tourists, divers and non-divers alike.
The island’s name is derived from two Spanish words “mal” and “pascua“, translated in English as “bad” and “easter” or Bad Christmas. According to local folklore, Spaniards named the island Malapascua when they arrived there on a stormy Christmas.
Malapascua Island is a promise of a great dive and beach experience… worth the quite strenuous trip. So next time you visit Cebu, head north and experience the sea, the sand and the sun of Malapascua.
How to Get There
Cebu City is where tourists usually touch down before going to Malapascua. From Cebu City, catch a bus in Cebu North Terminal going to Maya Port for a four-hour ride. Buses depart almost every hour, fare ranges from P150.00 to P200.00 for the trip.
In Maya Port, transfer to a public boat to Malapascua. The boat ride is approximately 30 minutes and fare is P100.00. First trip is at 6AM and last is at 3PM. If you reach Malapascua at low tide, you may need to transfer to a small paddle boat called tunda to reach the shore.
If you are coming from Leyte, catch a bus to Bogo City, Cebu which crosses Camotes Sea via RoRo barges in Palompon, Leyte. From Bogo City, Maya is about an hour ride.
Where to Stay in Malapascua
Accommodations in Malapascua ranges from P300.00 for single fan room during lean season to a fancy air-conditioned room that goes by the thousands.
But on my visit to Malapascua, I stayed at Mike and Diose’s Beach Cottages. They have P500.00 per night beachfront fan room (shared bathroom) with free breakfast. They also have bigger air-conditioned rooms. The place has a great beachfront, a fantastic view of sunrise and very friendly staff. Contact No: Phone: +63-32-254 2510 (Cebuano) or +63905-263 2914 (c/o Mike: English and German) and 63926-8473640 (c/o Charito: Cebuano/Filipino).
Another good choice is Blue Coral Beach Resort. For as low as P1500, a big fan room with two double bed can be yours. It is on the other end of the beach from Mike and Diose’s / Aabana. One good thing about this hotel is that they have a fantastic view of sunrise and sunset. At night, try bumming around in their open air bar 🙂 Contact details: Sonia de Dios (Philippines) Mobile: +639263050827/+639155086134/+639205506208; Telephone/Fax: +63(32)4371021
Top-Rated Budget Accommodations in Malapascua Island
Romantic Place Guesthouse
Malapascua Thresher Cove Resort
Malapascua Budget Inn
Aabana Beach Resort
Top-Rated Hotels in Malapascua Island
Blanco Beach Resort
Buena Vida Resort & Spa
What to do in Malapascua
- Diving/snorkeling: The dive sites of Malapascua and surrounding waters include North Point, Monad Shoal, Gato Island, Lighthouse, Lapus Lapus, Chocolate Island, North Wall, Ka Osting, Sunken Island, Nunez Shoal, Kalanggaman Island, The East Side, The Sand Patch, Twins, House Reef, Maria’s Point, Buhoc Point, Maripipi, Chicken Curry Island, Shore Diving, Doña Marilyn Wreck, Don Macario Wreck, Tapilo Japanese Wreck and Pioneer Japanese Wreck.
- Beach bumming
- Climb the Malapascua Lighthouse and have a 360-degree view of the island
- Beach sports: volleyball, frisbee
- Arrange a trip to Kalanggaman Island, the organizers usually packaged it with a lunch
- Visit Bantayan Island
There are numerous dive shops in the area, but we chose Divelink Cebu (Contact No: 63-32-4370044/+639272470723/+639262586833), a dive shop owned by a Filipino. They charged us a reasonable P1000 per dive, exclusive of gears and equipment rentals. I was satisfied with their worth recommending service, and I would definitely dive with them again. For a complete list of dive shops in the area, visit this site.
Although they say that Monad Shoal guarantees daily sighting of Thresher Sharks, there are times that the sharks don’t show up specially when they are disturbed by large contingents of divers.
Food in the island is not a problem. There are lots of restaurants in the area offering various specialties – American, Italian, Filipino, etc. One of the favorites is the Ging-ging’s Flower Garden offering variety of cheap choices