This is the most updated Malapascua Island Cebu, Philippines Travel Guide 2023
Snobbery is an unlikely character of a wanderlust. A traveler opens not only his heart but also his mind to the intricacies and complexities of a place. It is inevitable, however, that there are places I considered too exposed, too comfortable to the horrors of tourism. I tend to avoid them like a plague. Places, islands like Malapascua—an island in northern Cebu known for its thresher sharks. But the thing is, there is so much more to Malapascua than the thresher sharks. You don’t have to dive with them, in order to fully enjoy the island. I’ve been to Malapascua countless of times, even entertained the idea of moving there several times. I have a Cebuano story titled Isla with Malapascua as a setting.
It is, I thought, an island for someone who has a perpetual ache for the deep. But I do not ache for the ocean. I ache for the salt water, the saline breeze, and the extravagance of the color blue.
During my second visit and many more after that, I saw Malapascua in an entirely different light: this island is not only for the divers. It is for the sunset chasers, for the beachcombers, for the island lovers, for the love seekers, for the brokenhearted, for the story-gatherers, for the storytellers in us. Read the essay on Malapascua Island if you’re up for a long read on this beautiful island. And if you see Tata, say hi for me!
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If you want to stay by the beach, the most desired location is Logon Beach or Bounty beach, that’s the place where the public boat docks. This spot has the best view and vibe come sunset.
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There is a frequently asked questions section at the bottom.
Cliff-jumping is a must-do at Malapascua. Hearing your heart sunk is hmm is an experience for sure.
With its many white sand beaches, there are more than 9 of them, you can soak up the sun, take a dip in the ocean, and snorkel to your heart’s content. And if you’re looking for some serious alone time, head over to the North Side, where the most secluded beaches await. It’s like having your own private oasis – just you, the sand, and the sea. So, pack a picnic, grab your favorite book, and get ready to relax like never before on the beautiful beaches of Malapascua Island!
Look no further than Bounty Beach on Malapascua Island! With its long stretch of white sand and plethora of dive shops and resorts, this beach is the ultimate hotspot for sun, sea, and adventure.
LOCAL TIP: Grab a drink and lounge on the beach and wait for the sunset. This is the perfect spot on the island. Que Vida resort has some nice bean bags and lounge chairs
And if you’re feeling like a change of pace, head over to Logon Beach, where the Malapascua Pier is currently under construction. This beach is better visited at high tide.
LOCAL TIP: If you are traveling with kids, Logon Beach is the perfect spot for a swim with the kiddos. Angelina has a nice vantage view to see both Logon Beach and Bounty Beach, so consider having dinner there. You can also grab some bites or drinks at the nearby Kokay Maldito.
Head North through the most western path on Malapascua Island, and you’ll stumble upon Pilar Beach – a tiny slice of local gem that may be small, but packs a punch. Pilar Beach is not really popular among tourists, but local kids love playing on the beach. This little shore is mainly used as a docking station for the locals’ sakayan—the little winged outrigger used for fishing.
And just a little further up from Pilar Beach, you’ll find Guimbitayan Beach, which may not be as famous as its Bounty Beach neighbor, but is still a beautiful spot to soak up the sun. You’ll likely see local fishermen parking their bangka boats here, and maybe even catch some local kids playing in the sand.
It sounds so tacky and funny. ☝🏽 At least for me. Lapus means to penetrate through in Cebuano. The beach is named such, because you can access both beaches, practically it is two beaches like Palawan’s Nacpan Beach. A tiny version of that, obviously. So head over to the northwestern tip of the island and discover the hidden gem that is Lapus-Lapus Beach! You’ll feel like a true explorer since this beach is rarely visited by outsiders.
LOCAL TIP: With two sides to choose from, we highly recommend taking a dip on the north side – it’s perfect for a refreshing swim! So why settle for a crowded beach when you can have Lapus-Lapus all to yourself?
With its famous twin coconut trees, this beach is quickly becoming an Instagram sensation. It’s like a slice of paradise that’s just begging to be captured on camera. So, don’t be a coconut and miss out on this must-see landmark – you simply can’t leave Malapascua without visiting Marquetta Beach.
PERSONAL STORY: Back then, the crowns of the coconuts, just like the rest of the island, was badly damaged by typhoon Yolanda. It’s so nice to see that Malapascua has bounced back ever since. Read the long essay if you want.
Langob means cave in Cebuano. Get it? 😉 This beach is so amazing, it had to be given two names depending on where you’re standing. It’s like getting two beaches for the price of one – what a steal! The one name? The right one above ☝🏽. If you’re a fan of heavenly beaches (who isn’t?), then you’re in luck. This stretch of sand has everything you could possibly dream of: fine white sand, crystal-clear light-blue waters, and a complete lack of tourists.
LOCAL TIP: It’s the best spots for swimming since the water gets deep quickly and there are no pesky boats clogging up the view. It’s like having your own personal paradise – without the hassle of booking a one-way ticket to a deserted island.
Once upon a time, Bantigue Cove Beach used to be so deserted that even the crabs would pack up and head to the next cove over. But now, it’s one of the most picturesque spots in all of Malapascua! And let’s be real, if it’s not on Instagram, did it even happen? Don’t forget to snap a shot of the breathtaking view from one of the old resort windows – it’s a must-have addition to your Malapascua photo album. Or just be low-key, lounge on the beach, and read a book.
For non-Cebuano speakers, gugma means love. If you’re feeling adventurous and willing to take a journey south along the shoreline, you’ll come across the quaint little village of Bool. Here, you’ll stumble upon the hidden gem that is Gugma Beach – a hot spot for local fishermen to park their boats and for the kiddos to frolic and play. But be warned, only the bravest visitors make it this far! If you’re lucky enough to venture to Gugma Beach, you’ll catch a glimpse of the local fishermen’s daily lives and witness their fish-drying techniques.
Lol. I’m running out of puns. Send some. Keep heading south until you reach Kaosting Beach – the ultimate hidden gem of Malapascua. It’s so secluded that finding the access path is like getting lost with Google Maps on hand, but don’t worry – just ask the locals for directions and you’ll be on your way to paradise! Trust us, the trek to Kaosting Beach is totally worth it because once you get there, you’ll likely have the entire place to yourself. Who needs a crowded beach when you can have your own private slice of paradise?
LOCAL TIP: You can do a guided land tour, and experience all beaches. Or if you know how to ride a motorbike, rent one, and explore the whole island by yourself.
Pocket-wise, scuba diving is not for everyone. But mingling with the colorful sea creatures without shelling out thousands can be done. On the right of the Bounty Beach are the Dakit-dakit islets—the starting point of the popular snorkeling tour in the island. A WWII shipwreck by the lighthouse and the coral garden are the other two famous snorkeling sites.
We were admiring the varied colors underwater when we heard a crackling explosion somewhere deep within. Our boatman said that some fishers practiced dynamite fishing. That is rather saddening. While the creatures at the sanctuaries made do with what is left of their habitat, in some parts of Malapascua waters, both corals and fish died a horrible death.
You know what they say – popularity comes with a price! Kalanggaman Island may not technically be part of Malapascua or Cebu, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of the hottest destinations around. Thanks to a fleet of boats running day trips from Malapascua Island, you can now experience the magic of Kalanggaman Island for yourself. Just be prepared for a bit of a journey – it takes a whopping 2 hours to get there and another 2 to get back! But trust us, it’s worth it – the island is so incredible, you’ll want to stay overnight if you can. And if you’re looking for someone to blame for the sudden surge in popularity, look no further than us and our fellow beach-loving trekkers. We just couldn’t keep this slice of paradise to ourselves!
Listen up, brave souls and youthful daredevils – if you’re looking for a real thrill, look no further than Malapascua’s raw, unadulterated cliff jumping. Sure, other islands have their fancy jumping boards, but where’s the challenge in that? Malapascua’s cliff is a towering beast that will make even the bravest among us quake in our flip-flops. But trust us, once you take the leap, you’ll feel like a superhero. So if you’re making a bucket list of things to do before you kick the bucket, or just looking for an excuse to feel alive, make sure cliff-jumping is at the top. Your future self will thank you for it.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: From Dakit-dakit, Boboy—our boatman—brought us to the snorkeling site by the cliff. But the cliff itself has gathered attentions these recent years. Cliff jumping, I know, is only for the brave and the young. While Siquijor and Camotes Islands have jumping boards ready, Malapascua has it raw. The cliff looks intimidating, and jumping off can be nerve-wrecking.
There are so many trends circulating on Facebook like “Things You Must Do before You Die” or “Things You Must Do before You Reach 30.” Cliff-jumping deserves to be in the list.
Earlier this year, the masseuses at Bounty Beach start wearing an alternate uniform of blue and green. With their hair in a bun, they all look professional and dignified.
Ah, Malapascua – where even the massages come with a side of seaside serenity. When I found myself in need of some pampering, I knew a beach massage was just the ticket. And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like getting rubbed down while gazing up at a starry night sky. My masseuse, Ponalisa, even mentioned that they’ve started wearing uniforms – not just for the guests’ benefit, but to ward off any unwanted advances from overzealous customers. Hey, we all love a good massage, but let’s keep it professional, folks.
Hop on a motorbike and take a tour around the island! Just be ready to shell out Php300-Php350 per person now, or so I’ve heard. It used to be Php150.00, but you know how it goes…inflation, am I right?
Anyway, the tour takes you to some of the best spots on the island, like Lapus-Lapos Beach, the ever-popular Bounty Beach, Los Bamboos, the Lighthouse, and Langob Beach–a stretch of untouched paradise. And the best part? You don’t have to worry about driving, so you can focus on taking in all the views and screaming at the top of your lungs as you zoom along the coast.
Nature never fails to surprise us with its stunning sunsets and sunrises. Each moment is unique and different, making it all the more special. Bounty Beach is the perfect spot to witness this miraculous work of nature. As the sun sets, watch it settle between the majestic Dakit-dakit islet and the blue resort at the outcrop. Don’t forget to capture the moment but also take a moment to appreciate it with your own eyes. After all, saying thank you to nature is the least we can do.
PERSONAL STORY: In between pages of the book I was reading, I stole glances at the horizon. The sunlight got softer and softer. Isn’t it a miraculous work of nature when the horizon so blue gradually turns into shades of yellow, gold, orange? Travelers have witnessed thousands of sunsets and sunrises. But no two dusks or dawns are exactly identical, which makes every moment wowing, which makes every moment worth the attention.
At Bounty Beach, the sun settled between the biggest Dakit-dakit islet and the blue resort at the outcrop. After framing the golden god, I put down my camera and uttered thank you.
Malapascua and Siargao have more in common than just being islands with breathtaking beaches. They’re both places where locals and visitors alike love to cha-cha! The waray-speaking neighbor Leyte provides most of the tunes, and the older locals dominate the dance floor early in the night. But as the night wears on, the atmosphere becomes more lively and the song selection more current. Before you know it, you’ll be swaying your hips and singing along to Rihanna’s “you found love in a hopeless place” with newfound friends.
LOCAL TIP: Isolated from mainland Cebu, the disco at the village is the only nightlife in the island. It is an interesting island culture that should be in every passing traveler’s itinerary.
The islands in the Philippines resemble one another. The beach has a story of lavishness, of relaxation, of escaping from our individual realities.
It is painstaking sometimes to find something inherent to the island. And that is where walking comes in. You can only see the island’s inherent character through strolling around the village. You experienced Malapascua—the foreign-sounding island when you are at Bounty Beach, but once you walk around the village, it will eventually dawn on you—I hope—that your Malapascua is every local’s Logon.
If you want to experience or witness a real island living, walk, and hear the locals’ stories. Because the heart of every island has a different narrative to tell.
On weekends, locals mostly men go to their church. This is an island culture or a Filipino culture worth observing or worth experiencing. I know this is not for everyone. And I understand the sentiment concerning about animal rights and welfare. It is painful to watch for sure. But native chicken soup is also delicious.
This is one of my favorite pastime when I’m traveling. I love hearing island gossips and rumors. There is no better way of knowing a place beyond its touristy front than talking to the very people who call it their home.
Sure, it is not mandatory, but to be in a place where the rare to be seen thresher sharks live, it is almost a shame not to see them up close. Sharks, contrary to Hollywood narrative, don’t like the taste of your flesh. So. 😛
Ready to witness a scene straight out of a shark week episode? Look no further than Monad Shoal! Diving here is like being in a real-life Jaws movie, but with a happier ending. Get up close and personal with the thresher sharks, the A-listers of the underwater world, as they gracefully swim around you. It’s no wonder this dive spot is a must-do for any serious diver. So, suit up and get ready for a fin-tastic time!
Hop on over to the Lighthouse Reef and get ready to be mesmerized by the stunning Mandarin fish, known for their psychedelic colors. Malapascua Island is one of the lucky few places on earth where you can spot these beauties, and if you’re really lucky, you might even witness their romantic dance moves. But that’s not all, underwater photographers also come here for the blue ring octopus, seahorses, and a small but intriguing World War II shipwreck. Time to grab your snorkel and camera and get ready to make some memories!
While most divers come to Malapascua Island for the famous thresher sharks in Monad Shoal, those in the know leave raving about the incredible diving experience at Gato Island. Here, you can expect a stunning underwater landscape filled with intricate rock formations and vibrant corals.
Swim through an underwater tunnel and uncover hidden caves where you might spot whitetip reef sharks and sea snakes napping. Keep an eye out for massive schools of fish as you explore this enchanting dive site.
Bugtong Bato or North Wall, one of the best dive sites near Malapascua Island. This spot boasts of a sloping reef, a mini wall, a sandy bottom, and a variety of underwater creatures lurking in the corals. Get ready to encounter some squid, lionfish, zebra crabs, seahorses, cuttlefish, blue ring octopus, and whip coral shrimp. But the real star of the show here is the large school of batfish that you can swim with. Just make sure to check the weather forecast first – strong currents might cut your tour short!
The shoal may be a bit far from Malapascua, but the trip is worth it to see the thresher sharks, hammerhead sharks, and other creatures swimming in its depths. The vibrant corals, sponges, and sea fans make it even more enchanting. It’s like a big, beautiful aquarium, but with much bigger fish.
Truth be told, Malapascua Island from residents living in the main island that is Cebu used to have a singular brand: it is a place for divers. It has changed ever since. Scuba diving is not exclusive to the rich and the moneyed. Sure, it is not as cheap as a meal at Ging-ging’s, but if you are curious how it is like to stay underwater for an hour and see how fish, sharks, anemones behave (in the presence hmm disturbance of humans), I highly recommend that you try it. It is an entirely different realm down there. It is lovely.
If you want a bird’s eye view of Malapascua, then Lighthouse Beach is the place to be. It’s like being on top of the world, but without the exhausting climb.
But let’s not forget about the star of the show – the Japanese World War II landing craft wreck. It’s a snorkeling spot that’s so shallow, even your grandma can do it. And of course, like any other beach in Malapascua, it’s a prime location to witness the sunset in all its glory. So don’t forget to bring your camera and a bottle of wine to truly enjoy the view.
14. Experience the Remnants of World War II Up Close
The Tapilon Wreck is like a time capsule of the past. This Japanese cargo carrier sank during World War II, but now it’s become a vibrant hub for underwater life. Soft corals have taken over the once-solid structure and fish of all shapes and sizes swim in and out of its crevices. It’s like an underwater playground for sea creatures!
Malapascua, an island in northern Cebu, can be deceiving. Geographically, it is a lot nearer to Ilo-ilo, the neighboring island province that has an entirely different language. Malapascua is the name non-locals use. For the old locals, their home island is Logon.
“Malapascua” means “bad Easter” in Spanish. According to some island tales, the island got its name from a colonial incident (what’s new?): a Spanish ship got stranded on the island due to bad weather. It is said this happened on the 25th of December 1520. They got stranded til Easter. There is no historical evidence that this is indeed true.
However, if you can understand Tagalog or Cebuano, locals often joke about the name Malapascua. Malas ang pasko. Unlucky Christmas.
Seriously though, the locals have a different name for Malapascua. For them, it is their beloved Logon.
As February 2022, the Philippines now opens its borders. For travelers traveling from abroad, it’s mandatory to register your arrival on https://etravel.gov.ph.
The Province of Cebu, including Malapascua Island, is now open to domestic and foreign tourists in the Philippines or non-residents of Cebu provided they comply with the travel requirements:
Based on the Province of Cebu’s Executive Order No. 12, individuals traveling to the province for tourism must present the following:
I highly recommend that you book your accommodation in advance and check with your staycation the exact details of the travel requirement. Most likely, they would need the details of the travelers, complete names, addresses, and contact numbers for a QR travel pass around the island.
From June to November are typically the monsoon months. It is for the better if you visit the Philippines somewhere between December and May. Summer is April and May for us, so these months are the peak season. If you go to popular tourist destinations during these months, expect a throng of local tourists around. But then again, there is climate change, so any time of the year is okay. But if you’re a diver, thresher sharks and manta rays can be spotted all year round but the best seasons for manta rays are winter and spring. Hammerhead Sharks can be seen schooling with best chances from December to April.
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There are none. However, most dive shops and 3-star accommodations accept credit cards. But in general, the island functions in cash. So bring some pesos with you that can last you on your entire stay. The nearest ATMs are located in Bogo City, roughly an hour away from Maya, Daan Bantayan. So it is a hassle. So bring cash.
Ample cash for your entire stay for sure. Sunscreen is necessary. You can buy it from sari-sari stores (what we called our small grocery stores in the hood where you can buy everything including love. Joke) and certain dive shops, but it is an island, so expect an island price. If mosquitos love your blood type, please bring some mosquito repellant.
If you go boating, I suggest you bring a dry bag. Some locals sell them, but I think it is best to bring your own. If you got a GoPro or any underwater camera, that would be cool but not necessary. Some dive shops can rent it out. If you dive, they take photos and give it for free.
A part of Cebu, the main language used by the locals is Cebuano. But since the island’s main industry is tourism, English is the language currency. The locals have a certain accent, somewhat different from the central Cebu. It has a mix of Waray, Hiligaynon, and Ilonggo—the languages of the neighboring islands.
One of the many islands found in northern Cebu, Philippines, Malapascua has become a well-known destination for both local and foreign tourists – especially divers – because of the island’s rich marine sanctuary. The most popular attraction in Malapascua is Monad Shoal, where thresher sharks can be seen on a regular basis just before sunrise.
In addition to being a top spot for seeing thresher sharks, Monad Shoal is also known for its muck diving opportunities. Muck diving is a type of diving that focuses on exploring the habitats of small, unusual creatures that live in areas of low visibility.
Some of the other popular dive sites around Malapascua include Gato Island, Lighthouse Reef, and Shangri-La Reef. These dive sites offer a variety of different experiences, from exploring shipwrecks to swimming with sea turtles.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or just getting started, Malapascua is sure to have something for everyone.
There is no Cebuano equivalent for hi and hello. Cebuanos love using “hoy” as a casual way of calling someone your age. You can’t use it to someone way older than you though, it can be misconstrued as disrespectful.
Aside from hi or hello, we use greetings depending on the time of the day. This is still widely used in the countryside.
Good morning – Maayong buntag
Good noon – Maayong udto
Good afternoon – Maayong hapon
Good evening – Maayong gabii
How much is this? – Tagpila ni?
Where is the ______ – Asa ang _____
It is so delicious! – Kalami oy!
Thank you very much! – Daghang salamat!
Where is the party? – Asang diskoral?
RIPPED FROM MY CEBU TRAVEL GUIDE
The easiest and most expensive way to go to the island is through a private car. The airport is located in Lapu-Lapu City. Malapascua is on the northernmost part of Cebu Island.
Travel to Malapascua Island and Kalanggaman Island without a hitch when you book this private city transfer from Cebu City/Mactan to Maya Port! Waste no time commuting and get to your destination instantly with this direct transfer. Book now and choose from 3 vehicles: a modern Sedan, an AUV or a van. With seating capacities of up to 12 and free child seats, you can now bring the whole family. On the day of your scheduled travel date, your chosen vehicle will conveniently pick you up from your hotel. Relax inside your spacious ride and enjoy the modern amenities it offers. Trade stories with your English-speaking driver as he drives through the direct routes of this transfer. Arrive to Maya Port just in time for your boat ride!
From the airport, take a taxi to the north bus terminal. It costs about Php300-Php400, if you’re not stuck in the horrendous traffic. For an affordable option, SM Supermall now provides MyBus services from the airport to SM and SM Seaside. A MyBus ride costs Php40.00 from the airport to SM City. From there, you can take a jeep or taxi to North Bus Terminal.
For convenience, book a Grab ride. Or book a reliable private car.
Bus rides to Maya, Daan Bantayan are available as early as three in the morning. The bus ride takes around four hours and costs around Php210.00. I suggest you leave the earliest time possible, so you find yourself in the island by noon. For tall humans, take the Air-conditioned buses, they have more leg rooms.
Vans are also available at the terminal. They cost around Php250.00. The van ride takes around three hours. But I prefer long bus rides with open windows.
WARNING! If you’re a long-legged creature 😛 , avoid shared vans! Drivers fill up the seats! Like 4 people in each row! It is too cramped and too uncomfortable for a long ride!
The passenger boats Php100 per passenger. At times, the lantsa (the big boat) can’t dock on the port because of the very low tide. In cases like this, you have to transfer to an outrigger and pay another Php20.00.
The earliest passenger boat to the island is at 630AM and the latest is at 430PM. The boat leaves every 30 minutes. There are no passenger boats after that. If you miss the last boat, you can hire a private boat for Php1000.00-Php1500.00, depending on your haggling skills.
Depending on your budget, Malapascua has the right range of accommodation for you.
BB’s Lodging House charges P400 per person with a shared bathroom. It is located at the Village, a five-minute walk from Bounty Beach. Bigger rooms with personal toilet cost P600 a night. They have free WiFi too. I stayed here on my second night at Malapascua. They provide free hot water for their tenants for those who want to have coffee.
Ocean Vida’s Pork Adobo a
Just beside BB’s lodging house, is the cheapest for travelers in Malapascua. I had breakfast (fish, scrambled egg, and rice) for P70. And I got a free buwad (a grilled dried fish that Cebuanos love) because I was craving for it.
The yellow resort you can see from the passenger boats’ port, offers different types of food. I tried their stir-fried vegetable with seafood. This place can be costly.
Another great option for seafood lovers, the Thresher Cove Resort Restaurant offers fresh, delicious seafood dishes that will make your mouth water.
It is my favorite. In afternoons, staff laid out huge bean bags on the beach where guests can eat or have a drink while looking at the expanse of the sea or waiting for the sunset. Their shakes start at P100.
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