This island lies in the middle of the Philippines, located northern part of Cebu; west of Leyte. Also known as Logon Island, Malapascua got its name from Spaniards, who landed on the island on a stormy Christmas day. Malapascua is a Spanish term for “unfortunate Christmas.”
The island is just 1 kilometer wide and 2.5 to 3 kilometers long. It is possible to stroll around it for 3 hours. This island like all others is famous for its white sand beach. What keep this island apart from the rest are the unique dive spots.
Recreational divers travel a thousand miles to visit Malapascua for the possibility of seeing the rare thresher shark at the Monad Shoal. Thresher sharks are primarily pelagic; they prefer the open ocean, venturing no deeper than 500 meters or 1,600 ft (Wikipedia) but in Malapascua there’s a big chance of seeing this shark in 20 meters of water and that what put this island on the international diving map.
Aside from the Thresher shark, rich marine resources and clear waters; sunken Japanese galleons that serve as the silent witnesses of the World War II also tickle divers and tourists’ desire for adventure.
How to Get to Malapascua
- From Airport take a cab to Cebu City Northern Bus Terminal. You may either take a cab Php200.00 – Php250.00 (from airport flat rate is Php30.00 for the white taxi and Php70.00 for the yellow one) or you may take the cheapest way of transportation – jeepney. It is a hassle way of travelling and it takes time, but something to consider if you want to save money; after all that’s what my blog is designed for – budget travelers. If you will take the colorful jeepney, hail one and take off at Pusok, from there you take another ride to SM City Cebu, then to the Cebu City Northern Bus Terminal, it only cost Php7.00 – 10.00 per ride.
- Once you get to the Cebu City Northern Bus Terminal, take the bus to Daanbantayan/Maya which is roughly 150 kilometers away from the city. The trip usually takes 4 – 4.5 hours. Fare cost Php90.00 for a non-airconditioned bus and Php150.00 for airconditioned one. The first bus leaves for Maya around 4AM, then every hour until 4PM. On your way to Maya, you’ll pass through villages, cities, infrastructure, changing landscapes, fields, forests, and mountains which make the travel less dreary.
- Upon reaching Maya wharf, which is the bus’ last stop, you will continue the journey to the island by a boat. This will take another 30 minutes and cost Php50.00 per person, minimum of 10 passengers. A special trip will cost as much as Php1200.00 - Php1500.00. (Note: If you ride with other passengers, waiting time could last for hours!)
- When the tide is especially low, the pump boat has to anchor 60-80 meters from the shore and that you have to again ride a little rowboat before your feet finally land on the islands’ white sand. This cost Php10.00 per person and Php10.00 for each piece of big and heavy luggage.
Foods and Accommodation
We stayed at BB’s Lodging House (native cottages). An overnight cost us Php1200.00 (4 persons Php300.00 each). Prices vary depending on the season. Other affordable resorts to consider are Borgreen Lodging House, Mariquita S.Yeung, and White Sand Bungalows.
Ging-ging’s Garden Restaurant is the cheapest I discovered in the island so far. Open from 6:30am to 10pm serving Filipino, American and Italian dishes. A meal costs only Php50.00 – Php80. The only flaw is that there are flies around, and that you have to fan your food with your hands while eating. Don’t worry, its manageable. –wink-
Important Information: There’s no tap water available for drinking. Water coming from the faucets is salty.
Malapascua is the exact opposite of Boracay or Puerto Galera when it comes to nightlife. The exquisiteness of this island is very much unspoiled; it is light-years behind when it comes to bars and nightclubs. At night instead of loud music from bars and nightclubs, what you’ll hear is the sound of a gecko and what you’ll feel is the soothing breeze of the ocean caressing your skin.
Here time stands still…
My Unsolicited Advice
I personally won’t recommend this island, unless you’re a recreational diver. Honestly, it is difficult to appreciate the islands beauty after a long journey. Yes, the hours of travel doesn’t compensate the island’s splendor. There are beaches nearer which offer the same scene as Malapascua.
For Cebuanos though, Malapascua is something to be proud of. It is a place to treasure. I hope that the local government will make a way to preserve the islands beauty. I noticed that the island’s shore has a handful of dried coconut twigs, plastic wastes and stray dogs.
Related Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thresher_sharks)