From Bantayan Island and still in the Visayan Sea, it only took us a little less than an hour to reach nearby Malapascua Island via a small boat. The waters were just as clear as that of Bantayan but it is immediately observable that the island is much less commercialized. There were fewer resorts and the island is denser in population. It’s not a surprise since it is much smaller than Bantayan island and covering only about 4 square kilometers in area. It is more peaceful here.
Malapascua Island, which means “Unfortunate Christmas” as named by a Spaniard who came to the island on a stormy Christmas day in the 1500s, is located 8km off the north coast of Cebu. Although known for its long bounty white beaches on the south eastern side, Malapascua has remained free from mass tourism. Hence it was referred to by some as “…the way Boracay look[ed] ten years ago.”
The resort beach front has an amazing stretch of blinding white sand and blue waters. Wearing aqua shoes is advisable though since there are small rocks in some parts of the seabed.
We stayed in Blue Water beach resort south of the island. Our group stayed in 3 fan rooms, but there are also aircon cottages which were occupied. We were surprised to know however, that electricity in the island only lights up in the evening till dawn but the resort generator lengthens it from 5pm until 7am of the next day.
Some parts of the resort was undergoing construction when we came and was targeted to be finished by now. They were improving the beach bar and erected new structures as additional resort aircon rooms to accommodate guests this coming holiday season.
It was almost 10am, and after unpacking our bags, we decided to have an early lunch. The local guide recommended the place called Ging-Ging’s Flower Garden Restaurant and led us into the inner parts of the island. Our great Ging-Ging experience was shared in an earlier post here.
After lunch and siesta, we simply spent the whole afternoon by the beach, swimming, playing Frisbee, and beach bumming. However, we didn’t get to see the sunset because our part of the island is facing the southeast.
After freshening up and about 6pm, we had a short walk to the nearby town proper. We passed through some souvenir shops on the other side of the island and got a glimpse of what remained of the sunset. One could actually walk around the island by foot in about 2 hours only.
We had dinner again at Ging-Ging’s. That is the power of good service and good food.=) After which, the group prepared our own “drink” concoction back at the resort. I opted to rest early though and left the group to enjoy the night away.
The Next Morning
The three of us in the fan room was awoke almost at about the same time by 8am. Not because of an alarm clock, but because the fan has stopped for some time now. The generators are out as it reached its morning limit. Anyway, it was a good chance to catch the morning sunshine by the beach.
It was a slow morning since it’s once again free time for us all. The snorkeling activity won’t start until 2pm later in the afternoon.
Snorkeling Around Malapascua
Armed with snorkeling gears and fins, we hired one boat to bring us to 5 snorkeling spots. I cannot remember the names anymore, nor was I able to note down the snorkeling spots we went to. But I do remember that one was a Japanese ship wreck. The 3 coral spots were just fine but the last one was meant to be the unforgettable finale.
It had the most variety of fishes and colorful corals. And of course, I fed the fish with my ‘baon’ loaf bread. These are the times when you’d really hope you have an underwater camera. =) Immediately below is map-drawing I found on our boat. Being a non-diver, I think it looks ccol. =)
It was also where we got a close non-water encounter of two sea urchins picked up from the sea by the boatmen who wanted to show us the sea urchins up close. Check the video below.
(insert video here tomorrow)
The island is well known as well in the diving world since harvester sharks use nearby dive sites as a marine highway.
Gato island and Monad Shoal are just two of the many known dive sites in the area. Gato, a Spanish term for ‘cat‘ since the island is shaped like a sitting cat, is a protected marine sanctuary where divers go to see harmless White-tip Reef Sharks.
Another Diver’s heaven is an underwater plateau called Monad Shoal, only 23 meters deep, and is famous for being the only place known in the world where thresher sharks and manta rays can be seen on a regular basis. Thresher sharks can grow up to 6 meters and is generally safe to humans.
We did not go diving though, first because no one in our group is a diver. =) And second, it is pretty expensive as well. We left the following morning to go back to the main island of Cebu city.
Seeing Cebu Travelogue Series:
Part I – Historical City of the South – Nov1
Part II – Reaching Bantayan Island – Nov 8
Part III – Cebu On A Plate – Nov 15
Part IV – Malaspascua, Cebu’s Boracay – Nov 22
Part V – ‘Adtonako’ Cebu – Nov 29
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