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Malapascua

Philippines

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Overview

This beautiful island paradise is located off the northeast of Cebu, and is just 2.5km long and 1km wide! Meaning you can walk around the whole island in under 2 hours. 

As you walk around this island, you will find a mix of gorgeous stretches of white sandy beaches and dramatic ragged rocky coastlines. If the main thing you want to do between dives is relax in peace and quiet by the sea, then Malapascua is your perfect destination. In the evenings you can then head to one of the small bars or restaurants here to eat, drink and relax with other divers.

Getting There: Cebu City north to Maya is about 3 hours by road (depending on traffic). It is then another 30 minutes by outrigger boat to Malapascua.

 

Malapascua is less rainy than Cebu, but the seasons are the same. Year-round temperature is 27ºC – 30ºC.

Wet Season: July to December

Dry Season: January to June

Many Filipinos head here during holidays, so it’s best to avoid during Christmas; Western New Year (1 January); Chinese New Year; Easter; Thai New Year (14 April); and 1 May.

 

Diving

Overview

Diving in Malapascua offers a great variety of dive sites – from amazing coral to sandy muck dives, to wall diving, tunnels and wrecks. However, the jewel in Malapascua’s crown is that it is the only place in the world for regular sightings of thresher sharks before sunrise.

Thresher sharks use the Monad Shoal seamount as a cleaning station where wrasse remove parasites from their skin and clean their gills and mouths.

Because diving is very varied with many different influences, there is an excellent variety of marine life to be found in the waters around this area. Schooling hammerheads are regularly seen between December and May.

Water Temperature
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24ºC – 30ºC – 3mm wetsuit or rashie

Dive Season

Year-round. Schooling hammerheads are regularly seen between December and May.

Dive Highlights

Monad Shoal - Shark Point and Shark Wall (26m+ / 80ft+)

Monad Shoal is an underwater island on the edge of a 200m drop-off, famous as the only place in the world where thresher sharks can be seen every day. Manta rays have also become a common sighting while the shoal also attracts other pelagics such as devil rays and eagle rays. Monad Shoal is perfect for Nitrox diving.

 

Gato Island (24m / 80ft)

Gato Island is one of Malapascua’s most famous dive sites. Gato is a marine reserve and sea snake sanctuary. It has at least five dive sites with a huge diversity of marine life - you can see such things as banded sea snakes, cuttlefish, seahorses, nudibranchs, frogfish, moray eels, scorpionfish, squid and big-mouthed mackerel. There are also many white-tip sharks, as well as bamboo and catsharks. The coral is in good condition, and the rocky island has many interesting underwater rock formations, overhangs, and swim-throughs. There is also a 30m tunnel where you journey underneath Gato Island and come out the other side!

 

Calanggaman Island (40m+ / 130ft+)

Calanggaman Island is a picture-postcard desert island. Palm trees and a pile of white sand surrounded by crystal clear water and steep walls dropping off into the blue. Visibility is usually good, and fish life is plentiful. Drop down the walls which are covered in hard corals and gorgonian fans and inhabited by many varieties of fish. Look for pelagics out in the blue or unusual fish like clown triggers on the wall. You can also see many critters, including nudibranchs, crabs and shrimp. Also perfect for snorkelling.

 

Lighthouse (10m / 35ft)

Lighthouse is one of the few places in the world where you can see mandarin fish regularly. Combine that with seahorses, scribbled and banded pipefish, juvenile sweetlips, banded sea snakes, hermit crabs, and many varieties of shrimp and you’ve got a dive to remember. As day turns into night more interesting creatures will reveal themselves such as reef squid, bobtail squid, starry night octopus, the occasional blue-ringed octopus and cuttlefish.

 

Chocolate Island (16m / 55ft)

Chocolate Island is a beautiful shallow dive site and a macro photographer’s delight. The healthy coral is home to a large variety of life: sea snakes, snake eels, moray eels, cuttlefish (including flamboyants), seamoths, dragonfish, Pegasus and juvenile batfish. The macro life includes nudibranchs, flatworms, shrimp, shells and cowries, to name a few.

 

Dona Marilyn Wreck (18m-32m / 60ft-110ft)

At almost 100m long, the Dona Marilyn was a Cebu-Manila passenger ferry that sank in a typhoon 20 years ago. It is now lying on its starboard side, amazingly still all in one piece. Penetration is possible for qualified divers. There is a lot to see inside as it has remained unsalvaged.

 

Activities

Beaches

Scuba diving is the main activity on this little island. The only other thing to do is relax by the sea and perhaps grab your mask and snorkel once in a while for a dip. And if you feel like it, meander over to the lighthouse to watch the sunset.

 

Philippines – Malapascua
Snorkelling
Philippines – Malapascua
Culture
Philippines – Malapascua
Beaches

Operators

Buena Vida - Malapasua
Ocean Vida Beach and Dive Resort

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