Malapascua is part of the Philippine archipelago of visayas and is located north of the island of Cebu.
It is a small island, known above all for diving and in particular for the sighting of the thresher shark.
It also offers pristine beaches and a calm and relaxing atmosphere, and is a starting point for reaching the splendid Kalanggaman Island.
In this guide we will see all the tips to organize a trip to Malapascua and to enjoy the island even if, like me, you don't dive.
Tips for Visiting Malapascua Island
How to Reach Malapascua
Malapascua can be reached from Porto in Maya, located north of the island of Cebu. Ferries depart every 30 minutes, upon reaching a minimum of 10 people. The cost is PHP 100 (approximately € 1,70) per passenger. Or you can rent the entire boat for PHP 1.500.
The journey takes approximately 45 minutes depending on the sea conditions.
At low tide, the boats cannot reach the shore and you will be transferred to small boats which will take you ashore for PHP 20 per person.
To get to the port of Maya you have to take the bus from Terminal North di Cebu City, consider about 4-5 hours of travel, it depends a lot on how much traffic there is to leave the city.
If you are in Moalboal, to reach Malapascua by public transport, you have to go back to Cebu City, go to the north station and take a bus to Maya. So the journey to Malapascua will take you about 8 hours.
Otherwise you can take a taxi or, as we did, book a private transfer to the port of Maya, through your hotel.
Finally, if you are in Bantayan, you can take private boats that travel the Bantayan-Malapscua route and vice versa.
Where sleeping in Malapascua
Malapascua is a very small island, but offers a decent variety of resorts, most are also dive centers and are located on the main beach of Bounty Beach. Within the island there are mainly guest houses or hostels. Among these I suggest the Villa Sandra, which also offers a very good vegetarian-vegan restaurant, which we went to several times.
However, the advice is to choose a resort directly on the beach of Bounty Beach, where most of the clubs are located and where there is a minimum of nightlife in the evening, especially on weekends.
Among the best hotels in the area and on the island there is the Ocean Life Resort, located directly on the beach in an optimal position, convenient for diving and for anyone who wants to experience a relaxing stay. Excellent restaurant and very tasty cocktails.
But the most beautiful place to sleep in Malapascua is the Tepanee Resort, a wonderful structure with a breathtaking view, well-kept, elegant. The strong point is the private beach with sun beds and umbrellas available for guests and a restaurant.
The property is located on a small hill, between Bounty Beach and Logon Beach, so keep in mind that and there are several stairs to climb.
Especially if you are not a diver and you just want a few days of relaxation, surrounded by nature, this is the place for you.
Why Go to Malapascua
The main reason for going to Malapascua Island is definitely for diving. In fact, most of the people who choose Malapascua do it for its wonderful backdrops and for see the thresher shark.
The second reason for choosing Malapascua is for its beaches, ideals for a quiet holiday in a paradise not yet invaded by mass tourism. There is also the possibility of snorkeling and day trips to other islands, such as the unmissable birds.
If you are a snorkeling lover, keep in mind that in the Philippines there are many wonderful places to practice it, such as for example Moalboal a Cebu, where you can swim with turtles just a few meters from the shore.
But if you love diving then Malapascua is truly unique.
In short, Malapascua is the perfect place to switch off and rest, here you can breathe a calm and peaceful air. If you don't dive and you just want a few days of pure relaxation, I recommend that you dedicate a maximum of 3 days to Malapascua.
What to do in Malapascua
So let's see what to do in Malapascua, in addition of course to diving. Although the island is very small, there are still various activities to do, although the main one is sunbathing on the beach.
It is possible to participate in boat trips to visit the main snorkeling sites around Malapascua. There is also a spot where the wreck of a Japanese ship is located.
The island of Malapascua is no longer 3 km long, there are no cars but only scooters. The best way to get around it is on foot, allow about an hour to travel the stretch that goes from south to north.
If you want you can also rent a scooter, but it is easy to get lost in the streets of the island. Alternatively there are the taxi- scooter, you can use them to move from one point to another or to organize a daily island tour. The tour generally includes a visit to some of the most beautiful beaches, the lighthouse and the Sanctuary of Los Bamboos.
The best excursion if you are in Malapascua is Kalanggaman Island. A small atoll, reachable in about an hour and a half with a group tour. Usually we leave at 9:00 and return by 16:00. The cost is PHP 800 (about € 14,00) per person, plus an entrance fee of PHP 500. The island is a true paradise, a strip of sand with transparent waters.
On the beach of Bounty Beach, some bars offer Happy Hour from 16:00 to 18:00, basically if you order a drink they will bring you 2. Not bad!
Relax on the beach
It is perhaps the best activity that can be done in Malapascua. There are some very quiet and never crowded beaches to relax and occasionally cool off in the clear waters of the island.
So let's see what are the main beaches of Malapascua.
Bounty Beach is a long stretch of sand located on the southern coast of the island. Most of the resorts and diving schools are located here. The beach is white and soft and the waters are transparent. But there are too many boats and when we went (February) we found a lot of algae.
It is the beach where ferries leave and arrive, it is located in the southwest of the island not far from Bounty Beach. The waters are clean and transparent but there are too many boats. On the other hand, it is the best place to watch the sunset.
In my opinion Langub Beach is the best beach in Malapascua. It is located in the north of the island and is characterized by white sand and transparent waters. It is uncrowded and above all there are few boats.
Here you will find only one restaurant on the beach where you can buy fresh food or drinks and some sun loungers that you can use for free.
There is also a resort at Langub Beach, but I do not recommend sleeping there as the area is too isolated and far from the main village.
You can reach the beach by motorcycle taxi or even better with a nice walk, just ask the locals for directions and you will see that you will have no problem finding it.
In the extreme northwestern tip of the island, there is this strip of beach. Here the signs of Typhoon Yolanda are particularly evident, which devastated the island in 2013. The water is often choppy but the colors are incredible.
Cards or Cash
There are no ATMs or currency exchanges on the island. Some resorts change money but the fees are very high. Most hotels do not accept credit cards and if they do, they add very high percentages. So make sure you bring enough cash in local currency for your stay in Malapascua.
Malapascua or Bantayan?
Choose the best island in the Philippines it is never easy. For example if you are planning a trip to the Visayas region, you probably have to decide between Bantayan and Malapascua. In our indecision we wanted to see them both, also to be able to give you a porere. Let's face it I did it just for you!
In some ways I preferred Bantayan, the beaches were better for swimming or for relaxing in the water, especially Paradise Beach, which as the name suggests is a true tropical paradise.
Bantayan is much bigger than Malapscua and you can get around it by renting a scooter. Also from here it is possible to visit other islands, such as Virgin Islandor the same Malapascua.
Malapascua, however, has the charm of being tiny and to be able to be explored on foot through the local villages; plus it has the great advantage of being convenient for going to Kalanggaman and remains the undisputed paradise of diving.
However, you can easily visit both, in fact, although there are no public ferry services, you can easily find private boats that take you from Malapasqua to Bantayan and vice versa at a cost of about 2.500 PHP (about 40 €). If you are lucky you can do as we do and divide the price of the trip with another couple of tourists, thus halving the cost.
Even if you do not practice scuba diving, you can enjoy a few days of complete relaxation on the island of Malapasqua, enjoying the slow rhythms, ideal for recharging.
Do not be scared if you happen to see some abandoned resorts, some remains of boats on the beach and some damaged palm trees, they are the remains of Typhoon Yolanda who devastated the island in 2013.
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