Last updated on November 6th, 2018 at 04:15 am
During our recent trip to Cebu, our first stop was Malapascua. It was our second time visiting Malapascua and as the first time. it didn’t disappoint us at all. It was so beautiful, with really nice weather for swimming and taking pictures. There are many things to do in Malapascua and we will show you how beautiful Malapascua Island is, how to get to Malapascua, what to eat in Malapascua, where to stay in Malapascua. Also we will answer one of the most common questions about Malapascua Island: Are there ATMs in Malapascua? We will also let you in on how to take a day trip to Kalanggaman Island.
Before we go on and on about our lovely trip to Malapascua, there are some things you need to know about this Visayan island. Malapascua only recently became a hotspot for tourists and used to be a hidden gem in Cebu. As a diving spot, its waters are one of the most extreme and most beautiful. Here you can encounter thresher sharks all year round! Those not into diving can enjoy the fine sand and crystal clear waters of Malapascua. The idyllic island’s coastline can be covered in 4 hours and has an interesting boat-building village on its east side. Malapascua is the perfect location for a quiet vacation with friends and family.
How to get to Malapascua
Getting to Malapascua from Cebu City
If you are in Cebu, there are two ways to get to Malapascua: by riding a van or taking the bus. We decided to get there by van and it cost us around 200 PHP (less than 4 USD) per person, with the 5-year-old child riding for free! It took us about 4 hours to get to Maya Port where we rode the ferry to Malapascua. You can also get there by bus which is cheaper (around 160 PHP or 3 USD), which takes about 5-6 hours. As always, choose the option parallel to your preferred comfort, time and budget. You can also rent a taxi 2500 to 3500 PHP ($47 to 66 USD) or half of the price if you want to use Grab.
After arriving in Maya, we still needed to ride a boat to get to Malapascua. The fare was 100 PHP per person and 50 PHP for a kid, which is less than 2 to less than 1 USD respectively. It actually took us quite a long time to get on a boat because some locals were trying to charge us double. Their excuse was that there were not too many people going to Malapascua. If you encounter this, just be patient and wait for the honest person who will charge your right like what we did. They accepted us in the boat as last minute passengers with our desired fair rate. If it is low tide, you will have have to pay 20 PHP (non-negotiable) to the boatman taking you closer to the island on a smaller boat.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Weather: Best time to Visit Malapascua
Planning a trip to Cebu also means taking note of when the sunniest and warmest days are in the island. After all, no one wants to explore the beach with heavy rain, right? Luckily, Cebu only has 2 seasons: wet and dry. As a tropical country, the Philippines’ summer months are hot and humid while its rainy season is cool and wet. Click here to know more about the weather!
The warmest months of the year in Cebu are May to October, so it’s best to plan your trip during this time. Since Malapascua Island is in the province’s northern tip, visitors can expect more rainfall than its southern region. June to December is the wet season but you should only expect occasional rainfall during this time.
Whatever month you choose to visit, just make sure to bring your sunscreen and a portable fan, too! Those not used to the humidity might want to research some tips to keep themselves cool during their trip to Malapascua. Or you can always drink fresh coconut juice by the beach to help you with that tropical heat.
How to get from to Bantayan from Malapascua
If you are coming from Bantayan (click here for things to do in Bantayan Island), you can rent a boat starting from 1500 PHP (less than 28 USD) and it will take you less than 2 hours to reach Malapascua. You can also do the trip from Malapascua to Bantayan, as we did. We road a boat and paid 1200 PHP for two adults and a kid.
ATMS in Malapascua
There are no ATMs in Malapascua, so make sure you are bringing enough cash for your stay and all your activities in the island. Otherwise, you will have to pay high commissions in the resorts that allow you to exchange money with your credit card. Check here the exchange rate before your trip.
Daily Budget in Malapascua
When you’re traveling to Malapascua, you can expect to pay much less compared to other tropical destinations in the country and all over the world. Rooms and Airbnb in the island go for around 800 PHP (or 15 USD) while daily meals go for as low as 1 to 3 USD in local restaurants. There are fancier restos for 6 to 10 USD here as well, but eating as a local will give you a better insight to life in Malapascua. There are plenty of dive centers in Malapascua depending on your expertise, budget and time in the island. Some single dives may cost around 23 to 28 USD, while packages for three dives can go for 89 USD. Day tours to Kalanggaman Island cost a little over 9 USD for foreigners and less than 3 USD non-local tourists. On the other hand, over night stays are around 14 USD and 4 USD for foreign tourists and non-locals respectively.
If you want to sign up for Airbnb, we give you $30 USD credit with your first booking!
Transportation Around Malapascua
You can go walking almost everywhere in Malapascua Island. You can also rent a bicycle if the distances are bigger and even get a ride in a motorbike from the locals’ habal-habal. This mode of transportation is bet for your arrival to Malapscua, so you wouldn’t have to worry about carrying all your luggage from the port to your hotel.
If you want to take a ride to the many places to visit in Malapascua, you have two options: riding a boat or riding a motorcycle will cost up to 30 PHP, but this is still very affordable. Riding the motorbike will give you plenty of opportunities to explore Malapascua. You can go from the beach to a restaurant and to another beach in just a short amount of time!
Another way to explore the island is by motorboat. You can hire local fishermen and rent their boat for 4 hours. This rental will cost 800-1000 PHP, which is only around 15 USD! And if you join a few people price is the same 🙂
Things To Do in Malapascua
There are several things to do in Malapascua. The basic activities to do in Malapascua are snorkeling, diving, swimming and, of course, relaxing. Here’s a list of some of the things to do in Malapascua in your next trip!
If you are coming to Malapascua for diving, you should know that it´s one of the best spots in the Philippines and you can see thresher sharks in its crystal clear waters! Click here for a complete guide of places to go diving in the Philippines.
You can hire a boat and do island hoping around Malapascua. There are 2-3 spots to do it and you can ask the boatman for prices. They will offer around you around 1000 to 2000 PHP, depending on your negotiating skills. This was definitely one of the best activities to do in Malapascua on our day trip.
More Things To Do in Malapascua
3. Relaxing and Swimming
You can just chill and enjoy how quiet Malapascua is. Try reading a book, enjoying the hammock, walking around the beach, renting a bicycle to go around Malapascua, and other relaxing activities. We had so much fun taking pictures with our Go Pro and Dome trying to look for our perfect underwater shot!
Beaches in Malapascua
4. Langob Beach in Malapascua
Langob Beach was our favorite beach in Malapascua. It’s located at the end of the island and it’s very quiet and peaceful. If you decide to take a walk to Langob Beach, you will see gorgeous palm trees and a breathtaking 360 view. Even the town where locals live was a sight to behold. You can also take a habal-habl from the port to the beach for around 50 PHP per person.
5. Bounty Beach
In the South part of the Island, you will find an area full of restaurants, resorts and diving shops. Bounty Beach is the perfect place to spend your day if you just want to chill and aren’t in the mood to do the activities mentioned above. You can get a coconut or a cold beer and just enjoy the day.
6. Lighthouse Beach
You can go to the Lighthouse Beach for the amazing sunset. There are also spectacular views from the island from the top. It’s close to Langob Beach and you can access it by walking or by taking a habal-habal. It’s such an authentic and enjoyable experience to just walk around the beautiful Malapscua Island.
7. Cliff Jumping
What to do in Malapascua? How about some cliff jumping, eh? Yes, there are a several spots to go cliff jumping in the North Part of the island if you’re feeling in the mood for a little adventure.
8. Day trip Malapascua to Kalanggaman Island
The day trip from Malapascua to Kalanggaman Island is one of the best of the things to do in Malapascua, for sure! It takes around 2 hours by boat to get to Kalanggaman Island and the day trip costs 800 PHP, lunch included. You also have to pay an entrance fee of 500 PHP in Kalanggaman Island for foreigners and 150 PHP for locals. Kids until 5 y/o get in for free! The boats depart from Cocobana Beach Resort around 9 AM and return at 4 PM. The first way going to Kalanggaman is quiet but on the way back, it will take little bit longer because of the waves.
Kalanggaman Island is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in the Philippines. It may be small but it didn’t fail to strike us with its beauty. Its clear waters and the ever so popular sandbar makes the island even more incredibly unique. You can spend a night in Kalanggaman Island for 500 PHP in a tent; there are no hotel/hostels in the island. However, there are a some places where you can buy drinks, coconuts and even barbecue!
What to eat in Malapascua Island
Malapascua is actually very small island. There are a few carinderias for local food and also some nice restaurants. You can also find bakeries in the area and the prices are very affordable in all these places. You can get a meal with rice starting with 50 or 60 PHP.
There are a few restaurants where you can get Filipino and Western food. You can find fresh fish, sandwiches, pizzas – pretty much any typical food you’re craving for. You can get place an order for a decent meal in these restaurants at around 100 to 200 PHP, which is less than 4 USD. As you can see, a visit to Malapascua Island is super affordable.
Want to eat like a local? Ask around and see if you can find these underrated food choices in Cebu! Here are a few local dishes you shouldn’t miss out on when you visit Malapascua Island:
If you’re a vegetarian with a sweet tooth, Cebu has the perfect dessert-slash-snack for you! Anyone who loves fruits and veggies will surely enjoy binignit, a delicious mixture of cooking bananas, jackfruit, taro root, sweet potatoes, grains of sticky rice, and landang (sago- or tapioca-like pearls). Whew! That’s a whole lot of flavor right there. A little trivia: this dish is actually popularly served during Good Friday. No one actually knows why, but hey, it’s tradition!
Now here’s something chocolate-lovers will enjoy. Sikwate is Cebu’s own take on the classic hot chocolate and is made with tableya de cacao. Sikwate is made from cocoa beans that have been dried, roasted and milled into perfection. These cocoa tablets are then boiled using a batirol, a special wooden whisk that produces cocoa butter and makes the cocoa all frothy. Sugar and milk are then added to produce that amazing sweetness and smoothness. Sikwate is usually paired with rice cakes and mangoes – a strange yet delicious combination.
I always find the way people make breakfast all over the world quite interesting. It shows so much about a culture and its people. A peninsular area such as Malapascua takes pride in danggit or dried and salted rabbitfish. It sounds like a poor man’s choice but this simple viand is paired with the most amazing fried rice, vinegar with chili, and atsara (pickled papaya).
A perfect fruit to eat by the beach, Cebu’s mangoes are quite exceptional. They aren’t like anything we’ve ever tasted! Philippine mangoes have a sweetness that cannot be found in any other mango. That is why mango juices and shakes are so popular in the country. If you live abroad but would like to take home this one of a kind flavor, you can always buy dried mangoes as a souvenir.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Festivals in Malapascua
A newcomer in the dozens of Philippine festivals is Lawihan Festival in Malapascua. Started in 2009, this celebration showcases the talent of Malapascua’s locals and the richness of the island. It aims to boost Malapascua’s identity as a tourist destination and its heritage as an imporant island in the country. Lawihan Festival also honors Birhen delos Desamparados, the island’s patron saint, and is celebrated on the month of May.
Hear the locals of Cebu City shout “Viva Pit Señor!” in reverence to Santo Niño during this one of a kind festival. Sinulog is one of the most important festivities in the country and is attended by millions of people from all over the country and the world. It is celebrated every third Sunday of January and is filled with parades, dances and street parties.
Malapascua Island Accommodation: Where To Sleep
We stayed our days in Malapscua at Blanco Beach Resort. The hotel is located very close to the main beach; it’s actually just a 3-minute walking distance away. We enjoyed talking to the owner Andrea about his travels and listening to all his advice of things to do in Malapascua.
The place was really beautiful. It was painted in white and looks like a new building. We loved the scenery from the rooftop where you can have an amazing panoramic view of Malapascua. Check out these amazing views from the hotel:
The room was big enough for the three of us and luckily, the internet was working really well. We loved that in Blanco Beach Resort there are a few modems to connect to which are distributed among different floors and places in the hotel. As Digital Nomads, we love getting good internet connection wherever we go. If you are one too, this is a great place in Malapascua for you too, for sure!
If you are planning to visit other parts of Cebu after staying a few days in Malapascua, click here to read our full guide to travel around Cebu. Or you can read here if you are planning to visit Kawsan Falls and Moalboal.
Also, here’s our take on the things to do in El Nido, the most touristic destination in the Philippines. Those who want to stay longer and explore the country, read our full travel guide to visiting the Philippines!