Malapascua

Malapascua is an island in Central Visayas, Philippines.

Understand

Bounty Beach, 2007.

The first image Malapascua offers will stay with you for a long time: an exceedingly beautiful pristine stretch of white sand, crystal clear waters bordered by coconut trees and a dozen of scattered native style resorts. But as with all up and coming islands experiencing a boom in tourism Malapascua is rapidly becoming a second Boracay with modern concrete hotels to cater for the varied needs of the many. Despite this moderization, even the largest of resorts embrace the native build styles for a portion of their rooms. The north of the island remains untouched where the fishermen are just fishermen in native style houses.

Malapascua is known to the locals as Logon and the local beach was named Bounty Beach by the resort on the island Cocobana, some 20 years ago. It lays 8km off the north of Cebu, has a community of about 11,000 inhabitants (as of 2012). A walk or a tour of the entire Island will take about 3 hours. The islands main income is from tourists who flock to the island to see the rare thresher sharks, white tip sharks and various rays, or visit for a romantic weekend break.

There is no ATM on the island but there is a Smart Money store, a money changer store, and many of the more popular resorts accept major credit cards. Trips to the closest ATMs in Bogo City can be an adventure in their own right and while may be seen as an inconvenience to the unprepared visitor, are generally considered an exciting experience by others. The trip consists of an P80 ferry to the mainland then a choice of hired motorcycle (P200), Bus Ride (P40 each way) or a Jeepney (P40 each way). If this added adventure is not for you it's advisable to bring enough cash to last your entire trip plus any over-stay you may wish to take.

Talk

Cebuano is the common language here, followed by Filipino. Most of the staff at the resorts and dive shops speak English fluently. Most locals speak enough to get by.

Get in

By plane

Cebu Airport is the main gateway to Cebu Island for both international and domestic flights. It is 7 km SE of the North Bus Terminal in Cebu city.

By bus

There are 3 bus companies that ride To/From Maya from the North Bus Terminal in Cebu: Ceres, Cebu AutoBus and Rough Riders. The journey takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours, video and air-con 190 pesos, non air-con 160 pesos.

You could hire a taxi, or a private car from Cebu to Maya, as well as arrange a pick-up with one of the resorts.

By boat

From Maya a local ferry (banca) goes across am and pm with a break at lunch time, 'till 16:30. It takes about 1/2 hour and costs 80 pesos. First boat from Maya is at 06:30 Be aware that a ferry will not leave unless it has enough people, so aim to arrive earlier rather than later

Crossing can be rather wet and bancas have very little shelter from the elements. When arriving/departing from Malapascua shores be prepared to either jump into the shallow waters or walk down a rickety plank. At low tide you can transfer to a smaller boat for 20 pesos.

When arriving to Maya you may have to transfer to a very small banca for the last 200 meters. A private banca to Malapascua can be hired from Maya for 1200 pesos. If you have arranged transportation with your resort you don't need to worry about any of the above.

Malapascua can also be reached from Bantayan and from Leyte (San Isidero), but there's no ferry service.

Get around

There is no transport on the island — not that you will need any, as you can walk everywhere.

Alternatively, there are many locals who own mopeds called habal habal, who are willing to give you a lift. They charge a fee of php 10 for short ride, and php 20-30 from south to north. You can rent a motorbike for a whole day for php 1000.00.

See

Snorkeling and fishing. With its spectacular underwater flora and fauna there is much to see, making snorkeling a fine experience. A resort will rent boats, alternatively locals will take you on their fishing rakie. Marine Protected Areas for Snorkeling are:

Scuba diving. Waters off the island offers some of the most exciting extreme dives in the Philippines, with adrenaline pumping adventure, thresher sharks and manta ray encounters. The dive shops seem mindful of the environment and have a caring attitude towards their customers, which is as well considering the kind of fish roaming around. Dive shops offer introductory courses to advanced Scuba diving and there are a couple of wrecks to explore.

Walks. With about 6 km circumference, Malapascua has more than a few spots to see. It has a handful of exotic beaches like Bounty Beach, or Mangrove Bay, and to tower it all there is the Lighthouse, very popular when it comes to watching the sunset.

Do

Threshershark at the Monad Shoal

Malapascua is a diving destination. The main attractions are the thresher sharks and mantarays which are regularly encountered at the Monad Shoal. At other divesites, you can see mandarin fish, pygmy seahorses and the blue-ringed octopus.

PADI Instructor Development Course, IDC. Each season more divemasters choose Malapascua as their destination to go pro with the IDC course.

See also Diving in the PhilippinesMalapascua.

Dive Centers

Buy

Souvenirs. There are a couple of Malapascua T-shirt vendors around Bounty Beach, as well as craftsmen that sell wooden threshers shark figurines.

Groceries. There are a bunch of local shops scattered around the island. That sell from toiletries and painkillers to light bulbs, water, sodas, and snacks. There are fruit shops that sell bananas, apples, coconuts, tomatoes and other products.

Dive Shop. The big Dive Centers have a Dive Shop where you can buy wet suits, masks, knives, etc.

Books. We saw 3 shelves with a few hundred books up for free exchange at Malapascua Exotic Dive & Beach Resort (IDC Centre)and also at the BLUE CORALS RESORT.

Eat

You will see local eateries spread all over the island. Do not let their worn aspect put you off of a good and cheap meal; usually rice with choices of veggies, meat, and fish. Some evening stalls barbecue finger-licking pork satay.

Drink

Disco. During high season, there is a popular disco event every Saturday, surrounded by stalls that sell beers and sodas, or food. Not to be missed!

Sleep

On arrival a few official-looking touts await the visitors but they are superfluous, considering the number of resorts, so take your time to choose what suits you best.

Touts won't charge you a fee; they'll get 50+ pesos from the resorts, so be aware that they might just take you to the closest one or the one paying them the most rather than the best one.

Budget

Mid-range

Stay safe

There is a newly built basic clinic on Malapascua Island, close by to the Barangay Hall. That little clinic is now operating since 2012, but a Doctor comes only every Saturday to Malapascua's little Clinic. So to help in case of an emergency injuries outside of a Saturday, one still has to go to the next Doctor in Daanbantayan, and that is long way by boat and land transport.

For divers to get notice, the next decompression chamber is far away in Lahug, Cebu City, military hospital.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.