Thursday, March 24, 2016

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Posted by Free-Spirited Vixen (Juliefe Cuenca) at 4:33 PM
     Malapascua Island is best known for its excellent local dive spots including Gato Island, Monad Shoal, and Kemod Shoal. The Monad Shoal is the only place in the world where you are practically guaranteed an encounter with the elusive and ever-startled-looking thresher shark. These bullet-shaped beauties are regular visitors to Monad Shoal, Malapascua in the Philippines where they emerge from the deep waters to have their skin maintained by the resident cleaners. 

    In our case, since no one in our group knows how to dive, we just went to Malapascua to enjoy the beaches and to snorkel a bit. Also, it is just 4 hours away from our residence which is in Cebu City and we thought that it was really ironic for us to have travelled farther places but not in the areas within our province. 
     We stayed in Blue Corals Resort, but there are also many other beach resorts to choose from. 

Blue Corals Resort, Malapascua Island

Stroll by the Bounty Beach
      Most of the resorts, restaurants, bars, and dive centers are by the shore of Bounty Beach.  Below is a map of the island.
Just click here to view a more detailed map
    Due to the structures by the beach, the shoreline area is now much narrower. However, one can just go to the farther end of the beach to enjoy wider shorelines and whiter sand. There are also other great places for swimming on the other sides of the island.       

Coral Garden
      It is on the eastern portion of the island.  The seabed is really filled with corals as far as the eyes can see, and beyond. However, most of the corals were destroyed due to the notorious Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda which struck in 2013, which also claimed thousands of lives and brought destruction to everything in its path. According to the folks, it would take more than 10 years to partially recover and rejuvenate these corals.
Blue Corals Resort, Malapascua Island

Here is a sample of what-has-been before the destruction brought by Typhoon Haiyan from, the blooger of which went there last 2011 

Shipwreck at Guimbitayan
     Also known as the Lighthouse Wreck since it is near the Lighthouse West. It is just around 5 meters deep and only a few remnants can be seen since the most of the steel were taken by the townsfolk to be sold. 
Lighthouse Shipwreck, Malapascua Island
Lighthouse Shipwreck, Malapascua Island    However, there are other wrecks to be seen in Malapascua but these already require diving skills. Some of them are as follows: 

         1) Dona Marilyn Wreck    18m-32m / 60ft-110ft

          2) MV Asia Wreck 20-26m/ 65-85 ft
           3)Tapilon Wreck    22m-28m / 70ft-90ft
            4) Pioneer Wreck    42m- 54m / 140ft-170ft

Pose by the Lighthouse in Ginbitayan Town
Lighthouse, Malapascua Island
Lighthouse, Malapascua Island

Dakit-Dakit Islets

    We heed the advice not to plunge (especially since we're not experienced swimmers) near the islets because of the strong current. We saw some snorkelers though so if you think you can manage the currents, you're welcome to do so.
Dakit-Dakit Islets, Malapascua Island
Dakit-Dakit Islets, Malapascua Island

Dipping, Swimming, & Splashing
    Actually, the Cebu Province, and the Philippines for that matter have far greater beaches to offer than those of Malapascua. What set this island apart iare its internationally acclaimed diving spots. Still, the clean and clear waters are really inviting amidst the scorching heat of the sun. 
Blue Corals Resort, Malapascua Island

Cliff Jumping
   This 40-50 ft cliff is just near the Lighthouse West, and should be part of the boat tour. In our case, we just skipped this one as nobody was daring enough in our group to make the hop. x_x
Photo courtesy of

How to Get to Malapascua

This entry from WikiTravel about sums it up:

By plane

Mactan-Cebu Airport is the international and national gateway to Cebu island. It is the second-busiest airport in the Philippines, there are many domestic and international destinations served. Cebu is approximately 150km south of Malapascua.

By bus

There are 2 bus companies, Ceres and Rough Riders, that run to/from Maya (the port at the very north of Cebu Island where you will catch the ferry to Malapascua) from the North Bus Terminal in Cebu (located in Mandaue, approximately 7kms from the airport). The journey takes 3.5-5 hours, and buses run every 30minutes. There are many stops along the way to pick up locals often travelling very short distances. Video and a/c 190PHP, non a/c 163PHP. Some buses will even have wifi. Ceres Tours AC buses at 7am, 9am and 11am. Vans are faster, cost 180PHP. But usually they leave only when fully loaded and if not packed to the top, they make circles through suburbs picking additional passengers- so expect rather pressed journey. If time is short or you just don't want the hassle of the buses, it is possible to hire a taxi or private car from Cebu to Maya, as well as arrange a pick-up with one of the resorts. Price for private car transfer from Cebu/Airport/Hotel to Maya, about 2500PHP one way.

By boat from Masbate

There are two boats that leave Masbate Island daily at 12pm (February 2014) bound for Polambato Port just north of Bogo, a town approximately 40km south of Maya. Montenegro Lines leave Cataingan on the west of Masbate, while Super Shuttle Ferry leaves from Cawayan on the east. Both ports are approximately 1.5hours from Masbate city. The ferry crossings take approximately 6hours. Fare is 365PHP from Cataingan, 380PHP (economy) from Cawayan. From Polambato port take a habal-habal (25PHP) or tricycle to the highway and flag down any of the many northbound buses from Cebu (40PHP, 1hour to Maya). Masbate Island can be reached by ferry to Masbate City from Pilar, twenty minutes from Donsol on Luzon. It is a good idea to leave Donsol very early in the morning to catch the first boat to Masbate from Pilar, as there isn't much in the way of accommodation or other tourist services at Cawayan or Cataingan. Bear in mind that the last ferry leaves from Maya at 4:30pm, so plan to overnight in Bogo or Maya, unless you want to charter a private boat across to Malapascua.

Ferry from Maya

The boats now leave from a new government pier located approx 2km from the old Maya pier. Public boats (bancas) go across roughly hourly between 06:30 until 16:30. It takes about 1/2 hour and a public boat costs 100PHP (current as of Feb 2016. use common sense - be sure to agree the price before getting on). Be aware that the ferries don't exactly run to a schedule, they leave when they have enough cargo or people, so aim to arrive earlier rather than later. They may also offer a 'private boat' to you for 1500PHP, telling you there isn't a public boat but this normally isn't the case if you arrive within the public boat operating hours. Be aware you may need smaller transfer boats at low tide which are 20 php per person. If you arrive after the public boat operating hours and would rather not pay the private boat fee then there is very reasonable accommodation at the beginning of the pier (pretty much the only building on the right). Ask for Dilbert/Ninapha or the Monicit Lodging House.
Crossing can be rather wet in choppy water and bancas have very little shelter from the elements. You may want to bring a rain coat or rain poncho from home, or buy one from a local department store for about 280 php. When arriving/departing from Malapascua shores be prepared to either jump into the shallow waters or walk down a rickety plank.
The Malapascua Business Group is trying to fight and stop the growing type of tourist cheating seen in Maya, which also spreads to Malapascua. If you feel you were ripped off at Maya here are the phone numbers and email to send your complaint:
Secretary of the Mayor: Sonny Luche, cellphone 0935 159 5800
Police Daanbantayan : 0916 423 3121, 032 437 8431
Mayor Augusto CORRO, phone 0917 812 1090, email:
Note the name of the boat, time and date of the action, and try to identify the involved persons by description to the Officials.
Malapascua can also be reached from Bantayan and from Leyte (San Isidero), but there's no regular ferry service.

Get around

The only motorised vehicles on the island (besides the boats) are motorbikes. Some may be willing to give you a lift - expect to pay a fee of 10PHP for short ride, and 20-30PHP from south to north. To rent a motorbike for a whole day 1000PHP. Local fishermen can also take you from A to B in their boat. To hire a boat and captain for 4hours is approximately 800PHP.


Ann Catherine Actub on May 17, 2016 at 2:51 PM said...

This island is to die for, it's actually in my wishlist..^^ Thanks for sharing. Now i have ideas on how to get there..^^ Lovely pictures..^^

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