Malapascua Island


In 1890 there were only 7 households living in this island. In 1990’s, the island became a famous to locals and tourists as a dive destination in Cebu. Aside from being a dive site, the island was also known for its white sand beaches and beautiful corals. among the famous dive sites that are located in the area are the 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 census, it had reached to 136,960. Population of Malapascua is mixed with local and foreign people.

The Language used in this island is Cebuano and sometimes mixed with tagalog and english since visitors and owners of the resort found in the island are mostly foreigners like Germans, French and Americans.

Located in the Visayan Sea, it is 6.8 kilometres (4.2 mi) across the northern tip of Cebu Island, about 2.5 by 1 kilometre (1.55 by 0.62 mi), and has eight hamlets.

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

Why you need to visit Malaspascua Island

Malaspascua has many things to offer particularly diving and its white sand beaches. Another gem that the island offers is their residents that very friendly and hospitable especially to their visitors.

There are numerous resorts in the island. Each offers a unique way to give the best to their clients and to keep them from coming back.

Malapascua Thresher Shark

Diving Spots

Diving is the main attraction in Malaspcua Island. This island is known all around 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 from 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 one.

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.

Malapascua is also very well known for 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. From Cebu, take a bus or car up to the port of Maya, then a 30 minute boat ride going to Malapascua. The road can be rough in places but it is getting better as the government slowly implements its improvement plans for northern Cebu.

If you have a booking on Malapascua, have your resort or dive shop arrange a private taxi and boat transfer. Average price is around US$100 -$120 for a one way transfer including the boat fare. They will pick you up at the airport and bring you all the way there. This must be the most reliable means to get to Malapascua but make sure to write down or take note of the resort’s contact number just in case a problem might arise.

You can also arrange a taxi in Cebu. This will cost about PHP 5,000 but you may be able to get a good deal. Just make sure the driver actually knows the way! Often these city drivers get lost near the end and a three hour journey takes five.

Once in Maya you can hire a private boat (P1000 and up), or just wait for the public boat (P50). This takes 30 minutes.
The saving-your-pennies way (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. 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.