When you hear the word Malapascua, the first thing that comes to mind is diving, thresher sharks, and more diving. In fact, a lot of tourists from all over the world frequent the place for its underwater beauty. But this place is not limited to the divers. This tiny island in the northern part of Cebu is not only known for being one of the top diving spots in the Philippines, it is also considered one of the most captivating islands in the country. So, from a non-diver’s point of view, let me share with you our complete guide to the beautiful and relaxing island of Malapascua. EVOLUTION DIVE AND BEACH RESORT Malapascua Island, Malapascua, Daanbantayan Telephone: 0917 631 2179 Facebook: Evolution Diving Malapascua Website: www.evolution.com.ph/ Instagram: @evolutiondivingresort Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Check out low Evolution Dive and Beach Resort rates and availability from Booking and Agoda. Malapascua for Non-Diver’s Series: • MALAPASCUA: A Non-Diver’s Guide to the Island of Malapascua! • KALANGGAMAN: Leyte’s Island Paradise! (A Day Trip from Malapascua) • Where to Eat in Malapascua? (A Foodie’s Guide) Cebu has always been my second home. I have been traveling back and forth from the city to the south with friends and families for years, doing all sorts of adventures. And yet, it wasn’t until early this year that I got to visit Malapascua–a sleepy island with world-class diving sites. How to Get There From Cebu city, you can either take a bus from the North terminal bound for Maya port for P190, or you can rent out a yellow taxi for P2500. Travel time will take roughly around 4 to 5 hours for the bus or 3 hours for the taxi. There are also vans going to Maya port from the city, which are slightly faster than the bus service but will require much higher fees. Or you can try your luck with Uber to send you directly to Maya Port (P1200 to P1500). Do note that there are now two docks in Maya Port, the old and the new. But both ports will still offer boat transfers every 30mins for P100 each going directly to Malapascua. The ports are relatively small, but the boats are big enough to transport you safely and comfortably. From Maya port, the trip takes roughly 30 mins, depending on the weather conditions. We went there on a weekday and sadly, there weren’t many passengers. So instead of waiting forever to reach the minimum 15 passenger capacity, we decided to just rent out the whole boat for P1500 and split it amongst ourselves. The advantage of booking your own boat is you can request the boatman to drop you off your resort. Ideally, you should leave Cebu city early in the morning to avoid traffic and reach Malapascua before the 3pm last boat trip. Where to Stay There are plenty of resorts to choose from in Malapascua, but most are dive resorts. A high number of these resorts are located on the beach front while the backpackers’ inns and homestays are located at the back. For four days and three nights we booked a room and stayed at the Evolution Dive resort, one of the best premium dive resorts on the island. Evolution is a homey Filipino-inspired dive resort run by David Joyce and Matt Reed from Ireland and England respectively. Both are divers who fell in love with the Philippines and decided to start a Dive Resort. Matt began his journey way back in 2003 in Puerto Galera, then Dumaguete, and finally Malapascua. There are 16 rooms in Evolution with a choice of AC or Fan, all within a short walking distance from the beachfront and the restaurant. Evolution Dive resort is one of the most environment-friendly resorts and is part of the Green Fins effort. The whole resort is designed with the least impact on the environment as they do not use and provide plastic straws and disposable vanity kits. The whole resort is made out of locally sourced materials like bamboo and the traditional cogon roof. Diving Yes, diving in Malapascua is one of the main things you can do on the island, and I believe the best place to do so is with Evolution Dive Resort. They have all the gear and knowledge that any international dive resort can offer, and they have been doing it for many years. In here, guests can learn how to scuba and get their PADI certification from international certified PADI instructors. Evolution offers all sorts of courses and dive classes every day at a very competitive price. And the reason why Malapascua is the perfect diving spot is that it caters to a wide range of divers–from macro and beginners up to advanced divers with the Thresher sharks. What makes Evolution Dive resort really stand out is the friendly and helpful staff and their genuine will to help you improve. What to Do There are a lot of things to do in this not so tiny island. You can start your day by walking and exploring the long stretch of beach. Walking from end to end would take roughly around 1 ½ hours. The main beach is called Bounty Beach. The coastline itself is lined with restaurants and dive resorts on one side and a stunning beach on the other. Palm trees mostly cover the whole coast, and you won’t have a problem finding a place to chill, relax, and maybe even have a massage break. In fact, the water is so clean and clear that you can just literally swim straight out and Snorkel along the whole coast. But be warned, the beach can get crowded with parked boats after lunch. Kalanggaman Island tours are also offered all over the island for P800 with buffet lunch included. The boat leaves from Cocobana Resort at 9am and arrives back at around 4:30pm. Read More about our Kalanggaman Tour: www.ourawesomeplanet.com/kalanggaman.html Once you’ve explored this side of the island, you can then choose to rent a bike to explore the other end. The price for a one-way bike ride ranges from P30 to P50 per rider. And after a short 15 minute ride we finally reached the other side. On this side of town, you can hike up to a small light house above the hill. Entrance is free, and it took us 5-10 minutes to reach the lighthouse. We had to bash our way through thick vegetation and steep rocky terrain, but it was all worth it because we were rewarded with this awesome view of the island. From the lighthouse, you can also walk to a cliff jump spot where locals and tourists take turns jumping into the crystal clear waters. Come sunset, Malapascua shines best. We were there for three nights, and in those three nights, we witnessed some of the best sunsets we have ever seen. Here is a view of the sunset behind the Amihan restaurant. And our best sunset view yet from a nearby fishing village. We had to rent a bike for P20 to get to this spot. When night creeps in, the beach front starts to come alive with live music, colorful lights, and crowds of people eating and drinking along the coast. It felt relaxing just to walk along the shore at night while enjoying the refreshing breeze and looking at all the interesting stuff surrounding you. We even got invited to attend a full moon party inside Jun Jun Villasandra’s home/restaurant/bar. I have to admit, the place was kind of hard to find because it looked like a regular house from the outside. But the inside surprised us a lot. We didn’t expect to see a very cozy and colorful set up with live bands and groups of foreigners who seemed to have been residing on the island for years. The place was lively and happy with a good mix of kids interacting with adults and guests. We ended our night under the full moon with smiles on our faces as we listened to the reggae-inspired music by the “High Tide” band. Final Thoughts Overall, we enjoyed our four days and three nights stay in Malapascua even if we aren’t divers. We may not have seen the thresher sharks, but we still enjoyed the island in our own little way. During our stay, we always had something to do, be it exploring the island, swimming, or riding a bike to the unknown. Not to mention the beautiful scenery and pristine beach that you’ll enjoy during both day time and night time. Malapascua may be pricey for local tourists and primarily a haven for divers, but both can still enjoy the simple beauty of the island. The uncrowded and virgin beach certainly makes up for all its shortcomings and makes it truly an international destination. But what makes Malapascua truly special are the lovely and friendly locals. The great people on this island are the reason why people stay and return. EVOLUTION DIVE AND BEACH RESORT Malapascua Island, Malapascua, Daanbantayan Telephone: 0917 631 2179 Facebook: Evolution Diving Malapascua Website: www.evolution.com.ph/ Instagram: @evolutiondivingresort Email: email@example.com
Malapascua for Non-Diver’s Series: • MALAPASCUA: A Non-Diver’s Guide to the Island of Malapascua! • KALANGGAMAN: Leyte’s Island Paradise! (A Day Trip from Malapascua) • Where to Eat in Malapascua? (A Foodie’s Guide) Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Our stay in Malapascua was courtesy of Evolution Dive Resort. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.