During our recent trip to Malapascua Cebu, our first stop was Malapascua Island. 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.
Read here where to stay in Malapascua Island
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How to get to Malapascua Cebu
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 Port, 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 Cebu. 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.
Read here for full information how to get to Malapascua Island!
Weather: Best time to Visit Malapascua
Cebu only has 2 seasons – sunny and rainy – and sunshine tramps rain most days of the year. May to October is the rainy season but even during the rainy season, you can expect occasional sunny days.
The dry season is from November to April. The dry season is the best time to visit Malapascua where you can enjoy sunny days around the beach.
How to get to Bantayan Island 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 Cebu
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.
Internet and Wifi Connection in Malapascua
We were lucky with internet and wifi connection in Malapascua and it was working good enough for doing our job online. It can be challenging the connection if it’s raining. Apart from wifi our data was working in LTE with Globe and Smart in Malapascua.
Daily Budget in Malapascua Cebu
When you’re traveling to Malapascua Cebu. 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 $1-3 USD in local restaurants.
There are fancier resorts for $6-10 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 $20 USD for foreigners and less for non-local tourists. On the other hand, over night stays are around $14 USD in Kalanggaman Island.
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. 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 $15-20 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!
1. Diving in Malapascua
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!
The most popular places for diving in Malapascua are: Underwater Caves in Gato Island, Marine Life at Bugtong Bato, Explore Kemod Shoal and Mandarin Fish at Lighthouse Reef. As we mentioned before prices are 1200-1500 PHP for one dive. You can also buy packages!
Read here the best places for diving in the Philippines!
2. Tresher Sharks
If you like diving early morning you will have the opportunity to join a diving day before sunsrise. You will have to go to Monad Shoal where you can find the Tresher Sharks around 20 meters deep. If you like diving you can’t skip it to watch the Tresher Sharks.
3. Snorkeling in Malapascua
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 one of the best activities to do in Malapascua on our day trip. We always bring our snorkeling mask traveling in the Philippines.
More Things To Do in Malapascua Cebu
4. Relaxing and Swimming in Malapascua
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
5. 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-habal from the port to the beach for around 50 PHP per person.
Read here beaches in Malapascua
6. 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.
7. 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 Malapascua Island.
8. Guimbitayan Beach
To get to Guimbitayan Beach you will have to walk until the North part of the island. Passing by fishermen houses, Langob Beach and close to Lighthouse Beach you will find this quiet and calm beach.
9. Gugma Beach
Gugma Beach you will find in the North part of the island before getting to Langbog Beach on the right side. To get there you will have to climb for an abandoned resort and going down.
10. 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.
11. Sunsets in Malapascua
Our favorite time of the day is the sunset. The sunsets in Malapascua are so magical. You can swim, take pictures and enjoy the Happy Hour in the bars. So many plans to do in Malapascua. You can see why it’s one of our favorite places to visit in the Philippines.
12. 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!
Where to Stay in Malapascua Island
Blanco Beach Resort
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. It’s a luxury resort and you will love it here!
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!
TEPANEE BEACH RESORT
Tepanee Beach Resort sits on top of a 33 ft² piece of land on Malapascua Island. It provides private beach access and cozy rooms with wooden and bamboo furnishings. Guests can enjoy water sports activities by the beach. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Their rooms starts at $60 and up, free of breakfast!
Where to Stay in Malapascua on a budget
MALAPASCUA BUDGET INN
Malapascua Budget Inn is one of the most recurrent accommodations among backpackers who travel to Malapascua Island. The facilities are really simple, but the cleanliness is a plus. Friendly staff and the great atmosphere in their common area give many points for the travelers who seeks to save. It has a barbecue area and a shared kitchen, which gives rise to many evenings of sharing dinner and experiences with other backpackers. The shared rooms can be obtained from $8 and private rooms for $30.
SHARK TAIL’S DIVE RESORT
This resort used to be called Purple Snapper, but got a new look and overall change thru its new owner. It’s now called Shark Tail’s Dive Resort. This resort is centered about good customer service and quality diving experience.
The prices of their rooms starts with the traveler room with fan for only $20 or less. They also take pride in the variety of food at the restaurant they have at the resort. Of course, this is recommended for the ones who would like to try diving since they specialize in it.
Where 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.
Danggit (© George Parrilla – Flickr)
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).
Image from Wikimedia
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.
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.
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.
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About the Author: Ruben, co-founder of Gamintraveler.com since 2014, is a seasoned traveler from Spain who has explored over 100 countries since 2009. Known for his extensive travel adventures across South America, Europe, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa, Ruben combines his passion for adventurous yet sustainable living with his love for cycling, highlighted by his remarkable 5-month bicycle journey from Spain to Norway. He currently resides in Spain, where he continues to share his travel experiences alongside his partner, Rachel, and their son, Han.