Monday, January 4, 2010

Malapascua Revisit

The first time I was in Malapascua, I had my first dive lessons. It was just an introductory dive. I remember seeing nothing but the mating of two mandarin fishes, which were said to be rare in this world. The dive wasn't deep, but the current was strong, and since we were diving at sunset, I managed to have my first night dive as well. Yes, all in one go.

Now, I am back, three years after. Malapascua is an idyllic island off the northern coast of Cebu. Bantayan Island is an hour away by boat. Most people mistake Bantayan for Malapascua. Malapascua is actually further north, and east, leaning towards Leyte. The island is known for thresher shark diving.

We took a pump boat from Maya Port in Daanbantayan (again, not Bantayan). The port for Bantayan is in Hagnaya in Bogo I think. We paid P100 each for a special one-way trip to Malapascua. The waters were rough then, so it took us 45 minutes. On smoother days, the ride takes less than 30 minutes.

Malapascua is actually famous amongst backpackers, since the Lonely Planet recommends going here. So, there are a lot of foreigners in the island, more than local tourists even. And they are not Koreans, nor Chinese and Japanese. Most are Westerners who are there to dive as well.

We stayed at Blue Water Resort, which was along Bounty Beach, the main beach in Malapascua. In this beach, a dozen resorts offers various kinds of accommodation. I have witnessed the development in the island. There are more resorts, and there is now a pathway, similar to that of Boracay along the beach. It actually reminded me of Boracay, only 10x less busy and laid back.

Rooms at Blue Water Resort ranges from P1,000 to P3,500 for the suite. The fan rooms near the beach front are perfect if you do not need A/C. I also stayed here in my last visit. There are other options, like Copacobana, which is more expensive.

I was happy that most of the restaurants and bars are still there. Sunsplash expanded to the beach front, and set-up a cozy lounge. We had a nice time drinking here in the afternoon till sunset. Sunplash also has rooms, and their restaurant/bar has a wonderful island design.

There's a pathway at the Southern end of Bounty Beach leading to another beach, which I thought had better sand quality (closer to the fineness of Boracay's). However, it is fronting a local village and the place where the ferry docks.

At one end though, one can find restaurants, such as Maldito, the first disco bar in the island and still the biggest and most happening I guess, and La Dolce Vita, a great Italian restaurant where I once had the best panacotta I have tasted.

We only spent a night in Malapascua, and it was of course not enough. I recommend Malapascua for those who want to escape crowds. Here, you get doses of Boracay, without the crowds, hawkers and madness. You can commune with nature, explore the great underwater and chill out the rest of the day.


2 comments:

  1. If you'd like, you can keep up-to-date with what's doing on on Malapascua here www.gotomalapascua.com/Blog/

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  2. Even a week’s stay in the island is never enough too for me. Anyone who sets foot there instantly falls in love with the place, it is just simply magnificent. Always been coming back there for vacation trips with my family.

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