Malapascua's beach - a beautiful white sand beach fringed with palm trees and aqua-blue sea. The island is small, quiet and has a very nice beach. About 2km by 0.5km, people enjoy walking around the island to see the local villages in 1-2 hours. There are no cars on the island and most buildings are only one floor high. The main attractions are the beaches, the snorkeling and the diving. There are very few tourists so you can enjoy this amazing country without the crowds. It really is the undiscovered jewel of South-East Asia.
Malapascua has a great variety of dive sites, reefs and wrecks, amazing coral dives and sandy muck dives, wall dives and more. Because the diving is in different areas and with many different influences there is a great variety of marine life. Today, Malapascua remains a beautiful, sleepy island.
It is the variety the Philippines offers that is so interesting: buried gold, unexplored caves, diving holes, sunken Spanish galleons, dense jungles with rare plants and animals, primeval people, active volcanoes, and uninhabited paradise islands. The bustling capital of Manila contrasts with lonely islands fringed with superb beaches and gardens of coral. There are towns where you will find a thriving nightlife, but you can also visit mountain tribes who still live according to their own laws and traditions. There are huge rice terraces built eons ago with the most primitive of tools; wide sugarcane fields with subterranean rivers and lakes, or shadowy palm forest groves and dense jungle.
Filipinos are mostly devout Catholics due to the Spanish influence and Muslims are a small minority. The name Malapascua means 'Bad Christmas' in Cebuano. The currency is the peso. There are several places to change money on Malapascua, one licensed money changer, but as there are no banks, they are not guaranteed to have pesos. The rate of exchange in Malapascua is poor and you may have trouble using traveler’s checks and credit cards outside the main cities. There are no ATMs in Malapascua, the nearest ATM is in Bogo, over an hour away. If you are worried about bringing a lot of cash, you can leave it in the safe. Make sure you get there with enough cash for your stay and a little longer for the probable extension. The Philippines uses USA style plugs.
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Malapascua diving offers sharks and mantas, wrecks and reefs, coral gardens, wall dives, caves, muck dives and much more...Indeed, the huge diversity of marine life in Malapascua, located in the center of the Coral Triangle, makes each dive a pure delight filled with new discoveries. Thresher sharks, giant manta rays, hammerhead sharks, whitetip sharks, mandarin fish, countless nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, frogfish, cuttlefish, endless crustacean species and beautiful unspoiled coral gardens.
The dive center is a PADI 5 Star IDC dive center and one of the top dive centers in the Philippines with 8 years on Malapascua. The best time to dive here is September. Mantas are usually at their peak, and there are usually many thresher sharks. The weather is generally sunny but not too hot, and there are not many tourists. This means fewer divers in the water, fewer people on the beach, and faster service in the restaurants. Thresher Sharks and mantas used to be more seasonal but are now seen consistently year round. Hammerheads are seen December-April. Your chance of seeing sharks is not as good during major holidays as there are always many divers around. These holidays include Christmas, Western New Year (Jan 1), Chinese New Year, Easter, Thai New Year (April 14) and May 1. It is best if you can avoid these times if possible.
As Monad Shoal has a fairly deep, square profile, we recommend that you use Nitrox and double your bottom time at Shark Point. If you double your bottom time, you double your chance of seeing sharks. Sharks are not the only ones to benefit from the cleaning stations. The wrasse also attract other pelagics. Occasionally, other species of shark will be seen such as hammerhead sharks and whitetip sharks. The shoal is home to a huge diversity of species: it is a great dive by itself - batfish, flutemouths, barracuda, tuna, mantis shrimp, pipefish, scorpionfish, free-swimming lionfish, moorish idols, schooling bannerfish, unicornfish, squid, octopus and various moray eels.
The Philippines has two seasons: "rainy season" (July-December) and "dry season" (January-June). Luckily, it doesn't mean that it always rains in rainy season - in fact you can go for months in rainy season with very little rain. As Malapascua is away from the mountains, it experience much less rainfall that Cebu City. They are rarely affected by typhoons, which tend to pass near to Luzon in the north of the Philippines.
Diving and the weather - There is almost always a protected area on the island that can be dived. The few storms they have are spread out fairly evenly through rainy season with a few more in November and December. This can change from year to year.High season (December-April) means less chance of rain Hottest time (March-May)
The island gets mild typhoons year round, but more so in low season (Jul-Dec). However, they do not usually hit us hard and we can almost always dive.
Water temperature varies from 27-30 degrees for most of the year. From December - February it is usually 24-26 degrees although it does not drop every year.
Malapascua is considered as one of the best diving spots in the world and the only one where is possible a meeting with a famous thresher sharks. The threshers grow up to a length of 5-6 meters, normally live in deep water and are nocturnal. Monad Shoal near Malapascua is a sunken island at 18-24m whose sides drop off to 230m. The thresher sharks live and hunt in this deep water for most of the day, but in the early morning, before it gets too light, they come up to the Shoal, attracted by its cleaning stations. The sharks are not dangerous to humans and will swim over the side of the shoal if startled.
Compared with other countries of SouthEast Asia, the Philippines doesn't take up much room in the major travel catalogues. The Philippines simply isn't ready to withstand the stresses that mass tourism and its consequences would bring.
On the island Malapascua are different accommodation possibilities, from the simple room to small cottages (bungalows) up to the comfortable Beach Resort. The accommodation in the Beach Resorts is from the small single room with external toilet/wash room up to the double room with double bed own WC, shower and Veranda directly at the beach. Almost all rooms have fan, some few air conditioning system. There are a lot of Resorts on Malapascua Island(about 15-20), mostly managed by Europeans who are married with Filipinas. .
guided small Motorbanka riding.
Banka-Tour around the Island
Snorkeling-Tour around the Island with Fiberglassbanka “Baleleng”
Safari with 55 ft Pumpboat “Seahawk”
Basketball is the national obsession and games are played at courts all over the island.
Lighthouse open to the public
Fiestas - There are many fiestas throughout the year with beauty pageants, discos, booths, food and drink. During high season, there is a popular disco event every Saturday.
Restaurants & bars -
Many restaurants are western owned and run and they have set a high standard for the island. The food is of excellent quality, and is generally a mix of Filipino and European dishes. German, English and Italian cuisines. There are also some excellent curries and even Mexican food.
Oscar's Restaurant - is an open air beachfront restaurant for some of the best food on Malapascua Island.Top quality dishes at a reasonable price. An eclectic mix of international dishes with a new menu every day Chef decides tonight's menu only once he has seen today's freshest ingredients. Top notch service and food served fast.
La Isla Bonita - offers Philippine dishes and pizzas.
Ging Ging's - is a popular choice, eatery with a large array of options.
Kiwi's Restaurant - down a track behind Ging Ging's, a small family run eatery with great food and good prices.
The Craic House - Bounty Beach, Malapascua Island, (East end of Bounty Beach) serves up delicious daily specials based on the best local produce and quality imported ingredients personally sourced by the owners. Everything that can be homemade is homemade from bread, wraps, falafel, cakes, pies, relishes, pates.
Purple Snapper Bar & Restaurant - (behind Malapascua Legend and Daño Beach Resort).They have great burgers, also try their pizzas and Fettucine Chicken Aldfredo.
Angelina - Angelina Beach. Original Italian food.
Oscar's Pub - The Pub is a British style bar, very well stocked with possibly the best selection of imported beers and liquors this side of Cebu City. It's location, surrounded by palm trees with a view over the sea, is idyllic.