In Malapascua, diving is a must activity and one of the most amazing experiences. If you decide to travel to Cebu in the Philippines, you need to visit this cute tropical island with beautiful white sand beaches and great marine life. Exactly! In Malapascua waters you can spot amazing thresher sharks and explore breathtaking diving spots.
Around Malapascua, the water is warm, clean and has good visibility. It’s easy to see, that Malapascua diving is truly worthwhile.
In this article we want to show you all the best diving spots you can find around Malapascua island.
Not into scuba diving? No worries white sand beaches, green palms and crystal clear water make underrated Malapascua a must visit for everyone planning to visit the Philippines.
Malapascua is a little island located at the northeastern tip of Cebu Island. Due to its size, you will able to explore everything on foot. The nice thing about Malapascua, is that it has a good mix of touristic amenities and for now is not overrun by tourists. There are no cars around, which makes the island an incredibly laid-back place. And yes, if you are into scuba diving Malapascua is the place to visit in the Philippines. Why? We will enlighten you a bit further down.
The most famous beach is Bounty Beach. Several hotels and restaurants are next to the beach and give the island a very relaxed vibe.
Malapascua is also close to beautiful Kalanggaman Island and we highly recommend you to visit.
In 2013 Malapascua was hit by typhoon Yolanda. Fortunately, it has recovered remarkably and we didn’t even notice that it ever happened.
Because of its unique marine life, scuba divers flock to Malapascua. So when you get to visit Malapascua, diving should be on your to-do list. Why? It is the only place in the world where you can see magnificent thresher sharks.
But that’s not all, besides beautiful coral walls and gardens, you will find reef sharks, barracudas, tuna, octopus, flamboyant cuttle fish, etc.
The most famous diving sites are Monad Shoal, Gato Island, and Kemod Shoal.
BEST DIVE SITES ON MALAPASCUA
This is the dive site that is the draw of Malapascua diving. According to PADI, one of the world’s 10 best dive sites do dive with sharks and it certainly does not disappoint. Your chances of seeing thresher sharks are high (75%) year round.
Monad Shoal is the place where thresher sharks have a natural cleaning station. Sharks hang out here almost every day around sunrise. The dive itself might be quite “boring” (but subsequently also longer) as you will be at a stationary line and simply wait for the sharks to come by. At times you have a “swimming dive” too. In any case once you see those majestic creatures pass by you will be delighted. Don’t get to close though, their long tails can kill.
Even if you are not lucky enough to see any thresher sharks, you might see large schools of Barracudas or Manta Rays. Other than this, there will be not much else to admire.
Gato Island is a marine reserve. Accordingly, dives are diverse and you will see many types of fish (e.g., reef sharks and big schools of fish). You will also encounter beautiful corals and rock formations that are perfect to swim through.
The little brother of Monad Shoal is also a submerged sea mount just way smaller. That makes the dive feasible for beginners as you will be diving somewhere between 10 and 15 meters of depth. However, you still might encounter thresher sharks, devil rays and even hammerhead sharks.
THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU WANT TO DIVE WITH THRESHER SHARKS
You will have to get up early. It’s a longer boat ride and you should be at Monad Shoal before sunrise, so be ready to wake up before 4.30 AM. We jumped into the water around 6 AM.
You will increase your chances if you go deeper. Therefore, it is beneficial to have a deep dive certificate (or the adventure dive certificate). 30m are deep enough to get to see thresher sharks.
You might not see any sharks. It’s nature right so there is never a guarantee. But chances are very high: around 75%. We have to be honest, we were not that lucky. We only caught the glimpse of the tail of a thresher shark. If you are not lucky. Try it again, if you have time.
ABOUT THRESHER SHARKS
Thresher sharks mostly live in the tropical oceans in North America and Asia. Even tough they are sharks and you might be asking yourself why would I want to see a shark and possibly be eaten by a shark (haha). Don’t worry. Not all types of shark are super dangerous. Besides, thresher sharks are really cute. In general sharks are not into diver meat.
Thresher sharks are famous for a distinctive large tail that resembles the arc of a rainbow. The tail of the thresher shark may weigh up to 33% of the shark’s total body weight. It helps to herd bony fish and to whack at them (don’t be the one to get whacked). This is how they hunt and why they have such a large tail.
Unfortunately, thresher sharks are an endangered species and are listed as vulnerable to extinction.
HOW TO GET TO MALAPASCUA
Malapascua lies north to the island Cebu. Therefore, the best way to visit Malapascua is via Cebu City.
Cebu City is easily reached by plane from other airports in the Philippines. Once you are in the city go to the bus terminal north. Look for a bus company called Ceres they will take you to Maya New Port station. From where you will continue by boat for about 30min. A typical Filipino boat called Bankga will leave Maya for Malapascua once it’s full. We paid P100 (per person) and an additional P20 to be transferred (by smaller boat) to the shore at low tide. Boats leave every hour until 3 PM. Those times might change so make sure to start not too late in Cebu City.
Like all journey’s in the Philippines the distances on the map are misleading. You should prepare to travel somewhere between 6 to 8 hours.
WHERE TO STAY ON MALAPASCUA
Have a look at some of the examples of great and affordable places we like.
This place is SO awesome and we will definitely stay there once we are back in Malapascua. It has cozy and comfy private native Filipino huts surrounded by beautiful nature, breakfast for $4 and FREE YOGA in the morning close to the beach. Bargain!
If you like something a bit more fancy next to the beach with a swimming pool, then Slam’s Garden Resort is great value with just $27 a night for 2 people. Rooms have good sized spacious bedrooms with a fridge and a nice location close to restaurants and the beach. There is a new diving school called Ocean Passion, so if you are thinking about learning to dive, they are using the swimming pool at the resort for training. How convenient.
Starlight is a really nice resort and only a 5-minute walk away from Bounty Beach. A double room cost around $35 which is great value. Next to the hotel is a local market where you can get local food for much cheaper and you get to explore more of the locals’ way of life.
Enjoy your time in Malapascua and we hope you will see tresher shark or at least a tail like we did 🙂
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