A hidden gem that was only really made known to the public in the early 1990s, Malapascua Island is a very small island only two and a half by one kilometers big. It is located in an area called the Visayas in the Philippines. Though it was originally best known for its wide white sandy beach, it has since become one of the best places for diving to view the gorgeous coral gardens, coral walls, and plethora of aquatic life the surrounds the island. Many travel to the island to view thresher sharks and manta rays in the underwater plateau of Monad Shoal, though there’s plenty more to see and do for adventurous visitors.
There are a few things to note before you grab your gear and set off for the island, however. Firstly, there are no ATMs on the island, and as such you’ll need to bring your cash with you. It’s recommended to exchange your currency before reaching the island as well. Secondly, because the island is so small and businesses, hotels, and homes are so close together, noise may become an issue when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. Cockerels are kept by most people on the island, and have been known to crow throughout the night. Be sure to bring earplugs if you’re a light sleeper!
As a final note of things to remember when visiting the island, Malapascua Island is an isolated developing island that has only recently seen the advancement of 24-hour electricity and WiFi. Well water and rain water is used throughout the island, and you might be shocked to realize that the amenities are different from the full range of Western facilities and services most people are used to while on trips. Keep an open mind and be prepared to do like the natives do!
To help you further prepare for you trip, we’ve laid out the how to get to the island, the best places to stay when you get there, and a handful of fun activities you can enjoy while there! Read on to get some ideas and inspiration and to see if Malapascua Island sparks your interest!
How to get there?
From Cebu City
Starting from Cebu City, you’ll want to make your way to Maya port via bus or taxi. If you decide to take a bus from the Cebu North Terminal, your travel time will be around four to five hours and cost you under 200 peso (air conditioned buses cost more than those without). Taxis will get you to Maya Port in nearly half the time that the buses take, though the cost is a bit steeper at around 5,000 peso. A cheaper way to get to Maya Port would be to book a mini-van private transfer.
Once you get to Maya Port, you’ll have two options for how to get to Malapascua Island.
One option is to take the public boat, which costs 50 peso, takes half an hour to complete its journey, and leaves when enough passengers have boarded. The boat runs until 6:00 in the evening, so if you miss the last boat you’ll have to wait until the morning to leave the island. During low tide you’ll have to pay paddle boat operators to take you to the shore of Malapascua, which costs 20 peso. You can also opt to take a private boat, though the cost will be a bit more expensive – 1,000 to 1,500 peso.
Where to stay?
Malapascua Island Guesthouse – Romantic Place Guesthouse
Situated on Malapascua Island, Romantic Place Guesthouse is a guesthouse that makes socializing fun, easy, and exciting! Guests are welcome to use the free toiletries, complimentary WiFi available throughout the property, and private bathrooms. If you’re lucky enough, your room may even have a lovely sea view or a balcony with a pool view! The guesthouse also has a garden, terrace, and shared lounge for guests to gather together in!
Why Guests Love It: Those that stayed at Romantic Place Guesthouse have ranked it high on the charts of best places to stay on the island! Not only that – they say it’s got the best coffee around, too! Guests are always pleased with the clean accommodations, size of the rooms, great location on the island, breakfast and lunch options, and friendly staff. The on site restaurant always serves food that hits the spot, and the seaside views bring the whole experience together quite nicely!
Book It Now: Romantic Place Guesthouse
Malapascua Island Resort – Tepanee Beach Resort
What’s a tropical island without a tropical beach getaway? Spanning 10,000 meters squared, Tepanee Beach Resort is a one-stop-shop for a relaxing, unwinding, and having having fun in the sun! The resort offers access to a private beach where guests can enjoy playing in the surf and engaging in numerous water sport activities. The rooms have air conditioning and ceiling fans, though delightfully fresh ocean breezes can be felt from guests’ private balconies.
Why Guests Love It: One of the biggest selling points for Tepanee Beach Resort is their amazing new spa that features a spa bath with eight seats and relaxing massages. Guests enjoy viewing the beautiful sandy beaches and clear ocean water right from their rooms and the private beach, as well as the large, spacious rooms and friendly staff. Overall, the tasty on site meals, breathtaking views, and numerous amenities provided at Tepanee Beach Resort always keep guests coming back for more!
Book It Now: Tepanee Beach Resort
Malapascua Island #1 – Bounty Beach
The main hub for recreational activities on the island, Bounty Beach is a huge stretch of white sandy beach that features restaurants, bars, dive shops, resorts, souvenir stores, and more! This beach is the center of much of the partying, eating, drinking, socializing, relaxing, and shopping to be had on the island. Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, a loved one, or just heading out solo, there’s plenty to do parties of any size at Bounty Beach!
Aside from the magnificent shops and eateries found on the beach, the lovely inviting waters of the beach themselves can be just as fun to explore and examine! There are plenty of shady spots set up near the water, so don’t worry about bringing your own chairs and sun protection! The beach is actually most famous for the graceful predators that frequent the area, though not everyone is brave enough to want to go diving with a thresher shark! If you’re brave enough, you can always rent equipment at a nearby shop and start swimming alongside these large, beautiful creatures in no time!
Malapascua Island #2 – Logon Beach
If the action and excitement of Bounty Beach doesn’t suit your fancy, head over to the more secluded cove of coconut trees on Logon Beach! You can get up close and personal to the traditional bangka boats – outrigger boats used by locals to get too and from the island and catch fish. The main boat that ferries passengers to and from the island leaves from and arrives at Logon Beach as well, so it’s likely to be the first beautiful sandy area you see during your visit! If you ever need to leave the island during low tide, you’ll likely have to board a bangka to make your way to the main vessel!
Since the water remains pretty shallow during low tide until you’ve walked a decent distance into the waves, this beach is perfect for families with small children who also want to enjoy some sand and sun! During high tide, however, the water comes right up to the bay and is enjoyable for swimming and splashing around. You don’t even need snorkeling or diving gear to find starfish, crabs, shells, sea urchins, and tons more interesting creatures and keepsakes. Best of all, the sunset seen from Logon Beach is one of the best you can find on the island that has a dramatic and eye-catching backdrop!
Malapascua Island #3 – Lapus Lapus Island and Cliff
Surrounding the island are rocky outcroppings and islets that have a large array of wildlife and plants that visitors can view at their leisure. Taking a little trip on one of the many bangka that can be rented, guests can make their way to a protected inlet where docking is easy and swift to get to Lapus Lapus, Malapascua Island’s own little Batanes. The island is home to luscious greenery that looks perfect in all photographs, as well as quirky wildlife that you can capture on your camera!
The cliffs are lined with sharp rocks below, but experienced cliff divers come from all over to take the plunge! Be sure to listen to your guides if you’re a novice cliff jumper, as some areas area easier and safer to jump from than others! Even if you don’t plan on diving into the ocean from the cliffs to get your heart rate going, the beauty and wonder of the island’s natural scenery will keep you entertained as you find new plants and specimens to look at! Don’t forget to bring your camera, some sunscreen, and a good pair of shoes with you to the island if you want the best experience possible!
Malapascua Island #4 – Langub Beach
Void of resorts, restaurants, and bars, Langub Beach is perfect for those looking to get away from the main hustle and bustle of the island. This beach is actually quite popular with surfers, as the waves are absolutely killer and the boats are hauled away from the beach to give ample room for water activities. Both swimmers and sunbathers also enjoy the calm, quiet atmosphere the beach provides.
Langub Beach is easy to get to, as it takes less than half an hour to walk there by foot from Bounty Beach, or you can always take a motorbike taxi and arrive in a quarter of the time. If you do get a bit peckish or thirsty during a relaxing day on the isolated beach, there are small shops relatively close that sell an assortment of snacks and drinks. Many visitors bring their own food to the beach to set up picnics near the large talisay tree, though with such a largely deserted and empty beach you can have your choice of picnic locations anywhere on the white sandy shore!
Malapascua Island #5 – Japanese Wreck Marine Sanctuary
For those who are looking to see some local aquatic life or historic sites that can’t be found anywhere else, the Japanese Wreck Marine Sanctuary has everything a diver or snorkeler could ever need! The sunken ship is both eerie and mesmerizing to explore, and its size is almost incomprehensible until you find yourself face to face with it! You can really get a sense of the vessel’s original power and utility from how large the remains still are to this day. Today, the wreckage is colored not only by rust, but also large formations of beautiful coral that have attached themselves to the ship’s hull.
Along with the rusted remains of the ship, thousands of unique aquatic creatures who have made the shipwreck their home can also be viewed by both novice and professional divers and snorkels alike! Massive scorpion fish, large groupers, eagle rays, barracuda, tuna, moray eels, scorpion fish, frogfish, flatworms, snappers, sea horses, and more all gather around the wreckage to provide perfect photo opportunities for those swimming around and above!
If you’re looking to experience an authentic slice of Filipino life where you can mix seamlessly with locals, then Malapascua Island should be your number one destination to visit in the Philippines! The island is also a great place to visit if you’re more into diving and seeing amazing underwater sights that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world, or if you just want a relaxing getaway from the stresses and responsibilities of life. Whether it’s snorkeling, socializing, relaxing, or exploring, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy on Malapascua Island.
PS: For more beautiful beaches in the Philippines, feel free to check out this blog post: Best Beaches in Philippines.