On a recent trip to Mactan in Cebu, I made a side trip to Malapascua Island because every foreign tourist I talked to were labelling it as their favorite. A scenic picture of palm trees swaying amid a wide expanse of beach was enough to get my bags packing in the northern direction.
How to go to Malapascua island:
Long bus rides are discouraging enough but it wasn’t as grueling as I thought. From Mactan International Airport, one can easily catch a taxi or an Uber and it only cost something like P150 early in the morning to go to Northern Bus Terminal in Cebu City.
Upon arriving in the terminal, one has the option to catch the bus or any of those white UV express vans stationed outside the terminal. I took the van ride to Maya Port instead since it was shorter at three hours instead of the four hours it would take the bus with its number of stops. Fare was slightly more expensive at P200.
In Maya Port, there was a helpful tourism officer named Shellet who helped in getting a boat ride. Fare was P150 per person and the boats don’t usually leave until it’s filled up with a minimum number of 15 persons.
We rode an outrigger boat like this, and ride duration was 30 to 45 minutes –
The first sighting of Malapascua island wasn’t so impressive since the shoreline didn’t seem to be wide and the weather was kinda gloomy that day. Like any other tourist area, it was lined with beachfront resorts and dive establishments.
Take note that Malapascua is more famous as a diving spot where one can see thresher sharks and manta rays in their full glory. But non-divers like me will surely be captivated by the purity of village life and it’s certainly a must-stop for foreigners wanting to have a peek at how locals live in the rural areas of the Philippines.
Malapascua was so darn quiet at night so skip the place if you’re looking for party sounds. What I liked about the island was that no one was pretending to be anyone. I did not see pesky vendors hustling tourists for souvenirs or massage. Walking in the very dark alleys at night can be a scary thought but it was guaranteed to be safe.
As far as accommodations are concerned, there’s a choice of mid-range (from P1,000 to P3,000) to low-end rooms. The farther you got out of the beachfront, the cheaper it went.Places like Mr. Kwiz resort offered private fan rooms with its own toilet for P500. There’s also Malapascua Budget Inn and family-style homestays in the island’s inner streets.
Food in Malapascua can be very affordable. The beachside restos like Exotic Bar, Ocean Vida and La Isla Bonita served good food at Manila prices. But one can also opt for popular spots like Ging-ging’s restaurant where one can order a rice + curry dish for P120. And if Ging-ging’s wasn’t cheap enough, then one can surely try the roadside eateries selling food at P10 to P20 per dish. It tasted just liked how your auntie cooked her Filipino food 🙂
That’s me with my young Swiss friends Nicole and Peter at Ging-ging’s….
Renting a motorbike to tour the small island is highly-recommended for a price of only P10 to P30. The sight of the almost deserted Bounty Beach in the northern part of Malapascua certainly left me very impressed. The sand was so fine, the shoreline was expansive and there were no people!
Anyway, I went to Malapascua because it was raved about by certain acquaintances and I wanted to see it close. As an ideal tourist spot for budget travellers, one can certainly live here for P500 a day. Another reason why I opted for Malapascua is that it’s a jump-off point to the beautiful Kalanggaman Island which I will tell about in my next post.
From Malapascua, one can also go by boat to other scenic places like Bantayan island, Masbate and Donsol, Sorsogon.