This trip turn out to be different from what I planned initially.
When I book the tickets to Cebu City, I have not attained my diver’s license. My intention is just to relax in an island near to Cebu Island and Malapascua has been identified for this trip.
I was often told that if we want to look at Boracay 20 years ago, one have to go to Malapascua.
However, after getting my diver’s license, my options in Malapascua expanded.
Touched down in Mactan Airport on schedule, 0400hrs.
After clearing immigration and got my luggage, instead of using the usual airport taxi, I walk up the ramp opposite the arrival hall exit.
This ramp will lead you to the departure hall and once you are out of the departure hall, you can see a row of regular white taxis waiting for passengers.
I asked the taxi driver to bring me to North Bus Terminal. I am more comfortable with Cebu taxi drivers. They usually will turn on the meter without asking.
The fare to the bus terminal is P150. Fortunately there is no jam on the bridge as they are repairing both bridges that link between Mactan and Cebu at the same time!
To enter the bus terminal, one has to pay P10. This is really crap. On top of that, to use the toilet you have to pay P2!
The condition of the bus terminal is terrible compared to the bus terminal in Cagayan De Oro.
However, the staff is friendly and different bus companies staff will try to get you to take their bus. It seems like Malapascua is a very popular destination there and everyone assumed every tourist is going there.
I chose Ceres bus to bring me to Maya, which is the jump off point to Malapascua. Being a cheap charlie, I intend to take the non-aircon bus which cost P163. I then asked the staff how much is the fare for taking the air con bus. The air-conditioned bus even comes with free Wi-Fi but I can’t connect to it.
The air-conditioned bus depart every hour for Maya and the bus I am in leave at 0500hrs.
The traffic in Cebu City during that time is considered light. We reach Danao very soon and I saw the board that points to the ferry to Camotes Islands.
There is a lots of curve and bends and the road are not paved. So you are travelling like on a dirt road.
It took like another 30mins to reach Maya. The whole journey took 4 hours.
When I first look at Maya, I was like “wow!”.
I paid P80 for my ride and they quickly herd us to a small boat.
If you have big luggage and need help, it will cost you P20 per luggage. Some tourist is surprised when they are being asked to pay for another P20 for this.
During my ride, many tourist question why the need to pay for another P20. Some of the tourist do not have small change and they said they only have P1000.
The boatman can’t do anything to them and did not collect any money from them in the end.
The transfer from the small boat to the banca is not for the faint hearted. The boatman in the small little boat will just use his hands to hold on to the banca and all passengers will need to take a high step to the banca. If you have big luggage, it is better to get the help from the banca boatman.
The ride took about 45mins and at Malapascua, we are again need to board a small boat to bring us to Logon beach. So it will be another P20.
Hiltey’s Hideout Homes is build in 2012 so it is relatively new. I really do not know where is this place and all I know it is near to Malapascua Legend.
I just find a small dirt road that is nearest to the beach and start walking inwards.
Hiltey’s Hideout Homes is just about 2 min walk from Ging Ging Restaurant and it looks a bit different from what I see from the web.
What I like is that the place is surrounded by coconut trees. The owner try to preserve the trees instead of cutting them down by changing the design of the house in order to accommodate the trees.
The toilet and the shower is in two different room. There is a hole near to the ceiling between the shower and toilet. The light in the shower room will shine through the hole and brighten up the toilet. If the light is insufficient, there is another electric light source in the toilet which you can use.
I am surprised that towels are provided and there is even a safe and fridge in the room. All these are without extra charges.
The only issues I have is the water pressure from the shower head is too low. The water pressure from the tap is fine but not from the shower head.
There are also only 5 connections to the Wi-Fi. So if all have been taken up, you just have to wait for a long time.
Also do not expect good cell phone and data coverage there. It just sucks.
You can also refill your water for P10 per liter. This reduce the amount of bottles you have to buy so can cut down on waste.
I was charge P1000 per room which is reasonable to me. There are rooms that is as low as P500 but those really depends on luck.
After settling down, I start to look for dive centers. I have approached two dive centers, Exotic and Thresher Shark Diver (TSD).
You will need to have at least one dive for the past 6 months and for Monad Shoal and Kalanggaman Island dive and you will need to have deep dive experience.
Even if you have dive at 30m is useless to them if you do not have the certification.
So I reluctantly pay P3200 for the Monad Shoal dive to see the Thresher Shark. Before the dive, I need to study about Deep Dive and take a mini test.
After I complete the dive at Monad Shoal, then they are willing to let me dive at Kalanggaman Island. To be honest, I do not know what to expect for the Kalanggaman Island dive. I just want to see that island with my own eyes.
After making some inquiry, I went to explore the island.
Bounty beach is the most poplar beach in Malapascua. Almost every available space has been taken up by resort or dive centers. However the number of tourist is very few.
There are some boat builders and repairs along the beach.
This place has no tourist at all as it is really out of the way.
I then walk down the road and to look for a way out to the beach.
Actually for my past few visits, I have been giving out stationery like pencils, sharpeners, rulers etc. to the kids while I walk along the way.
I even saw a man with a self-made gun for hunting and he managed to get a bat!
I again enjoy the view of Bounty Beach.
When I am done with them, I made my way for dinner.
The nearest restaurant to Hilteys is Ging Ging Restaurant.
I often read good reviews about it so it is a must try for me.
I ordered my food and wait and I mean you will really have to wait for it.
The staff is efficient but not the food. It took them a long time to come back with my food. Having a meal in Ging Ging restaurant is a challenge. You have to battle with the flies there.
Finally the food arrived and it indeed taste good. The price is more affordable compared to those by the beach.
The sunset is really beautiful though still not as outstanding as Boracay. Based on the view, I feel that the best place to view the sunset is Tepanne Resort and Blue Coral Beach Resort.
A few photos on Hiltey’s at night.
Woke up at 0430hrs. Washed up and walk my way to TSD.
One thing important to bring to Malapascua is a torch-light. Hiltey’s do provide a torchlight which is very good. However, the silly me decide to walk to TSD without a torch and you really need to be very careful.
There are remnants tree trunks that is on the ground where the roots of it is still in the ground.
I finally made my way to TSD cautiously.
I look up the sky and I was awed by the view. The sky is filled with stars and it was very beautiful.
To cut the long story short, we board a small boat that bring us to the banca. We then travel about 30mins to Monad Shoal and we suit up and down we go.
Unfortunately my old problem surface where I can’t equalize well. Our dive master Yuan from China is very patient.
She patiently wait for me. There is another member in the group which also has problem descending. Yuan assisted her and finally all the three of us made it down.
Maybe we did not make a reservation with the Thresher Shark. They did not appear today. We waited for about 10 mins and we spotted none.
We then slowly surface after doing a safety stop.
Disappointed, we left and head back to the dive center.
At the dive center, after sorting out some registration problems, I head out for my breakfast at Ging Ging. It took them 10 mins just to prepare two eggs and bread and the restaurant is not even crowded.
After gobbling up my food after the delay, I made my way back to TSD quickly.
My dive master is Gibb and he looked for me at the dive center.
They then bring all the gear up to the banca and we are again transferred to the banca using small boats.
Up the big banca and off we go to Kalanggaman Island.
Kalanggaman Island is an island located off Leyte. This island is sometimes even not being identified on the map. You can try to search Kalanggaman Island in Google Earth and you cannot find it there.
Kalanggaman Island is actually one of my highlights of this trip and I sign up for the Monad Shoal dive in order to go to Kalanggaman Island.
The ride from Malapascua to Kalanggaman Island took about 1 hr 45 mins under good weather condition.
When I first saw Kalanggaman Island from the boat, the island look lovely. The sand bar reminds me of White Island in Camiguin.
We began our dive. When I was down in the water then I realised it is wall diving.
I was pretty scared actually. Imagine you’re swimming in the infinity pool and you fell out of it.
When I dive over the cliff drop, all I see is the deep blue sea with virtually no bottom.
We dive along the wall and Gibb show me all the macro creatures in the sea.
It was really an interesting dive. I achieve a bottom time of 42 mins.
After the first dive, the boatman dock the boat at Kalanggaman Island.
We just enjoy the sea breeze and food.
There are places in Malapascua that offer Kalanggaman Island day trip for P800 per person.
I have also broke my personal record of diving up to 33m and I even manage to achieve a bottom time of 45 mins with 230 of air.
After getting back to the boat, we start our journey back to Malapascua.
Unfortunately we encounter bad weather on the way back. The boat was hitting the wave pretty badly and we took more than 2 hours to reach Malapascua.
It is also raining in Malapascua so there is no sunset view tonight.
After I washed up, I went back to TSD to pay my bill of P8000.
I then went to Ging Ging for dinner again and it was very crowded. After my meal, I just went back to my room and rest for the day.
I woke up at 0500hrs and went to beach to view the sunrise.
It is not spectacular but I just enjoy watching day break.
I then walk to Logon beach. Between Logon beach and Bounty beach, I would prefer the latter as it is cleaner. At Bounty beach, I saw staff of the resort cleaning up the beach where in Logon beach, only the area outside La Dolce Vita is clean.
I can’t believe I can spend 3 hours just by walking along the beach.
I went to have my last meal at Ging Ging. Pancake with chocolate and banana. Gosh, they are always trying to stuff me to death!
How I wish I could stay a little longer.
I walk to Logon beach and buy my boat ticket there. The operation is same as Maya. A small boat will bring us to the big banca and we start to made our 45min trip back to Maya.
When we reach Maya around 1130hrs. The boat we took manage to dock near to the pier. So they do a makeshift plank and we then walk on it to reach the shore.
Ceres Bus staff mentioned that every hour the bus will leave for Cebu City. I only saw a non-aircondition bus waiting for passenger. The thought of taking a non-aircondition bus under such hot weather does not entice me.
I then ask when will the air conditioned bus arrive but they said they have no idea.
Soon I saw an air-conditioned bus arrive. I asked the bus driver what time will the bus leave. He said every hour there will be an air-conditioned bus leave Maya for Cebu City. However do take note that I get to know from one of the staff in North Bus Terminal that the last air-conditioned bus leave Maya at 1500hrs.
The fare is also P170 and I just wait inside the bus. Surprisingly the bus leaves at 1153hrs. So please try to arrive early. Remember there is schedule for almost all transport in the Philippines but following the schedule is another matter.
This is where the trip start to go wrong.
The weather is so hot that even the air condition is not helping.
The sun is shining into the bus and though I have used the curtain to block it, it is still making me feel sick.
The bus driver way of driving also make me feel nausea. When we are approaching Cebu City, traffic start to slow down.
The bus driver make two toilet break stops along the way and I can tell you the weather is terribly hot.
The whole trip from Maya to Cebu City took 5.5 hrs! By the time I disembark the bus, I am in a daze.
I am still feeling sick when now I am writing this report.
I quickly walk out of the terminal and flag down a moving taxi and tell the taxi driver to bring me to Ayala Mall.
I just buy some water and change some money in Ayala Mall. This is the first time I left a destination with less than P3000 which makes me feel a little uneasy.
I then walk to Tune hotel to check-in. I have actually book for 3 nights but in the end I have wasted one night as I have extended my stay in Malapascua which is a decision I did not regret.
Tune Hotel is pretty standard. Tune Cebu lobby is at 2nd floor and the check-in is by a non-smiley staff.
I was so tired by the journey back to Cebu City that I did not even bother to leave the hotel to have dinner.
This is my last day in Philippines.
I intend to go to SM Mall to buy some stuff.
So I walk to the jeepney terminal at Ayala Mall and wait for the 03Q jeep. After waiting for 20mins, the jeep is still nowhere in sight.
After some time, the security told me to take another jeepney 14L at the intersection of Mindanao Street and Bohol Street to SM Mall.
After some shopping, I took a taxi back to Tune Hotel and back to Ayala Mall for lunch.
I went back to the hotel for my final packing.
I understand that both the bridges linking between Mactan Island and Cebu Island is under repair. So I left the hotel 3hr 15mins before my flight.
Surprisingly the traffic is smooth even on the bridge.
So I arrived early and wait aimlessly in the airport.
I absent-minded left my backpack at the security scanning after they scanned my bag and fortunately one kind passenger found me and alerted me.
The state of Mactan airport is really terrible. I really do not understand how can they justify themselves to collect P550 terminal fee.
The airport should be torn down and new one be built.
In summary, I enjoyed my stay in Malapascua. Though it is a small island, but it is peaceful and tranquil.
There is virtually no nightlife to talk about. At 7pm, the beach front is almost dead except for those few restaurants or bars operated by the resort.
It is a lovely island and I hope they do not follow the footstep of Boracay.
Next time I will remember to give those Thresher Shark a call before I head for Monad Shoal. :p