Make Mine Malapascua

Summer’s upon us! I bet most of you have already made plans for summer activities and outings. And I’m sure that most will have the beach on their minds, with the hot, sizzling sun scorching the cities. For those of you who want to try something new, come and visit Malapascua Island in northern Cebu.

Malapascua, a charming little gem of an island. (courtesy of cbholganza)

Malapascua was one of the most devastated islands during the Haiyan onslaught. It has been trying to recover since. By choosing Malapascua, you not only enjoy a new environment, you are also able to help the islanders recover from the destruction caused by that deadly storm. It’s not a difficult sell, considering its beautiful beaches, its pristine waters, its unique dive offerings (ever dive with thresher sharks before?), and quiet laid back environment. It is the closest thing to Boracay 30 years ago; not crowded, not expensive, not too commercialized, with friendly people, and crystal clear waters.

Malapascua after Typhoon Haiyan. (courtesy of

Malapascua Island is located at the northern tip of Cebu. To get to there, you take a 3-hour bus ride from the Cebu City North Terminal to Maya Port, which is at the edge of the town of Daanbantayan, the last town north of the island of Cebu. From there, it’s a 30-40 minute banca ride to this charming little paradise island.

With its raw beauty, its pristine waters, it is said to be Boracay 30 years ago. (courtesy of

Perhaps it’s the long arduous trip from Cebu City that has made Malapascua not too well known among tour groups. But the good side of it is that its relative inaccessibility has made it survive the commercialization that other tour destinations are now suffering from. For some tour afficionados, for instance, too much commercialization has made Boracay look like ‘Cubao with sand’. Even the water in Boracay has been affected as the bacteria level has become a government concern. Hence, the emergence of such alternatives as Malapascua will only serve to help decongest Boracay, and save it from self-destructing.

Uncongested, clean, very private. Still, the evidence of the ravages of Haiyan is seen in its almost bald coconut trees. (courtesy of cbholganza)

There are lots of hotels and backpacker-type lodges in Bounty Beach. You can trek the whole of Bounty Beach in 15 – 20 minutes. There you’ll find the restaurants, the souvenir shops, and the beautiful sunset to the beat of the friendly zumba music in the late afternoon. Except for the Exotic Resort where I had an unpleasant experience with an overzealous cashier who didn’t want to provide me an official receipt, everything else was purrfect!

Exploring Bounty Beach. (courtesy of cbholganza)

You can find lots of wonderful sights to see and things to do in Malapascua. For the non-divers, there’s plenty of snorkeling sites around the island. There’s beach-bumming (adventure), sun-tanning (for those who aren’t dark enough yet), and there’s climbing the Malapascua Lighthouse (for those who need the exercise). Then there’s cliff-diving (for the more adventurous), the afternoon zumba (more exercise!), the beach massage (relaxing after the exercise), and partying and boozing in the evening (more relaxation!).

Cliff-diving, anyone? (courtesy of

But the island’s biggest come-on is its so-called shark tourism. Diving in Malapascua affords you a chance to mingle with big beautiful thresher sharks. These sharks are there to have their regular clean-up, provided free of charge courtesy of fish called the cleaner wrasses. I’m sure that every diver dreams of being able to dive with the sharks. In Malapascua, your wish will likely come true. Aside from the sharks, there are wreck sites that are great diving adventures as well, plus the breath-taking corrals and the fish sanctuaries. Thus, if only for the diving and snorkeling, a trip to Malapascua – even for beginners – is well worth it.

Getting close and personal with some thresher sharkies. Yikes!!!! (courtesy of trip advisor)

If you’re looking for some new adventure, come to Malapascua. You’ll have a guaranteed blast.

Beach-bumming, my favorite sport. (courtesy of

For questions on prices and what to see or what to eat in Malapascua, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I can help you find what’s best for your needs. See you there.

(pics courtesy of,, centcom,,,, nick collier, trip advisor,, heather holt, and cbholganza)


  1. Great article and photos.
    I was there for a few days four years ago and loved it although I’m not a diver. The resort hotel did explain to me that they wouldn’t normally accept bookings from non divers as they tend to earn most of their income from the diving trips. Fortunately they weren’t busy so we were made most welcome.
    The tedious drive from Cebu City is a mixed blessing as the frightful Cebu infrastructure means most tourists don’t bother heading North, Bantayan also benefits/ or not, for this reason!


    1. Amazing!!! Good to know you’ve been there, Tim. The infrastructure is now getting better, so there’s better accessibility to the two islands. I’m involved in the reconstruction of Bantayan and Daanbantayan, hence there’s the desire to help the folks here. I still don’t have a project in Malaascua itself, but I promised the chairman of the Rebuild Malapascua that I’d be helping them out. This article’s for starters. By the way, the Craic House there is partly owned by an Irish gentlemen, Tim. You’d wonder how an Irish Pub would find its way to the tropical isles!


      1. I shall definitely check it out again Charly, it was a sublime place. I loved Bantayan also, it was seven years since I visited and the quality of accommodation then was poor although I’m aware how much standards throughout the Phils have risen since then. I seem to recall someone telling me that Bantayan island is the main exporter of eggs to the Visayas!
        As for those Irish Pubs they’re as ubiquitous as Filipinos!


        1. Haha! True. Pinoys and Irish pubs. They’re everywhere!!! And yes, the hotels in both Bantayan and Malapascua have certainly improved. You should come over and take a look at the improvements. Perhaps buy a piece of property here. Lots of foreigners have homes here already. They so love the place!


  2. I’m going to Malapascua next year. And i really want to try diving. It’s on my bucket list to do before I die. LOLS.

    I really want to know how much? 🙂


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