Malapascua is a gorgeous Philippine island off the north coast of Cebu, famous for its rich marine life, and situated in the Visayan Sea.  The island is a mere 2.5 km by 1 km.  It has made a name for itself due to becoming a popular dive destination, though it still remains a hidden gem.  Despite it having coral walls and great dive spots to sight manta rays and thresher sharks, Malapascua has many other great things to offer.

How to Enter the Country

Malapascua is a Philippine island and therefore does not require any additional visas.  The visa policy for the Philippines is relatively straightforward, but is extremely important.  Section 9 visas are for temporary visits, but do include employment and study, whilst section 13 visas are for those who want to become permanent residents.  Tourist visas are necessary for stays over 30 days.

How to Get There

Getting to Cebu is the first thing to do, as from there the journey is relatively straightforward.  There are many airlines that fly to Cebu, in particular airlines from Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysian, Tokyo.  Some of the most notable airlines that go are Qatar airlines, malaysian Airlines and Air Philippines.

Step 1: From Cebu to Maya

The best way to get to Malapascua is from Cebu.  From there, 2 options are available.  You can either take the bus or ride a van to Maya Port, which costs 200 PHP.  This equates to around USD $4, although a bus can be even cheaper than that.  From there, a ferry takes you straight to Malapascua.  A taxi service and other private means of transportation is possible, but with a much higher cost.

To get from Cebu to Maya should take around 2.5 to 6 hours in total, depending on which method you opt for – taxis are of course the fastest.

Step 2: From Maya to Malapascua

The public boat will be another 100 PHP to the island.  This will take around 30 minutes and may stop running at around 5pm.  If you miss the public boat but still want to travel (i.e. in the evening), a private boat can be rented for around 1,000+ PHP.

What to See

  1. Diving

It is famous for diving for a reason.  Crystal clear water, good facilities for it and thresher sharks.

  1. Swimming and snorkeling

Malapascua is an extremely tranquil place.  You don’t have to be a diver to enjoy it.  There is plenty of room for some casual swimming and jumping in a boat for 1000 PHP for some snorkeling.

  1. Bounty beach

You’ll find bounty beach at the bottom of the island, packed full of restaurants, shops and resorts.  This is the place to go if you fancy cocktails rather than diving.

  1. Sunset

See the sunset at Lighthouse Beach, where it has the best view.  It also has some great walking trails nearby.

  1. Kalanggaman

For 800 PHP you can get a day trip to Kalanggaman island, which is around 2 hours away via boat.  There’s also an entrance fee, but don’t let this put you off seeing its crystal waters and remoteness (not a hotel in sight).