Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's Good to Be Back, Malapascua

Malapascua, an unlucky Christmas for the Spaniards who, one stormy Christmas day in the 1500s, found themselves on this island. Unlucky? Pessimists! If I were them, I would have rejoiced upon finding myself on this little gem on the northern tip of Cebu!

It was not until 11 years ago when I really did find myself rejoicing and laughing and rolling on the sand of this laid–back, sleepy island.

Under a blanket of stars, all the island was asleep — until I broke the cool, dark, quiet night, laughing my head off at my not–so–sober sister who plunged head first on the sand when she snagged her feet on the rope that was anchoring a pumpboat to a tree. And, fueled by alcohol, laughter rang on when I fell from one end of the sunchair and rolled on the sand when the person sitting on the other end stood up. It was a long night of laughter with friends and siblings. And it was my nth birthday.

Since then, I have rejoiced, laughed, explored, slept, ate, and done nothing all at the same time, in whatever weather, once a year on this island that I want to call home.

Except for the past two years that I have not taken at least two days off my calendar for this island. Two days. A weekend. A weekend in Malapascua is never enough for me. But, sometimes, a weekend is all I have. And on a weekend this December, like a dog who has found its owner after being missing for too long, I wagged my mustache all the way from the North Bus Terminal to the island.

It is good to be back.

No low–budget accommodation, thanks to a wallet that would rather spend on food, stopped me from feeling happy to be back. (If you know me, then you know that I don't mind low–budget rooms. With a clean room and a working toilet, I'm good.)

K5 Fan Rooms with ensuite toilet at Php600 per room (for two persons; Php150 for extra person)

No gray day or anything else suppressed my appetite. Food is always a picker–upper! I had looked forward to eating at my favorite Malapascua Island haunts: cheap meals at Ging–Ging's and pizza at Angelina. Plus trying out a new one: Iroha Japanese Restaurant.


Angelina (Italian)

Iroha (Japanese)

No gray skies, rain, and rough sea stopped me from flopping around in the water, looking for fish in the coral garden, Dakit–Dakit, and over the Japanese ship wreck near the island's lighthouse... except really strong current that threatened to take me away. Oh, and maybe a shark. Just kidding. There was no shark. Just very low visibility.

Gray day for snorkeling

That Saturday may have been a gray day, but it ended with some color: a faint rainbow that pierced the sky just before welcoming a glorious sunset.

A faint rainbow

Oh glorious sunset

Sunday brought a vast blue sky...


...and a bright rainbow.

Sunny Sunday painted the island a beautiful blue and green.

It is good to be back, Malapascua.
So good to be back.

How to go to Malapascua Island: From Cebu City, go to the North Bus Terminal [(032) 346 7346] and take the Ceres bus to Maya (4 hours, Php 163, bus leaves every 30 minutes. Aircon buses at 5AM/7AM/10AM/1PM/4PM/6PM). At Maya wharf, take the pumpboat to Malapascua Island (30–45 minutes, Php 80, several boat trips from 6AM to 2PM; if the tide is low, you may have to take a dinghy to the pumpboat for another Php 20; same goes when arriving in Malapascua during lowtide).

Where to stay in Malapascua Island: There are many resorts on the island. Most are on Bounty Beach, the island's main beach. Beachfront ones are the most expensive, while the cheapest ones can be found inland. 

The resorts along Bounty Beach (listed from west to east) are:
♦ Cocobana

There are other accommodations not on Bounty Beach, and you can find a list of accommodations in this website. K5 Rooms [0936 605 8847], see second photo in this post, is not really inland, but about 100m from shore. It is just behind Thresher Shark Divers, which is beside Blue Water. 

Where to eat in Malapascua Island: Some of the resorts along Bounty Beach like CocobanaOcean VidaHippocampusMalapascua Legend, and Exotic Island Dive Resort have its own restaurant, but then food here can be expensive. I also spotted three beachfront restaurants: The Craic House, Iroha Japanese Restaurant, and Mabuhay. Other options, and my favorites are: Ging–Ging's for cheap food, and Angelina for pizza.

What to do in Malapascua Island: Scuba dive—Malapascua is a diver's paradise with dozens of dive spots and home to thresher sharks. Snorkel—for Php400 per person, a guide will take you to three snorkeling spots around the island: the coral gardens, Dakit–Dakit, and the Japanese shipwreck. The fee is good for three hours, and already includes a lifevest, mask, and snorkel. Explore—you can explore the island on foot or hire a motorbike or a motorbike and driver/guide, and go see the lighthouse and other beaches on the island.


  1. I always thought that Malapascua was only for divers. Heard they have the best dive spots in the country. Would have wanted to head out there but the weather lately is rather gloomy for some fun in the sun. Maybe next year.

    I am also delighted that the resort does not bore a huge hole on my pocket. HAHA

    1. Yes, most go there to dive, specially for the thresher sharks. I go there to do nothing :)

      Warning about the room we stayed in... the bathroom's knob is broken. Hahaha :)) And the well maintained beachfront is in Ocean Vida and Exotic/Aabana area.