Even though my sister in law ran into me on a motorbike on one of my trips and gave me lasting reminders of the trip on my legs, I still have happy memories of being on Malapascua Island.
I have been to Malapascua Island 4 times. The first was in December 2003 and the last was in December 2010.
Before you can make the final journey by banca boat to Malapascua, you have to get to Maya on the northern tip of the island of Cebu.
Map of northern Cebu Island, courtesy of Wagner High School
There are several ways to get to Maya:
At Maya, there is a primitive boat terminal without a jetty or pier. There used to be a two tier pricing structure. Locals paid less. Now everyone pays the same. As at Decemeber 2010, it is P50. Buy your ticket at the booth and do not get ripped off by touts. The banca’s leave about every hour for Malapascua. Coming back, they also leave about every hour from Malapascua to Maya. You can also pay extra for a private Banca boat ride back to Maya. It will depend on your negotiation skills but expect P1500 to P2000 for a private banca.
At low tide, the banca boats can’t dock at Maya and you have to ride out to a banca boat on a dinghy or other small boat. You have to be fit for this trip or be prepared to be carried. When I was on the dinghy, I asked how I was to get onto the banca and the boatman said “jump”. The dinghy’s cost about P5 per head. At high tide there is no need for the dinghy’s and you just scrabble over the rocks to the banca boat.
Dinghy ride to the banca boat
You can see a Malapascua map here.
The bancas all go to what is marked as Bounty Beach on the above map. When the banca arrives on the island, you have to walk the plank to get off, so I don’t recommend wearing expensive shoes or clothes in case you end up in the water.
There used to only be electricity from about 6pm to midnight, except on special occasions. Since 2009, they have electricity on the island 24/7.
The only cell phone service you used to be able to access on Malapascua Island is Globe. Not sure if that is still the case.
The island does not have any resources and everything that a foreigner might want comes there by Banca boat.
Much of the accommodation on Malapascua was forced to move because there was a new local ordinance that no accommodation could be less than 40 metres from the water.
My favourite accommodation, White Sands Bungalows was one. They rebuilt all their bungalows and the place is looking very very nice. Check my youtube video here
You can eat at several expensive restaurants (by Philippines standards) but the place I liked best for price and quality was Ging Gings Eatery.
Mango pancakes are P70 and a mushroom and tomato omelette is also on;y P70
Mango pancakes for breakfast
Ging Ging’s is set in a private garden. You dine under cover but in the open and the atmosphere is very pleasant.
Waitress about to serve our breakfast at Ging Ging’s Eatery
Motor scooters can be hired by the hour but you have to use your negotiating skills to get the best price. Ging Ging’s charge P200 per hour. As you tour around the island, you can see Filipinos living the same lifestyle thay have probably lived for hundreds of years.
Motor scooter for hire
Banca boats can be hired for the day to go diving or snorkelling. You can also hire them to go touring around the island. There are fixers who will arrange a boat for you but they will add on a fee for their services.
The island is inhabited by Filipinos who were there long before the greedy developers and foreigners so please take care to respect their rights.
If you are interested, I have 3 Malapascua videos on my video page 2
ENJOY YOUR TRIP TO MALAPASCUAf83