Malapascua Island Itinerary, Philippines

Little Paradise in Cebu

Malapascua Island is located in the Visayan Sea at the northernmost tip of Cebu Island.  I heard a lot of great things about it and when my cousins from Manila decided to visit Cebu, we thought about checking out Cebu's Hidden Jewel in the North. Let's go!

How to get there: Cebu City to Malapascua Island

From the Mactan-Cebu International Airport:
You can take a taxicab going to North bus terminal. Estimated fare is 250 PHP – 350 PHP, depending on traffic. Or you can take it straight to New Maya Port but we try for the cheapest travel method, which is by bus. 

Alternatively, if you're familiar with Uber and/or Lyft, then you can download and use the mobile app, Grab, to book your transportation. 

From the North bus terminal: take the Ceres Bus

Bus Fare: 150 PHP – 250 PHP
Bus Route: from Cebu to New Maya Port
Drop offNew Maya Port
Travel time (bus/private car): 3 – 4 hours

Prices may have changed.  

From New Maya Port: 

Boat fare: 100 PHP – 150 PHP
Travel time to the island: 45 minutes

If it's low-tide, the boat will not be able to dock along the shore; you'll have to ride a smaller boat that will take you to the bigger boat.  Transfer fare to bigger boat: 20 – 30 PHP.

Boat Schedules: 
From New Maya Port to Malapascua Island and vice versa: 6:30AM - 4:30PM, so make sure to plan ahead of time.  Always check the weather condition before your trip.

I woke up early that day — let's say just after midnight, like at 1:45 am — too excited?  We planned to take the first bus trip going to the port area to avoid the morning rush.  However, someone left our food supply and we had to go back to get it.  I forced myself to wake up that early for nothing; my 3 alarms set at 2-minute interval lost its meaning.  At least we all came to the terminal safely.

Another great thing that happened there was getting a no air-conditioned bus available.  However, the benefit about traveling at dawn is the air is still cool and lacks pollution building from rush-hour traffic.

After all those unfortunate events, we were finally on our way to Malapascua Island.  Everyone went to sleep after a few chitchats. I decided to do the same and removed my jacket from my bag and did "my thing."

I have this routine I always do during my travels: I would simply cover myself with the hood of my jacket, but not the normal way.  I use the back of my jacket.  I guess it serves as my comfort blanket — it always rocks me to sleep.  Kids love to watch me sleep, their imagination thinking that I'm playing a ghost game or peak-a-boo with them.

After a bumpy ride, we arrived at the Maya port area safe and sound. I was totally energized and ready to face the next bumpy ride to Malapascua Island.  We boarded the first boat trip going to the island and had to wait longer than expected.  The wait was due to sailing fully loaded.  Some passengers complained, but that didn't stop the crew from filling all the seats and each corner of the boat. 

The first thing we did when we stepped on the island was, of course, take lots of pictures.  We found our way using this map and looked for the spot where we would meet our tour guide.

We rented a house worth 2500 PHP, walking-distance from a church.  We had a huge discount from 4000 PHP to almost half the price — what a relief for me as I didn't bring enough cash with me.  There's no ATM on the island, so if you want to travel worry-free, book an accommodation ahead of time.  Seaside rooms are worth three times the price, which was way beyond our budget.  As soon as we were able to leave our bags securely in our rented house, we immediately hit the beach.

There are plenty of things you can do in the island, which we'll get to in a moment.

On our final day in the island, another group was ready to occupy our house and they came prepared with bundles of goods.  Food on The Island is expensive especially for beverages as everything is delivered by boat.  If you're on a budget then you should pack some canned goods, eggs, hot dogs, bacon or any food you can cook with a stove in minutes.  The house we rented had a refrigerator and utensils available.

When getting back to the mainland, make sure to ask when is the last trip as it sometimes changes due to weather conditions.  We took the 1:30 pm boat ride which was the second-to-last trip of the day.  The last trip that day was at 2 pm.  Be sure to pack your bags the night before and have an early lunch.  If you're taking the afternoon trip, always stay on your left side or you'll be a fried crispy chicken when you arrive at the port.

What to do in Malapascua Island,Cebu, Philippines

Welcome to Paradise! Now what?!

This paradise is home to diving fanatics who come to see the famous thresher sharks from off the coast of the island.  Aside from diving, it's a great place to go snorkeling, relax by the beach, have some piƱa colada and enjoy the laid-back island vibe.

Here's a list of some other things you can do on the island.

1. Stroll around the island

On our first day we planned to wake up early, however, the island vibe was too much to resist and we couldn't help laying back our sleepy heads.  Despite having several alarms, no one managed to get up early.  I heard my alarm and when I noticed no one moved a muscle, I dozed off back to sleep.  It's really funny when I think about it now; everyone was just waiting for someone to initiate the wake-up call.

As soon as everyone was powered up, we decided to hit the beach.  Good thing our rented house was just walking distance away from the beach.  It was also a good exercise for us to get rid of the buffet we ate last night — brisk walking and breathing in the fresh air.

The view was still and very relaxing.  There were two little kids trying to climb a dwarf-coconut tree.  One was trying to climb higher by stepping on the other one's head.  It was a funny thing to see; it reminded me of how I play with my brothers. 

2. Sandcastles

Who doesn't like sandcastles?  I like looking at them and smashing them pretending to be Godzilla.  My cousin was obviously enjoying the sand and, instead of making ordinary sandcastles, she made her very own style.  We were hanging out at the beachside last night and made lots of sand mountains and volcanoes.  However, when we came back to the area, everything we worked hard for was gone!  So she decided to make new ones.  I tried helping out by bringing some water.  At least in that way, I contributed in some way — I did my best.

3. Island Hopping and Snorkeling

Boat rentals for 4-5 persons: 1,000 PHP - 1,500 PHP 

The island was first known as Bounty Beach, which included Gato Island, Monad Shoal, and Kemod Shoal.  Monad Shoal is an underwater plateau where thresher sharks and even manta rays can be sighted on a regular basis.  The neat thing about thresher sharks is that they kill their prey using their tail as a whip.  We planned to pay 200 PHP per person, but the price was marked down to 100 PHP thanks to our friendly smiles, which included free use of masks and snorkels.

Our first stop was The Shipwreck — a World War II ship that sank a long time ago.  It looked really creepy underwater.

The Coral Garden was next on the list; it was the best snorkeling experience I had ever done.  It was like looking at a wide-screen television with 3D effects, but this time it was all real. 

After that everyone was on board again and we headed to The Islets.  A majority of passengers were tired, but only a few of us dared to take sleep as the waves were getting stronger.  This was normal; according to the boatmen, it's because the water keeps bouncing off The Islets.  We were told that it will be much harder to swim around since the waves were getting too strong, so we only had a few minutes there to look around before heading to another area to snorkel.

Our anchor man was brave enough to face the rays of the sun.  There was one time the anchor got stuck and he had to swim to get it back in place. Obviously the anchor was really deep and he managed to reach it really fast.  The water was so clear that we watched him as he dived — he was such a good swimmer.  It reminded me of the movie, ''Waterworld,'' starring Kevin Costner who had gills behind his ears which allowed him to breathe underwater.

6. Habal-Habal Tour (also known as "Motorcycle Tour")

Day Tour: 500 PHP - 800 PHP

I remember during the Island Hopping as we headed to the northern end of the island, we noticed two spots that looked really interesting: a lighthouse and a thin strip of land filled with coconut trees.  That spot was definitely on our list and we decided to go there as soon as we knew how — which we did find out in no time.

We arrived at the area and were like "Wow!"  I was standing there watching the ocean and everything I saw looked picture-perfect.  It looked irresistibly delightful to my eyes.  God has made such wonderful creations and I couldn't do anything but wonder.

If you want a driver to come along, that would be 200 PHP per hour.  Try to be extra friendly all the time so you might get a discount.  The road was getting smaller as we got closer to our destination — that part of the island was amazing.  It was like a lengthwise piece of white paper neatly placed in between the sea.

I found a nylon-made-hammock and positioned myself where I could take pictures of the trees.  Swing, swing, swing.  I was about to close my eyes when I saw something flying around.  I thought it was a bird but it was a big kite with white, pink, and purple colors.  I thought it must be hard to control that kind of kite especially with the strong wind on the island.  I was enjoying myself as the kite-owner maneuvered the kite in different directions.

7. Lighthouse

There was still time to go to the lighthouse.  It's a short hike going to the top and I really loved the feeling of walking around and seeing nature still at its best.  No one is allowed to climb the lighthouse, unlike when I was at Sumilon Island.  I was able to see the whole island from a different angle.  Even though we missed the opportunity to make our way up to the top of the tower, we still had a spectacular view.

8. Diving

Diving rates: 3,000 – 6,000 PHP (1 – 2 dives)
Diving License: 6,000 – 25,000 PHP (1 – 4 days dive)

Diving is a popular activity in Malapascua as it is known for its thresher shark tours.  We have seen the southern and northern parts of the island.  It's a tiny island but holds such captivating beauty.  If only we had the money to go scuba diving!  We were not armed with cash because it was an unexpected trip.  My cousin from Manila came to Cebu to speak for a Youth Congress, and we decided to give her a little taste of the grandeur of Cebu.

9.Seafood Dinner Buffet and Nightlife 

We had a sumptuous and affordable dinner at Mabuhay Bar located at the end of Bounty Beach just nearby Blue Corals Resort. They have a wide variety of foods, my favorite being their chicken stroganoff and tiger prawns — the best among the rest. 

The night was young and so were we.  We walked around the island and along the seashore.  Mabuhay Bar also organizes disco on the island so party people can warm the night away.

10. Sunset 

Sunset always reminds me of my past — the mistakes I've made and, most of all, the moments that took my breath away.  It's a simple reminder of how you have become who you are right now.  These are the moments that I thanked God I'm alive, which reminds me of a song entitled "I Could Not Ask For More" by Edwin McCain.  I may not have what I'm looking for right now but I know somehow I'll find my way.  Life goes by so fast; in a split second, glass can break into pieces, leaving you with broken bits that could hurt you if you're not careful.  Sometimes you'll have to find a way on your own; it's hard to rely on others.  You must trust yourself before you can learn to reach out.  They said the sun sets only for 5 minutes and each sunset is always unique from the other.  It only proves that we must enjoy each day of life here on earth.

After waiting for the sun to set comfortably in the west, we noticed a woman with a big basin.  I saw two different kinds of sea urchins inside. The woman told me her family is going to eat it for dinner.  I've tried eating this kind of stuff before — my cousin cracked it open and ate the yellowish part inside.  It's even better when you dip it in vinegar.  I've always been fond of exotic foods. I don't mind trying out new things. It's what makes every trip really interesting.

It was getting late and everybody was drained and ready to hit the sack. I slept comfortably that night, thinking to myself that this was a great vacation of pure fun and relaxation.

This trip was worthy of my time and effort. I definitely had a wonderful time in Malapascua Island, a captivating tourist destination in Cebu.

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have more days to spare why not go to Skydiving in Bantayan Island.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is going on an Island hopping at Mactan Island. An island connected to Cebu City by two bridges, with the third one under construction.


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    1. Famous eh?! That's a big word and it actually put a big smile on my face. ^____^

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