UPDATE (April 10, 2014): Kuya Jevie, the boatman’s new contact number is 0926-516-7712
Malapascua was dubbed as “boracay two decades ago”. While I cannot attest to its comparison to the 2012 World’s Best Island by Travel + Leisure, I know for a fact that Malapascua sure has its share of pristine beaches, majestic view of sunrise and sunset and clear waters teeming with rich marine life.
Malapascua island is located at the northern tip of Cebu, accessible via four-hours land travel and a forty-five minutes boat ride. It is popular with foreign tourists, mostly westerners, because of monad shoal where thresher sharks are a common site during early morning. As a matter of fact, Filipino visitors were ginormously outnumbered by Western tourists during our visit to the island.
The Island was named Malapascua (meaning “Bad Easter or Unfortunate Christmas”) by the Spaniards whose ship was stranded on the island on 1520 Christmas due to bad weather. But our 2D1N stay in the island for my birthday celebration is anything but unfortunate. It sure is exhausting to get there but the island itself is an unexpected gift that welcomes wary but strong-willed travellers.
A trip to Malapascua may include the following activities:
1. Early morning dive at Monad Shoal. Monad shoal is world-famous because of year-round common sight of thresher sharks and manta rays. However, we didn’t try this one since I do not know how to swim and dive.
2. Snorkelling trip to four sites. – This one’s for non-divers like me who want to experience Malapascua’s rich marine life. You may rent a boat that will take you to four snorkelling sites – coral garden, cliff-diving site, WWII shipwreck fronting the lighthouse, and Dakit-dakit island.
3. 50-ft cliff diving. Adrenaline junkies may opt to try the 50ft cliff-jumping in one of snorkelling sites.
4. A day trip to Kalanggaman island. A two-hour boat trip from Malapascua island will bring you to an islet with long stretch of white sand and clear waters mirroring the blue sky above. Kalanggaman Island is technically part of Leyte province but its proximity to Malapascua made it a daily offering of boatmen to the island visitors.
5. Sun bathing /swimming in Malapascua’s white sand beaches. When you have tried all the activities above, you can just doze on the sand. Malapascua boasts of a number of white sand stretches and clear waters to choose from. There is the Bounty beach where most accommodation options are situated, and Bario Logon beach fronting the local residents’ houses. Other shores of Malapascua include Los bamboos beach and Bantigue cove.
6. Chasing the sun. From sunrise to sunset, Malapascua Island displays the sun’s power in the morning and modesty in the afternoon.
WHERE TO STAY IN MALAPASCUA:
1. Mike and Diose. The inexpensive beach cottages of Mike and Diose’s are our first choice of accommodation in Bounty beach but they were already fully booked when we called them for reservation. For 600.00 Php, you can have a beach front fan room for two with breakfast (common bathroom). Contact Information: +63905-263-2914, 0917-523-4105
2. Bluewater Beach Resort. We reserved our room in Bluewater Beach Resort via email. We availed the air-conditioned standard room with two queen size beds, with its own bathroom and a terrace overlooking the beach. Free breakfast and welcome drinks are included in the room rates. We got ours for 2,500.00 Php. They also have rooms for 1,500.00 Php to 5,500.00 Php.
Everything went smoothly well upon our arrival in the resort until we noticed that they do not have water coming out of the faucet and shower and they cannot assure us that they can fix it. Also, they cannot give us towels because all towels are still unwashed. That’s when we decided to look for other resorts along Bounty Beach.
2. Cocobana Beach Resort. Just beside Bluewater Beach Resort is the first resort in Malapascua, Cocobana Beach Resort. We immediately fell in love with their air-conditioned bungalows whose nice porch looks across the garden and straight to Bounty Beach. Inside, there is one single and one queen-sized bed. Given our bathroom experience in Bluewater Beach Resort, we checked the water facility first and was glad to know it was working. We had the bungalow for 3,200.00 Php.
For more accommodation options, click here for details.
WHERE TO EAT IN MALAPASCUA:
1. Ging-ging’s Garden Restaurant. During our stay in Malapascua, we only ate at Ging-ging’s garden restaurant. The quality of the food was just okay but the price is cheap. The orders are freshly cooked but you have to patiently wait for them. In fact, we noticed that the regular visitors of Ging-ging’s brought something to read while waiting for their orders.
Other resorts like Ocean Vida Resort and the Craic House have their own restaurant.
HOW TO GET THERE:
1. You first have to reach Cebu City, Philippines. Wherever you are in the country or abroad, you first have to reach Cebu City. Domestic Air Carriers like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, AirPhil Express, Seair and Zestair offers daily trip to Mactan Cebu International Airport from almost all other airports of the Philippines. International Air lines like Silk Air, Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air and Qatar Airways also has direct flight to Mactan, Cebu.
2. Hire a cab / Commute from Mactan Cebu International Airport to North Bus Terminal. Coupon taxis with fixed rates and yellow metered taxis with 70.00 Php flag down rate are lined at the arrival area of the airport. For a cheaper flag down rate at 45.00 Php, walk your way to the departure are of the airport where white metered taxis drop departing passengers. White taxi fare ranges from 180Php to 200 Php.
Alternatively, you may reach North Bus Terminal by riding a multicab and jeepneys.
- At the leftmost portion of the departure gates, yellow multicabs with that will take you to Marina Mall are available. Pay the 8.00 Php fare and alight at Starbucks and/or Island Souvenirs.
- From there, ride a jeepney with “Highway” signage and tell the driver to drop you off Mandaue Coliseum. Jeepney fare is 9.00 Php.
- InMandaue Coliseum,jeepneys with signage, “North Bus” or “Makro” will bring you to North Bus Terminal for 8.00. Php
3. In North Bus Terminal, there are three bus lines that may take you to Maya-Daanbantayan – Ceres, Cebu AutoBus and Rough Riders. Maya is in the northernmost tip of Cebu mainland and travel time is approximately 4-4.5 hours with 3-4 bus stops along the way. Bus fare is 170.00 Php for aircon buses. These buses will stop directly at Maya port where outrigger boats may be rented to go to Malapascua.
4. 45-minute boat ride to Malapascua Island. There is no fixed schedule of public boats that will take you from Maya port to Malapascua Island because they usually wait until the boat is full before they head to Malapascua. During low tide, outrigger boats cannot dock in the shore so you still have to rent small paddle boats to reach the public boats. The same goes for Malapascua shores. Boat fares are as follows:
- Paddle boat to Outrigger public boats in Maya Port – 20.00 Php
- Outrigger boats from Maya port to Malapascua Island – 80.00 Php
- Paddle boat from the boat to Malapascua shores – 20.00 Php . These boats will bring you to Bario Logon. Walk to the right of Bario Logon shores to reach Bounty Beach where most resorts and accommodation options are situated.
- You may also charter private boat trips or communicate with your resort to fetch you in Maya Port and dock directly in front of the resort.
DATE OF TRAVEL: March 10 – 11, 2013
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