Malapascua Island History – Culture and Language


In 1890 there were only 7 households living on this island. In the 1990’s, the island became famous to locals and tourists due to its beautiful dive spots and the big fish. Other attractions are the uniqueness of its white sand beaches and beautiful corals. A famous dive site that are located in the area are Gato Island, Monad Shoal, and Kemod Shoal.

Population, Language and Area

Beautiful Island in the North of Cebu

Malapascua’s population is increasing. In 2010, according to the census, it had reached 136,960. The population of Malapascua is mixed with local and foreign people.

The Language used on this island is Cebuano and sometimes mixed with Tagalog and English since visitors and owners of the resort found on the island are mostly foreigners.

Located in the Visayan Sea, it is 6.8 kilometers (4.2 mi) across the northern tip of Cebu Island, about 2.5 by 1 kilometer (1.55 by 0.62 mi), and has eight hamlets. This island is considered as a barangay of the town of Daanbantayan.

Since Malapascua is just a small island, exploring the whole island could only take an hour or so. There are no cars, a motorcycle is the only means of transportation there.

Why Malaspascua Island

Malapascua has many things to offer, diving is known for it and its beautiful white-sand beaches.  The island has a friendly and hospitable people where they can take care of you when you are there.

There are numerous hotels and resorts on the island. Each offers a unique way to serve their guest and to keep them from coming back.

Dive Spots

Diving is the main attraction in Malapascua Island. A known island in the world to be a sighting spot for the Thresher Sharks. The Monad Shoal serves as a cleaning station for the Thresher Sharks as they come to this spot to be cleaned by the small fishes called the “cleaning wrasse”. These small fishes feed on the dead skin and bacteria from the shark’s body. These two creatures, regardless of the difference in their sizes, benefit from each other so the bigger creature never attempted to prey on the smaller ones.

Gato Island is another very famous Malapascua dive site. Gato has a great variety of creatures like sea snakes, cuttlefish, seahorses (large and pygmy), frogfish, nudibranchs, and loads of macro and good soft coral.

This island is known for its incredible macro diving at all its dive sites. You can see many types of shrimps and crabs, including harlequin shrimp, ghost shrimp, and Xeno crabs. Pipefish are all around including several types of ghost pipefish. The night dive is spectacular, with mandarin fish mating all over the place, seahorses, bobtail squid, sea hares, and huge crabs and sea stars. Mimic and blue ring octopus can be seen as well as the occasional stargazer and hairy frogfish.

Malapascua Dive Ocean
Malapascua Dive Ocean
Malapascua Dive Center
Malapascua Dive Center
Malapascua Beach
Malapascua Beach
Malapascua Island
Malapascua Island

How to get to Malapascua

Malapascua is located in the Philippines just off the north tip of Cebu Island.

Most people go to Malapascua via Cebu City. If you’re located in Metro Cebu, you have many options that you can take. Either a bus, taxi, car rental transfers which it will be private and faster which will take around 3-5hrs, depending on the service you are taking.  After your trip you will arrive in the port of Maya, another 30-minute boat ride going to Malapascua Island.

If you’re looking for a way to transport you from this Island you can rent a car and a car will be reserved for you and wait for you. This option is good especially if you are from the airport. You can check our Cebu Rent a Car Rates.

Once in Maya, you can hire a private boat (P1000 and up), or just wait for the public boat (P50) which will take you about 30 minutes.

For those who are bugeting, you can use public transportation only it will take time doing so. One way of saving-your-pennies (for the adventurous).

Take a taxi to the Northern Bus Terminal.

Take a bus to Maya. Ceres buses are the best, they are the big yellow ones. Rough Riders live up to their name. The cost is about P180.

This will take you all the way to Maya port, so just get off at the end of the line.

From there, go to the little ticket booth at the end of the pier and they will help you get the next public boat. There is no fixed boat schedule as the boats wait until they are full to leave. The last boat usually leaves around sundown. Price for a public boat is P50.

BEWARE of scams at Maya, the touts can be merciless. They will tell you that there are no more boats going to Maya, but it is usually not true. The last boat usually leaves between 6 and 7pm. You may have to wait for a while, but you can usually get across for P50. If you want to go straight away, you can hire a private boat for P1000. If it is late or bad weather or the captain just does not want to go, expect to pay up to P2000.

Keep some small change in pesos. You may need it for porters. Also, if it is low tide, you will have to get a small rowing boat (“boaty”) to the banka ferry. This costs 20 pesos per person and per bag.

You can get to Cebu by plane or ferry. There are many different ways of traveling around the Philippines, and those below are just a few of the easiest. Be aware that routes and schedules change constantly.