Malapascua is an island off the northern tip of Cebu, Philippines. You can get to the island via a 4-hour bus trip to Maya, then a 30 minute boat ride to the island.
Malapascua is best known as a diver’s haven. It is where you are 80% assured of seeing a Thresher Shark, a rare and majestic shark species that has made Malapascua’s Monad Shoal its cleaning station.
Breakfast on a Boat
The best time to see a Thresher Shark is before breakfast, at around 4 to 5 in the morning. Because of this, many dive centers organize breakfast on their boats.
It could be a cold trip to the area of Monad Shoal so there’s tea or coffee to warm you up. They offer bread too so you have energy for the 70 feet dive to the shoal.
After 40 minutes of diving in Monad Shoal, your may feast your eyes on the sight of the majestic Thresher Shark. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the resident Manta Ray.
Now, that’s breakfast for champions! When you come up from the ocean, there’s more tea, coffee and bread for you to power up the 30 minute boat ride back to the island.
It’s a good idea to join dive trips after breakfast with the Thresher Shark. One of the better dive center/resorts in Malapascua is Blue Water. They conduct several dive trips in the morning.
Ask them what they have planned and then join in. Or, think about what you want to see. You can arrange your own dive trip for a little extra fee.
A great dive trip, which you can do with them in the morning, is a trip to Gato Island. The island is at the northern most tip, and is rocky for the most part. It is about an hour away from Malapascua.
The gem in this dive trip is what’s below the island. At a maximum depth of 90 feet, you can go through the cavernous rock formations below the island.
You can find sharks (mostly blacktips) in several of its nooks and crannies. Your eyes will also feast on beautiful soft corals and coral heads. You may even see an eagle ray, if you’re lucky. Gato Island is brimming with life and is one of the best dive trips you can do while in Malapascua.
Angelina Pizzeria Ristorante Italiano
Lunch at Angelina Pizzeria is a great reward after a morning of diving. It is the only authentic Italian restaurant in the island. It is slightly more expensive than the other restaurants but it’s worth it.
A must try is the Ravioli al Pomodoro and their many pizza versions. All these are made of fresh homemade ingredients. Delicious!
One of the best ways to explore the island is via a boat. Arrange to snorkel around the island. This will take you only 2 to 3 hours, including stopovers, to go around the island and snorkel at key areas. Snorkeling areas are about 30 to 40 feet away from the island. From this vantage point, you can also grab an unobstructed view of the beautiful Malapascua Island.
You can arrange for a snorkelling trip for around 600 to 1,000 pesos only. The boatman knows the snorkelling sites very well. Remind him to include Malapascua’s Coral Garden and Bantigue Cove.
Malapascua Exotic Bar & Restaurant
Malapascua Exotic Bar & Restaurant is a great place for dinner. They offer a wide array of cuisine. Of course, it gets hard to resist getting the good ol’ burger. They have “exotic” burgers, which are huge and delicious!
The place is also beach side, making it a wonderful nighttime hangout. Grab a few beers or cocktails with your buddy, and relax by the beach.
Malapascua offers a wonderful nighttime walk after dinner and drinks. It only takes an hour to go around the island. Allow more time for interesting stopovers. The best way to discover the eats, treats and wonderful people here is to take things slow. If you find an interesting bar, visit it and get a beer or snacks. You are likely to find new friends.
*All photos credited to Roda Novenario*