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“A hidden gem, amazing diving everyday with the thresher sharks.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Malapascua Exotic Island Dive & Beach Resort

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Malapascua Exotic Island Dive & Beach Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Malapascua Island | P.O. Box 1200, 6000, Philippines   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 12 Hotels in Malapascua Island
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A hidden gem, amazing diving everyday with the thresher sharks.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2013 via mobile

Having just returned from exotic dive resort I can honestly say in 19 years of diving and travelling to most of the top dive spots around the world Malapascua and the exotic resort has to have been the best yet! The diving day starts early but is well worth it as every time on monad shoal we have up to 4 threshers around us, some very very close. After the early dive there's the option to do up to another 3 dives on the local sites which all have some of the best macro diving you'll ever see.

The rooms at the resort are good clean and comfortable and the menu in the restaurant had to be seen to be believed! The amount of choice. Even the most fussiest eater would be hard pushed not to find something.

During my stay we were hit by typhoon Haiyan and can only reiterate what others have said about the staff and locals of the island being fantastic.

For anyone thinking that after the typhoon they might change their plans to travel to Malapascua please don't. In the 3 days we were on the island exotic staff could not do enough during and after to make our stay as safe and comfortable as possible. The grounds of the hotel were being cleared as quick as they could and the staff were all busy getting the rooms and buildings looking back to their best, all with a big smile on their faces :) On my last morning a dive boat left for monad shoal and returned just before I left the island and the best news was that the thresher sharks were still there.

Thanks all at exotic dive resort I really can't wait to come back and see you all :)

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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183 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Singapore
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

This August's 11-day long stay at Exotic marked the 7th dive trip there in half as many years :) It was a delight to be there and I was invited by the local DMs to Guimbitayan for the San Roque Fiesta, where every door in every house in the village was thrown open to visitors. We had our fill of Lechon (roast pig), Lechon Manok (roast chicken), shellfish, pancit canton, San Miguel well through the day, into the night and for those that stayed, morning was no deterrent!

It was particularly memorable for me, as I'd never seen THAT MANY RAYS during any of my other stay in Malapascua. I've seen mantas, thresher sharks, even a hammerhead, the usual white-tips, but we had plenty of devil and manta rays this time round, compared to my 1st trip to Mala also in August. A dive destination that never fails to surprise.

Exotic ran a promotion on their room rates during the off peak season but service was never off peak. The restaurant, cleaning, boat and dive shop crew were as friendly and efficient as ever, with minimal hiccups. I got to dive with several of my favourite DMs and when my equipment got funky, they readily availed theirs to me.

Typhoon Bopha the year before wrought some damage, but who'd have thought Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) would bring about a greater extent of damage, Malapascua being virtually in the eye of the storm! Thankfully, there were no loss of lives, a little miracle. However, the majority of the native-built houses (of local straw and zinc/metal roofs) were destroyed. Many of the dive shops (both local and foreign-run) use mostly concrete structures and they withstood the brunt of the typhoon with minimal damage, mostly to the straw roofs. As such, they could focus their attention on helping the locals. This also helps with controlling security, as the locals are assured of ready help and supplies. Contrast this to what you read about going on in other parts of The Philippines (Tacloban), Malapascua is in good, safe hands.

Being a follower of Exotic on Facebook, I was particularly impressed by how promptly they sent out their boats (only 2 were damaged and are being fixed right now) and managers down to Cebu City to get aid (food, water, medicine) back to help the villagers. Not just their dive shop community. The other dive shops on Malapascua did the same too, rising to the occasion, rising to the need. Most of the guests on Exotic also chimed in with the aid, helping to pack supplies and clean up. What any other decent human being would do, considering how relatively unscathed Exotic was. The restaurant was still in operation throughout and only the beachfront structures had light damage which would be repaired in no time.

Day 2 after the typhoon, the guests were back to diving at Exotic. I've been told that a few of the dive sites incurred some damage underwater, but the marine life is still abound, with the thresher sharks still showing up at Monad!

Although I won't be there in time to join in the fundraising and Xmas event Exotic is planning, to give the Malapascua village kids something to look forward to, I can't wait to be there again for NYE 2013.

Room Tip: Rooms behind are quieter, but those near the restaurant and at the beachfront are a shorter walk to...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manila
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

Back a few days ago from an incredible six days on Malapascua. I had decided I couldn't sit on the sidelines without helping in person, and Silvia at Tepanee encouraged me to come and said she'd have a room for me. Best decision I've taken in a very long time.

As I was trying to get to Malapascua from Maya port late on Nov. 14th, there were only two boats left to go to the island, both hired by Exotic, both being loaded up with tons of lumber. I started chatting with a charming young lady, who turned out to be Rebecca, part of the Swedish husband-and-wife management team. She encouraged to captain to let me on the boat, and on the way, offered me a free room for the night, as it was too late to see if they were still open at me destination. Next day, Exotic also provided me with a boat to bring my 300 l of fuel, and 360 l. of water, chainsaw, tools etc to Tepanee. I found out during my time on the island that Rebecca and husband Joah (sp?) have a reputation for being kind and helpful throughout the island.

The room was typical of rooms in most dive resorts - using plenty of local materials, but not overly ornate or fancy. Everything worked, and that shower was memorably wonderful after such a sweaty day.

Exotic's restaurant was fully operational. I did not have anything there that was not tasty, and I can honestly say that the spring rolls they serve are the best I have ever had anywhere on the planet, bar none (the use of shitake mushrooms in them seems to be part of the reason). For other good places to eat, check out Angelina's, and Tepanee's bar/restaurant.

Exotic is one of the biggest hubs of relief operations on the island. While I was on the island, Exotic hosted what was reportedly the largest relief distribution event ever conducted by the Cebu chapter of the Red Cross, where all 1,100 households of the island were offered, using coupons, a bag of relief goods. After the chaotic scenes from Tacloban, it was awe-inspring to see these islanders wait patiently and with good humour, for as long as 4 hours, for their turn to get their goods. Everybody did a splendid job.

Luckily, the Thresher Sharks are still at their sites, and other deep dives are also intact. The amazingly white and long Bounty Beach is as gorgeous to swim on as ever, and resorts and diveshops along it are slowly getting back to working order. Places like Exotic and Evolution have been diving for a week already, most of the others expected to re-open by mid-December.

Basically, Malapascua is still a great place to come diving and hang out on the beach. The added attraction should be that now your presence is more important than ever, as many tourists have cancelled, imagining that there are riots and dead bodies around... In reality, though 99% of the population lost their roofs in the typhoon, about the same proportion, 6 days later, were already walking around calmly with huge smiles on their faces. These resilient people are so relax and joyful, they have an awful lot to teach all of us - this may well be the best souvenir you will bring back home.

For those of you who like to get involved, there are lots of relief initiatives on the island. My favourite is Anna Reed (contact her via Facebook), who is setting up "Rebuild Malapascua", rebuild islanders' houses and set up a badly needed medical clinic. Other good initiatives include projects through Divelink (ask for Anna Aposa or Gary Cases), who have projects to rebuild the school, and also to increase awareness of the importance of protecting the sharks and the reefs.

Please go to Malapascua, it's a trip you won't regret, and will never forget.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2013

This is not quite the review I intended to write. We had a fantastic (diving) holiday in Malapascua (Exotic), came back home and heard about the typhoon hitting the Philippines. From the first pictures, it was absolutely heart-breaking to see this beautiful island devastated beyond recognition. We were very concerned what happened to the lovely people we met in the Exotic Dive Resort and in the village. Like many other divers, we tried to do our bit to help the island and its people. And it seems to be working, Malapascua is bouncing back. But more help is needed. So please - if you are a diver - do go there, diving is fantastic and thresher sharks coming up to the cleaning station are quite incredible to see (at 5:30am!). The dive shop was well organised, the guides/dive masters really good at finding all kinds of fascinating little creatures and spotting sharks early in the morning. The boat crews are happy to help with your gear and lend a steady hand when you are getting back to the boat.

To be truthful Malapascua is not really ideal for non-divers unless you fancy a bit of peace, quiet and simple life. Getting there is not particularly easy either (3hr+ drive from Cebu city then 35 mins by boat) but well worth it if you are not too far, Hong Kong for example (took us 26hrs to get back home to the UK). The choice of food in Exotic was really good (mango daiquiris are absolutely divine, actually anything "mango" is a good call), general ambiance fantastic and people nice, warm and hard working. I really hope they are able to rebuild the island and their lives asap. In the meantime, if you have any loose coins in your pocket, check out Exotic's facebook page and you will soon know what to do with your spares...;-)

Room Tip: From the beach rooms you will hear the boats (including for 4:30 am dive in the Monad Shoal) and din...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cebu
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2013

We checked in at around 12noon and so far this is the poshest of all!! They want you to feel you are totally away from home and you get the best treatment of your holiday. And they never ran out of anything we ordered from food to drinks to deserts. Fully equipped restaurant and the staff are very friendly. I had the best breakfast of my life here in this resort. It is just so sad to think if they can still restore the place and I doubt when. We hope to go back in Exotic Island Dive Resort.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Top Contributor
155 reviews 155 reviews
93 hotel reviews
Reviews in 54 cities Reviews in 54 cities
359 helpful votes 359 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

This resort has nice rooms, good food but all in all a little pricier than the others. I would not have minded if their service and palate can match up with the neighbouring competitors (I had stayed in them for longer periods) but unfortunately not much of a par. Nice rooms though, best of the lot.

Diving experience was ok but my general opinion is there was a bit of a condescension and they need to be more thorough in ensuring the right qualifications goes to the right diver. My dive mate has a stamp on his dive log that has gone down 28m and he's only a PADI Open Water diver. Fact is they didnt ask in advance, took him to the site and plomp him into a depth of 28m. Doesn't do well for a PADI reggistered dive centre.

the receptionist n billing needs more education in their service training.

While I noted people did try to get away without paying their hotel bills, not all are like that so the receptionist girls need to understand that the departure hospitality is very important when checking out because that will bring about an after taste. The pinays need to know their place in the resort and that they are there because of the resort's clients.

Nicely cleaned beach and overall impression is that the resort is logistically well-run. Just work on your PR. It's the human factor that makes the difference.

Room Tip: Choose the bigger three bedders for those who are claustrophobic. If any issues with billing, ask to...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Shanghai
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

I’ve been here 3 times. All ace star each time.

Great macro variety, the elegance of the thresher sharks, white soft sand, topped off with top class divemasters friends, service and the yummiest food too!

I’ll be coming back – and the little selfish side of me wishes I could keep this place a secret…

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Malapascua Exotic Island Dive & Beach Resort

Address: Malapascua Island | P.O. Box 1200, 6000, Philippines
Location: Philippines > Visayas > Cebu Island > Malapascua Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Spa
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Malapascua Island
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Malapascua Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Malapascua Exotic Island Dive & Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you are thinking of diving or staying in Malapascua consider us your first choice. We have everything you need for a relaxing, exciting, enjoyable stay with first class facilities and service.Exotic is the pioneer dive resort on Malapascua. The first dive shop to open on the island in 1998, Exotic has grown over the years and is now the leading dive resort on the island, without compromising its original laid-back charm and outstanding service. Our continued expansion is a result of our customer’s loyalty and desire to revisit and share their Exotic experience with others. Why not come and see what brings people back to us year after year? ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Malapascua Exotic Island Dive & Beach Hotel Malapascua Island
Malapascua Exotic Island Dive And Beach Resort
Malapascua Exotic Island Dive & Beach Resort Malapascua Island, Cebu Island

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