Malapasqua Island Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Malapasqua Island, a small 2.5 by 1 kilometre island situated across from the northernmost tip of Cebu Island is, for lack of a better term, a beach paradise.
Why go to Malapasqua
Malapasqua Island only really became a tourist destination in the last 20 years, but now that it has, tourists can’t seem to get enough of the white sand beaches and its coral reefs.
Malapasqua is a destination for those who want to get away from it all and get under the water. Divers, first and foremost will find the island to be a treasure trove of dive sites.
Dozens of dive shops on the island will be happy to take you out to the sites, which include an old Japanese shipwreck and where year-round sightings of Thresher sharks occur and sitings of manta rays have occurred if the season is right. The coral is untouched and the fish are plentiful, so even if you don’t spot one of these, you’ll still have a great dive.
If you aren’t certified to dive, it’s not a problem at all. You can choose snorkelling or you can get become a diver on the spot as the dive shops are more than happy to provide dive certification courses at a fraction of the cost that they can be found in other popular diving destinations. For instance, Evolution Diving is located right on Bounty Beach and offers day trips to the most popular sites. A good alternative is Fun and Sun, one of the newest companies on the island, which offers dives for between PHP1,300 and PHP1,500.
It’s hard to overstate the variety and quality of the things that you will see when you embark on a dive at Malapasqua. It’s one of the best places in the Philippines if you’re hoping to see larger fish like hammerhead sharks, which are common, as are whitecap sharks. Turtles are spotted occasionally as are seahorses, cuttlefish and octopus. Unfortunately small and medium-sized fish have been overfished during the last few decades and Malapasqua isn’t the best option for those hoping to see small and colourful fish for as far as the eye can see. However, the amazing coral and thresher shark sightings (incredibly rare for these to be seen by divers) keep folks coming to the site.
When to go to Malapasqua Island
Like the rest of the Philippines, Malapasqua Island experiences a rainy season in the fall and early and a dry season for the rest of the year. The wet season is nothing to scoff at either, Malapasqua has suffered from multiple typhoons in recent years, so be aware that this is a possibility.
Where to stay on Malapasqua Island
Although the island is relatively small, there are enough lodging options for people of any budget. The cheapest rooms not he island can be had in the neighborhood of PHP500 but you can score a beach bungalow with WiFi at a resort called Blue Water for PHP1,000.
If you’re on the hunt for something a little fancier, you’ll be able to find a number of resorts in the area as well. At Aabana Beach and Watersports Resort, rooms can be had for anywhere from 1,300 to 2,100 PHP. Each room is a cottage and feature television, wifi and air conditioning. The most expensive and well appointed of the island’s resorts is the Legend Resort, which in addition to having beach access also features a pool. Rooms range from the most basic to a very fancy presidential suite.
Keep in mind that because electricity is expensive on the island, hotel rooms with air conditioning will be more expensive than rooms without. Similarly, some hotels may not offer hot water showers.
Where to eat in Malapasqua Island
Naturally, a dive will whet your appetite and before too long you’ll be wanting something to eat. As with many locations in the Philippines, at night, the street food stalls come out, generally near the beach and are the place to go if you want to dine like a local. In addition, there’s a fruit market downtown if you find yourself getting peckish during the middle of the day.
However, if you’re looking for a more sit-down type establishment, arguably the most popular eatery on the island is The Craic House. The menu changes daily, and is made from scratch from fresh ingredients bought by the owners. Oscar’s is considered by many to be a close second, and is an outdoor beachfront eatery. The owners are British, so expect to find traditional pub food like bangers and mash as well as fish and chips, although the menu changes every day, depending on what is fresh. At both of these locations, you can enjoy a good meal for around PHP300.
How to get around Malapasqua Island
Although some of the resorts are happy to rent bikes, the best way to get around the island is with a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Both of these options are competitively priced, though it’s always best to agree on a price before getting in, in order to avoid any nasty surprises
How to get to and from Malapasqua Island
From Manila, the best way to get to Malapasqua Island is a flight to Cebu Island and then from there you can take bus or van to the island.
The buses from Cebu run on the half hour and they cost between PHP160-190. You should expect the journey to take around four hours. Shared vans also run to the island but they can take a while to fill up and they cost a bit more at PHP180. You’re also able to hire a private car to take you to the island, but the cost will be significantly more expensive.
Is Malapasqua Island safe to visit?
Be sure to have enough cash on hand when you visit the island, there are no ATMs on the island that accept international cards.
Malapasqua is a safe destination, to be sure, with violent crime almost unheard of. Perhaps the most dangerous thing about the Island is the possibility of sunstroke or an injury to occur while diving. Be advised that there are no decompression chambers on the island, so be careful while enjoying the waters.