Malapascua is a small island located in the Visayan Sea on the northern tip of Cebu Island. The island is approximately 2.5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide. You can walk around it in two to three hours. Even if it is situated in one of the most developed provinces it appears a world apart from the mainland. Around 4000 people inhabit the small island which do not have any paved roads or cars.
A local fisherman put Malapascua on the map when he discovered thresher sharks jumping out of the water when fishing near the dive site we refer to as Monad Shoal more than 20 years ago. Since then the island has gained more and more popularity and is by many regarded as the top destination in the world to watch thresher sharks. However, diving around Malapascua is not only thresher sharks. Divers are spoilt with a wide range of macro-, muck- and wreck diving. Please read our diving section for further information on diving around Malapascua.
Most of the friendly islanders works in tourism, while some still rely on fishing and farming. The name, they say, means bad christmas and is dubbed by the Spaniards whose ship stranded on the island on Christmas Day 1520. There are, though, discussions about what the name actually means. Mal definitely means ’bad’ in Cebuano but while ’pasco’ means Christmas in Cebuano, ’pascua’ means easter in Spanish.
Still not on the route of charter tourism and with only a number of hotels on the white sandy beaches, Malapascua remains the perfect spot for island getaways and pristine diving.
Things to do
Malapascua is the perfect island getaway if you want to relax or go scuba diving. Far away from Boracay’s hordes, the tiny island offers a laid-back atmosphere where life moves in its own pace.
While most people come to the island for scuba diving in the pristine waters that surround it, non-divers will also enjoy Malapascua.
Only a 70 minute boat ride away is Calangaman island, one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines. In 2009 a picture of the island covered the front page of Jens Peters most recent Travel Guide to the Philippines, widely regarded as the most comprehensive guide to the Philippines. It is possible to snorkel around the island,while a P500 government fee is charged to enter the island.
Take a walk to the locale villages and experience the authentic friendliness of the Filipinos and take part in one of the informal basketball tournaments. On Saturday nights and special occasions big parties takes place on the basketball courts where locals and tourists of all ages mix and enjoy the festivities.
Second in terms of popularity only to basketball is cockfighting. The Filipinos are passionate about this sport and everywhere on Malapascua you will see local men with roosters. Big money change hands on Sundays when the intense atmosphere rises and the bloody sport takes place and one most experience the event to truly understand it.
After a long day in the sun or swimming in a hammock you may also enjoy a cheap and soothing massage by one of our local massage ladies on the beach or in your room.
Getting to Malapascua
Ocean Vida Beach and Dive Resort offers pick-up service from anywhere in Cebu City or Mactan Island. The services include pick-up in a van with private drivers, porters to transport your baggage onto the boat and boat transfer on a private boat to Malapascua where you will be greeted by our friendly staff.
Please inquire for rates.
It is possible to get to Malapascua by public transport. If you arrive in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila or Clark Airport in Angeles the easiest way to get to Cebu is by domestic flights. Cebu Pacific Air, Zest Airlines and Airphil Express along with a number of other airlines offer flights almost hourly between Manila and Cebu at reasonable fares. Rates varies between P1000 and P5000 depending on availability.
From Mactan-Cebu International Airport take a taxi to the public Cebu North (bus) terminal. The official taxi stand is located just outside the terminal on your right hand side. From there public busses with and without air-con depart for Maya pier. Buses depart every hour and should cost around P200. The ride is 4-5 hours and the final station is by the pier. From Maya catch a local bangka boat to Malapascua. The boats depart hourly or whenever they are full. Please be aware that the last boat may depart as early as 4 pm. Fare P80.
There are no licensed doctors on Malapascua but basic medications including antibiotics are usually available in the local villages. Furthermore our Ocean Vida Beach and Dive Resort has its own first aid kid.
Scuba divers should consider dive insurance such as Divers Alert Network (DAN) before arriving as evacuations in case of emergencies are very expensive. There are no pressure chambers on Malapascua. The next chamber is in Cebu city.
Please visit diversalertnetwork.org for further information.
Please be aware that there are no ATM’s on Malapascua Island. The nearest ATM is in Bogo City on the mainland approximately 2 hours away by boat and public bus. Furthermore we are a licensed money exchange and you may exchange any major currency with us at reasonable rates. For official exchange rates click here.
In Ocean Vida and Sea Explorers we do accept all major credit cards without surcharge.