Hello Hive! It's been a while and feels so good to be back!
Remember the time when we were all excited for a brand new decade? We entered a new beginning when January 2020 came. I believe you also have your own planned travel goals with your family and friends. But all of those were delayed and put to hold when the community quarantine was imposed last March 2020, brought by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
For my third blog, I will share my first out-of-town trip this 2021 since the start of lockdown. Cebu province is famous for its beautiful beaches and pristine islands. We went for an adventure in the northern part of Cebu.
Malapascua is known to be one of the best islands in the Philippines. The island is recognized worldwide for its incredible scuba diving sites where you can swim with Thresher sharks and other marine wildlife.
Any beach lover would appreciate the preserved beauty of the ocean and friendly locals. You will fall in love with this island even if you are not a professional scuba diver like me.
Going to the Northernmost Tip of Cebu
Malapascua Island is located in the municipality of Daanbantayan, Cebu. Coming from Cebu City, it would take about 4 hours to reach New Maya Port in Daanbantayan. We left the city way earlier before sunrise since we wanted to be at the island before lunchtime. Once we reached the port, we paid for the environmental fee and boat ride ticket.
From the port which is located at the northernmost tip of Cebu you will cross a shallow strait to get to the island. Travel time to get to Malapascua is around 20 to 30 minutes. The operators implement social distancing inside the boat hence they limit the number of passengers to 50% capacity for every trip.
Staying in Malapascua
It was the start of summer when we visited the island. According to the locals, the best time to visit the island is between the months of December to May because during the dry season, there are fewer chances of rainfall and typhoon.
It was my first time in Malapascua. Upon arrival at the island, we rode a motorcycle to get to our hotel but then we realized the port was just less than a 5-minute walk from our booked accommodation.
We booked our accommodation ahead and we found a budget-friendly place, Malapatel. I didn't expect much but when we checked in I was very happy to see that our room was clean, it has a balcony, the aircon was working well, and the owner was welcoming. You can book the place on Agoda.com to avail yourself of the cheap rates.
There are also other options on hotels and resorts for you to choose from depending on what you are looking for whether luxurious, mid-range, or low-budget. However, not all hotels are operational since months of lockdown had affected the business owners on the island.
Exploring the Untouched Island
Malapascua is just a small island with a length of 2.5 kilometers and a width of 1 kilometer, you can actually explore and go around the whole island within two hours.
What I like about Malapascua is comparing it to the other islands in the Philippines, it is not commercialized, feels untouched and they practice sustainability.
After we checked in, we went to the beachfront. You can walk to the white sand beach in less than a minute from our hotel. Walking along the beach, I realized the impact of the pandemic in the tourism industry. The place feels like an abandoned area at first due to the absence of tourists. Then some local kids approached us to sell their handmade souvenirs.
Activities in Malapascua
1. Tresher Shark Dive
The famous activity in Malapascua is the Tresher shark scuba dive where international and local tourists visit the island to experience this. But this shark dive adventure requires advanced open water certification for you to qualify.
The Monad Shoal is the only place in the world where the elusive Thresher sharks are spotted daily. According to the locals, the dive starts early in the morning since this is the time the Thresher sharks gather at Monad Shoal for their daily clean. The cleaning stations are usually at 25-30 meters depth.
There are diving schools on the island but most are still closed. But my friends and I were not certified scuba divers and we don't have the luxury of time to learn scuba back then so we opted for another tourist option - snorkeling.
2. Island Hopping and Snorkeling
Going on a boat tour is a tourist-friendly option for those who are hesitant to do scuba diving. A pump boat operator offered us an island hopping tour in the afternoon and we grabbed the opportunity.
After lunch, we head out to the beach to meet the operator and started our trip around the island. We visited several beaches in Malapascua and snorkeling sites. The current was a bit strong during that time so we were not able to snorkel away from the pump boat that much.
3. Day Trip To Kalanggaman Island
Book a day trip to experience Kalanggaman Island (already part of Leyte). The boat ride takes about 2 hours. Kalanggaman Island became famous for trending on the internet due to its beautiful sandbar that is surrounded by blue waters and an abundant palm forest on one end. This small tropical paradise lies in the middle of the ocean.
4. Chill and Unwind by the Sea
You can also just relax by the ocean, enjoy the breeze and sunlight on your face. Malapascua is a perfect destination if you want to unwind from the hustle of city life and have a peaceful break from the reality of life.
If you can work remotely, then staying at the island for a longer time will not be a problem since the signal of Smart and Globe is quite good to have a stable internet connection. There are communication towers on the island. Some resorts also have their own wifi connection that you can take advantage of - just like ours.
These are some of the known locations in Malapascua for you to explore:
LAPUS LAPUS CLIFF JUMPING
SUNSET AT LIGHTHOUSE BEACH
The fascinating sunsets, cute island dogs, and laidback culture make the island experience into something that influences tourists to come back yearning for more.
Where To Eat
Most of the food establishments are still closed. But there are local cafeterias located at the market to satisfy your food cravings from breakfast to dinner at very affordable prices. Sari-sari stores can be found anywhere on the island. Resorts also offer breakfast in bed to their guests. There is a bar that is open for happy hour and don't forget to stay hydrated.
There is no ATM machine on the island so make sure to prepare your money ahead and most of the businesses there only accept cash.
Bucket List Worthy
Malapascua offers an experience you should definitely try. Though it is considered by some a low-key island compared to the other bigger islands in Cebu due to its untouched beauty, the island is worth your time to visit.
The pristine waters and abundant marine life of Malaspacua will make you promise to visit it again soon. The friendly locals are friendly and helpful to the tourist. You will be amazed how the local residents protect the natural resources that provide their major livelihood. They prohibit the use of single-use plastics.
Support Local Tourism
The island will give you a harmonious vacation and satisfying detox from everything. It is indeed a precious oasis waiting to be explored, especially underwater.
Support the local tourism industry by being a responsible tourist and still follow the standard health protocols. Whether you’re preparing for a deep dive with the Thresher sharks or not, a stay in Malapascua Island will surely leave you an experience that you will never forget.
If you read my blog until the end, thank you very much. I deeply appreciate every upvote, comment, and repost that I received from my previous posts.
See you around fellow Hiveians and stay safe!
Welcome to Zan's blog site in Hive. He is a friendly millennial who loves to travel, have fun, and discover new places in the Philippines. He is a licensed chemical engineer by profession and an online freelancer. He currently resides in Cebu.
If you like his content, don't forget to upvote and leave a comment below. Don't forget to follow him to be updated with his latest posts. Thank you for your support.