Malapascua is an island located in North Cebu, Philippines that has attracted local and foreign tourists, especially divers, because of its rich marine sanctuary. It is best known for Monad Shoal where thresher sharks can be seen regularly before sunrise. But diving is not the only activity you can do in this island, it is also an idyllic destination for a laid-back holiday or a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of Cebu City. Malapascua island is also a jumping-off point to Kalanggaman Island in Palompon, Leyte. I will be writing a separate Kalanggaman Travel Guide, but in the meantime, here’s my Malapascua Travel Guide with budget and itinerary to help you plan your trip.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MALAPASCUA
The best time to visit Malapascua is around December – June during the dry season so you can enjoy its beaches without having to worry much about an incoming rain or storm. The summer season (April – May) is usually crowded, especially during weekends and holidays. See graph above. Always check the weather updates before proceeding.
MALAPASCUA DIY TRAVEL GUIDE
POWER PLUG: Electrical socket is Type A. 220 V, 60 HZ. See illustration.
MODE OF PAYMENT: Stack up cash (Philippine peso) as almost everything here is on cash basis.
ATM: There are no ATMs scattered in Malapascua. If you need to withdraw money, you have to go to Bogo town where ATms abound (Metrobank, DBP, Landbank, BPI,etc), about an hour away from Malapascua.
SAFETY: Malapascua island is pretty safe for tourists.
PARKING: If you are bringing your own vehicle, you have to park it near Maya Port since there’s only an outrigger boat to Malapascua Island from mainland Cebu. No passenger ferry.You can park at Sugbo Maya or D and N Lodge beside it. Parking fee is PHP 100/ USD 2 / EURO 2/SGD 3/ MYR 7 per day.
If you miss the last boat to Malapascua, you can stay at D & N Lodge, a few meters away from the New Maya Port.
How to Get to Malapascua from Cebu City
- Head to North Bus Terminal in Cebu City.
- Ride a van or Ceres bus bound for New Maya Port. Bus fare is roughly PHP 210/USD 4/EURO 3.41/SGD 5/SGD 5/MYR 216. The trip takes roughly 4 hours. Take note that there are 2 ports in Maya to Malapascua: Old Maya Port and New Maya Port. The Ceres buses go to the New Maya Port, other buses end up in Old Maya Port.
- Walk to the port or take a motorcycle for PHP 20/USD 0.38/EURO 0.32/SGD 0.51/MYR 1.50 per person.
- Sign up and pay the ticket counter. Boat fare is PHP 100/ USD 2 / EURO 2/SGD 3/ MYR 7 per person. Travel time is about 45 minutes.
- If it’s low tide, the boat can’t dock near the shore so you will be transferred by a small boat. Fare is PHP 20/USD 0.38/EURO 0.32/SGD 0.51/MYR 1.50 per person.
- Boats trips from New Maya Port to Malapascua and vice versa run every 30 minutes from 6:30 AM to 4:30 PM only. You need to wait for other passengers for the boat to leave.
- In case of 2 time interval overdue and last tripper in schedule where no minimum passenger are available, a negotiated trip of PHP 1,000/USD 19/EURO 16/SGD 25/MYR 75 will be applied.
- If you want a special trip (rent the entire boat), fee is PHP 1,500/USD 28/EURO 24/SGD 38/MYR 112, maximum 15 passengers. If more than 15 persons, additional PHP 100/ USD 2 / EURO 2/SGD 3/ MYR 7 per extra person will be collected.
- If you miss the last boat to Malapascua Island, there’s a lodge near the New Maya Port – D & N Lodge, contact #: 0917 721 0118/ 0917 774 4414 or call 032 437 3996.
What to Do in Malapascua Island
1. Swimming and Beach Bumming
Malapascua although flanked by hotels, restaurants and bars has surprisingly retained its serenity. Lounge on the beach shores like most foreigners do. There are some secluded coves in the island that are ideal for swimming since they aren’t crowded by tourists.
2. Snorkeling and Island Hopping
If you want to go snorkeling, you can rent a boat for island hopping that includes snorkeling.
Boat rental for Malapascua island hopping is PHP 1,200/ USD 23/EURO 19/SGD 31/MYR 90, good for 1-2 persons and PHP 1,500/USD 28/EURO 24/SGD 38/MYR 112, good for 4-5 persons.
3. Malapascua Motorcycle Tour
You can go on a motorycle tour around Malapascua. Day tour is PHP 700 or PHP 200 per hour including the driver. Or you can rent the motorbike and drive on your own, same price. I won’t recommend driving the motorbike by yourself as you will get lost along the way, the road is tricky since you have to pass through small alleys in the village peppered with houses. You’ll just waste your time. Having a local driver helps, and saves you time. It’s the same price anyway. Tipping the driver is optional.
The tour includes a visit to the following beaches:
Lapus Lapus Beach – A typical cream sand beach in Malapascua.
Los Bamboos– This is where you can go cliff jumping in Malapascua. Our driver told us, they don’t really promote cliff jumping here as it can be dangerous. But you can jump at your own risk. The cottages here were destroyed by the typhoon. Entrance fee is PHP 25 per person. The view of the rock formations here and the neighboring beaches are beautiful.
The Lighthouse– There’s a white sentinel crowning the island of Malapascua, it’s a good spot for sunset watching.
Langub Beach– My favorite beach in Malapascua. It has powdery white sand and azure water. Not crowded and not developed yet.
Bounty Beach –Not really a part of the motorcycle tour, but if you are arriving in Malapascua, this is the first beach that you will most likely see. Bounty Beach is the main beach in Malapascua fringed by hotels, dive shops and restaurants.
4. Malapascua Island Diving
Dive shops are scattered around the island. Malapascua is known for its thresher sharks. You may check out :
Thresher Cove Resort
Logon Malapascua Island
Ocean Vida Dive Resort
Bounty Beach Logon, Daanbantayan,Malapascua
Little Mermaid Dive Resort
Malapascua Island, Malapascua
5. Cliff Jumping
For adrenaline junkies, during your island hopping tour or motorcycle tour, you can go cliff jumping at Los Bamboos. Jump at your own risk. This is not really encouraged by the drivers and tour guides in Malapascua but it’s not prohibited either. This place has become a popular site for cliff jumping, just make sure someone is there to assist you (who knows how to swim), in case something happens.
6. Sunset and Sunrise Watching
Malapascua has one of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the Philippines. Don’t miss it!
7. Happy Hour
Some bars and restaurants usually offer Happy Hour like Ocean Vida, they offer buy one take 2 on selected drinks from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Where to Stay in Malapascua Island
There’s a wealth of resorts in Malapascua Island, you will never run out of a place to stay. Here are some of the top-rated Malapascua Resorts according to Agoda users. To check the room rates and resort photos, change the date to your preferred booking date and click search.
Malapascua Garden Resort
Logon Village, Daanbantayan, Malapascua Island, Cebu, Philippines
Thresher Cove Resort
Slam’s Garden Dive Resort
Brgy. Logon, Daanbanatayan, Malapascua
Hippocampus Beach Resort
Bounty Beach, Logon
Blue Corals Beach Resort
Malapascua Island, Brgy. Logon, Daan-Bantayan, Malapascua Island, Cebu
Where to Eat in Malapascua Island
Food in Malapascua are quite expensive as most restaurants cater to foreign tourists, prepare around PHP 250 /USD 5 /EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19up for a decent meal, but you can still ask the locals for the nearest eateries.
- Ging Ging’s Restaurant–The cheapest restaurant we found in Malapascua. Main Dishes start at PHP 100.
- Ocean Vida Restaurant– opens at 7:30 AM – 11:00 PM offers Asian and European food. Happy Hour at 4:00 PM -6:00 PM and 9:00 PM – 10:00 PM.
- Magellan’s Bar and Restaurant– offers daily barbecue and seafood. Main dishes starts at PHP 295
MALAPASCUA ITINERARY + EXPENSES
Here’s a sample Malapascua itinerary with budget, perfect for those planning on a weekend trip.
|06:00 AM||ETD North Bus Terminal in Cebu City. Bus to New Maya Port, PHP 210/USD 4/EURO 3.41/SGD 5/SGD 5/MYR 16|
|10:00 AM||ETA New Maya Port. Walk or ride motorbike to Maya Port.|
|10:30 AM||Boat to Malapascua Island, PHP 100/USD 2 / EURO 2/SGD 3/ MYR 7|
|11:00 AM||ETA Malapascua Island. Hotel check-in, PHP 1,000/USD 19/EURO 16/SGD 25/MYR 75|
|11:30 PM||Lunch, PHP 250 /USD 5 /EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19|
|12:00 PM||Hire motorbike with driver for Malapascua Tour, PHP 700/USD 13/EURO 11/SGD 18/MYR 52|
|12:15 PM||Start of Malapascua Island tour: Lapus Lapus Beach, Los Bamboos, Ligthouse, Langub Beach|
|05:00 PM||End of Malapascua Island Tour|
|05:30 PM||Back to hotel. Freshen up.|
|07:00 PM||Dinner, PHP 250 /USD 5 /EURO 4/SGD 6/MYR 19|
|07:00 AM||Wake up. Breakfast.|
|11:00 AM||Hotel check-out.|
|11:30 AM||Boat to New Maya Port.|
|12:45 PM||ETA Maya Port.|
|01:00 PM||Bus to Cebu City, PHP 210/USD 4/EURO 3.41/SGD 5/SGD 5/MYR 16|
Here’s a sample Malapascua budget breakdown, this assumes you are a party of two and staying in Malapascua overnight at a PHP 1,000/USD 19/EURO 16/SGD 25/MYR 75 hotel, good for 2 persons.
|Bus to New Maya Port||PHP 210/USD 4/EURO 3.41/SGD 5/SGD 5/MYR 16|
|Boat to Malapascua||PHP 100/USD 2 / EURO 2/SGD 3/ MYR 7|
|Malapascua Hotel||PHP 1,000/USD 19/EURO 16/SGD 25/MYR 75 (divide by 2) = PHP 500/USD 9/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 37|
|Lunch + dinner||PHP 500/USD 9/EURO 8/SGD 13/MYR 37|
|Motorcycle Tour||PHP 700/USD 13/EURO 11/SGD 18/MYR 52 (divide by 2) = PHP 350/USD 7/EURO 6/SGD 9/MYR 26|
|Los Bamboos Entrance Fee||PHP 25/USD 0.47/EURO 0.40/SGD 0.63/MYR 2|
|Boat to Maya Port||PHP 100/USD 2 / EURO 2/SGD 3/ MYR 7|
|Bus to Cebu City||PHP 210/USD 4/EURO 3.41/SGD 5/SGD 5/MYR 16|
|EXPENSES||PHP 1,995/USD 37.47/EURO 38.22/SGD 51.63/MYR 148|
Malapascua Island Travel Tips:
Stack up cash before you leave for the island because there are no ATM and banks. I traveled about 1 hour (one way) from Maya town to the nearest ATM at Bogo town to withdraw.
If you miss the last boat trip to Malapascua, there’s a lodge near New Maya Port – D & N Lodge, contact #: 0917 721 0118/ 0917 774 4414 or call 032 437 3996.
Plastic straws are prohibited in Malapascua. Bring your own bamboo straw.
Don’t throw your trash anywhere! Take them with you and dispose them properly.
Do not collect sand as souvenir.
Use coral-friendly sunblock.
Bring dry bag to protect your gadgets.
About the Blogger : Gael is a Filipina travel blogger. Her work has appeared in local and international publications.
For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com.
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