No “white sand beach” list in the Philippines would be complete without including Malapascua Island in Northern Cebu. Dubbed as the Maldives of the Philippines (I haven’t been to Maldives so I don’t know if this is true), Malapascua’s sprawling stretch of white sand and crystal clear water and laid-back community are a perfect combination to fulfill your “unplugged” or “to the solitude” facebook status.
It is endowed with incredible marine biodiversity that includes the amazing vivid Coral Garden and Thresher Shark sightings in Monad Shoal. Its brilliant seascapes dotted with reclining coconut trees are so idyllic that it has been one of the best destinations for summer photographs.
The island is off the grid. Its far flung location makes it a less crowded tourist destination. In fact, in our overnight stay on the island. I rarely saw Filipinos walking on the shore most of those that are sunbathing are white.
While frolicking on its shore, I noticed that there are plenty of restaurants offering international dishes (not to mention that rates are also pricy, you need to shell out at least Php 1500 ($34) to get a decent meal for two). Because we are more inclined to stick to our budget we went to ever famous “Ging-Ging’s Eatery” to have our everyday meal fix. The meals mostly cost around 120 – 150. We also ordered our dinner in advance and had it packed because we were worried that will have a hard time getting into the alleys when it gets dark.
Photo by: Ivo De Bruljn
My notes says aside from the major diving sites in Malapascua, there are four snorkeling locations every non-divers can visit to experience the island’s rich marine life. On the list are Coral Garden, Cliff-Diving Site, WWII Shipwreck (fronting the lighthouse) and Dakit-dakit Island.
Although the shoreline is wad by hotels, restaurants and bars, the place has surprisingly retained its serenity. Lounges are scattered on the beach because beach bumming is mandatory in a tropical paradise like this.
How to Get To Malapascua Island
- Fly to Cebu
- Hire a cab from Mactan Cebu International Airport to North Bus Terminal. Taxi fare ranges from 180Php to 200 Php. Travel time is about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Ride any bus going to Maya-Daanbantayan. Travel time is approximately 4-4.5 hours with 3-4 bus stops along the way. Bus fare is 130.00 Php for ordinary bus. The bus will stop directly at Maya port where outrigger boats may be rented to go to Malapascua.
- From Maya port, take the boat going to Malapascua Island. No, there’s no fixed schedule of public boats as these boats usually wait until it gets full. Boat ride is 45 to 50 minutes. Fare is Php100.00
- During low tide, outrigger boats cannot dock on the shore so you still have to rent small paddle boats to reach the docking area. It costs around Php20.
- Get a habal habal service to bring you to your resort. Some resorts offer free transfer so better check it with them.
Where to Stay in Malapascua Island
Mike and Diose’s Resort (www.aabana.de/index.html)
Beach front accommodation at very affordable rates. Free Breakfast
Contact No.: +63905-263-2914, 0917-523-4105
Malaspacua Travel Tips
- Stock up on cash before you leave the mainland because there are no ATM and banks on the Malapascua Island.
- Buy your basic needs in the city before heading North, you’ll be glad you bought your bottled waters and snacks before boarding the bus.
- There’s an SM Hypermarket near North Bus Terminal which opens at 8:30am. I consider it walking distance but you can ride a jeep that leads to SM Cebu, it’s hard to miss with its green signage.
- Aircon buses to Maya Port are scarce. They don’t have a regular schedule so don’t be picky because you’re only option is to ride an ordinary bus.
So how did we do our travel to Malapascua Island in less than $45?