This is a post of my trip to Malapascua Island, Cebu.
Malapascua is one of the top tourist island destinations in Cebu. It is most popularly known for scuba diving especially to see the thresher sharks. Colleagues I talked to while working in Thailand have positive feedback about their experiences on the island. They enjoyed it so much that they have visited the island more than once, bringing and inviting friends and relatives each time.
Having lived in Cebu for almost a decade in my teenage to early adulthood years, I got curious myself. Although, in those years, I haven’t traveled to Malapascua because of limited time and finances. Mostly, my concern was the hours of traveling from the city to the island. It felt as if it was a faraway destination at that time.
However, now that I’m back in the Philippines, I have seriously considered Malapascua as one of my top 10 Philippine destinations after Siargao, El Nido and others. Luckily, I had that chance this year and here is my short story.
How to get to Malapascua from Mindanao
The fastest way is by flying from any big cities in Mindanao to Cebu. My flight only took one hour from Gensan to Mactan International Airport.
From the airport, go to the North Bus Terminal and find the bus that will bring you to Maya.
The bus ride usually takes 4-5 hours, however, in my case, it only took approximately 3 hours. I headed to the terminal very early in the morning so I could avoid the traffic. Another advantage of traveling early in the morning is the fact that there would only be a few passengers, therefore, free seats for you to lie down if you want to. I did try to get some sleep while on the bus. Despite that, I still ended up having a little headache once I arrived in Malapascua.
I paid 230 PHP for that airconditioned bus one way.
The bus’s last stop is at Maya Port or you could tell the driver to drop you there. From the port, log your name on a tourist/visitor log book, pay a boat fee of 100 PHP. Each boat can only bring a limited number of people to the island. I and a few others who were excluded from the main boat were offered a special trip. We were fewer than 10 people left so we agreed to pay 150 PHP each for a special boat ride.
My Scuba Diving Experience in Malapascua
Scuba diving is the main reason why many visitors come to Malapascua. I am no different, I have never done scuba diving before despite all those opportunities in Thailand. Thailand’s beautiful islands also offer scuba diving experiences. In comparison though, I found the prices in Malapascua to be cheaper than in Thailand. Probably anywhere else in the world, to be honest. While scuba diving in Thailand ranges from 5,000- 15,000 THB, Malapascua’s is way cheaper.
The diving package includes an instructor who’ll teach and guide you all the way plus the boat that will bring you to your diving spots. My first hours were for learning the basic skills of scuba diving. My instructor explained the equipments that I will be needing as well as the hand signals when underwater which is pretty cool.
After learning the basics, the next part is to practice the skills under water. Therefore, we went to a shallow area where I had to demonstrate and pass the skill test. If my instructor is satisfied, it’s only when I will be allowed to move on to the actual diving. One skill I had trouble with was removing water inside my goggles, in case it ever happens then I will know what to do. He had me do it three times because apparently, he wasn’t satisfied with my demonstration ha. I begged him with my eyes to let me pass after many tries.
Discover Scuba Diving
After passing or barely passing the skill tests, we then move on to another spot to scuba dive. This is the fun part. Since it was my first time, my instructor was always with me the entire time. He eventually guided me to go deeper and deeper until we were almost at the bottom of the sea. I was so close to the corals, colorful fish, other scary creatures too like the sea eels.
One thing I remember after was that I was very hungry. I guess all my energy and concentration was used for the activity. Without a doubt though, it was a wonderful feeling, because I tried something new.
Will I do it again? I will have to think about it, ha.
Snorkeling & other Island Activities
After doing scuba diving on day 2, I had the remaining days to do other activities. Snorkeling is another fun activity to do in Malapascua. There’ll be boat owners everywhere who will bug you to do snorkeling for 1,500 PHP. You can always haggle and find the cheaper offers but I think in the end, you will still end up paying around the same price because of the entrance fees in every snorkeling spots.
I remember seeing many Nemos and a few Dories at that time. There were also starfish, pufferfish and other colorful fish I have never seen before. The last spot was a shipwreck during the Japanese time according to the boat driver. It was dark and cold, I didn’t feel like exploring it that long because I was a little bit scared ha.
Exploring the land, you can walk around the island too. The time of my trip was after a typhoon, the damage it caused was obvious everywhere.
The rest of my stay on the island was spent relaxing, eating and drinking. Luckily, drinks are usually sold as buy-one-get-one for 180-200 PHP. Perfect timing because it was my intention to try all kinds of cocktails I could drink.
I wouldn’t miss the sunset for anything.
Malapascua Island has a spot in my heart that I will always stay with me.
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