Photos and details -
Hi, I have returned from Malapascua. Beautiful place, very well equipped (this is no small island) and well worth the slight trouble taken to reach it (it is easier to reach than Banaue, but more difficult to reach than Bohol / Camotes / Apo island)
And yes - most of the people we saw were non-divers.
Main attractions - Beaches, good accommodations, some snorkelling (not much)
Main activities - walking along the beach, eating, sleeping a bit, then again walking along the beach, eating...
For more details, see "25 Things to do in Malapascua" - http://goo.gl/e4Vz2
How to reach -
(1) We took a bus from Cebu North Bus terminal going to Maya. (this is a big bus stand, with buses leaving for North of Cebu every about 20 minutes). Ceres liner, Non aircon, medium comfort, 125 pesos. 5 hours
(2) At Maya, there is a bangka to Malapascua every 1 hour. A small baot (20 pesos per baggage, paid to the boat man) takes you to the big boat (20 seater, tickets sold at a small counter on the jetty. 220 pesos). Teh big boatride takes about 1 hour. On reachign Malapascua, you are again transferred to a small boat (same rate) which lands you on Logon beach. At Logon beach, there are lots of people who will take you to Bounty beach for a small fee (20 pesos) - highly recommended as the lane goes from inside and is not easy to spot for a visitor.
a) The Maya bus stand is just an open space it a few shops / carinderia (local eatery with wooden benches).
b) There really is no ferry or boat terminal. Just a small ticket counter. but there are always people around to help.
c) You HAVE to wade through water to get into the small boat. So wear shorts and slippers.
d) The bangka invariably has water splashing in, so leave your designer clothes at home, wear your ukay ukay clothes
e) My luggage got wet despite it having been kept in the "dry" hold below the boat. Some tourists had covered their luggage in plastic - a good idea. (you cannot keep your luggage up as there is no space)
f) The transfer between big and small boats is dangerous even when the seas are not so rough. Be careful. I was on all my fours during the transfer. Elderly people, frail people and differently abled people may wish to be careful here.
IN MALAPASCUA -
Malapascua island is a very well developed island as far as resorts go. The resemblance to Boracay is uncanny - right from the "beach walk path" to the restaurants and resorts lining the beach. It is NOT a small place with simple / frugal resorts like Apo island or Coron. If ou come durign the off season, I think you can easily just walk along the beach and walk in and book your resort.
There are at least 20 resorts along Bounty beach (and many more away from the beach inside the village amidst greenery) - all budget, (600 pesos to 2500 pesos), most run by foreigners (so you will get very little Filipino flavour here and frankly I hated sitting in some of the restaurants as the music was German, the books were all in Swiss and I did not feel that I was in a tropical beach!)
Here is the best listing I found of resorts / hotels in Malapascua - malapascua-island.com/Malapascua_Map/malapas…
In my opinion, Bounty beach is the ideal palce tostay. t doesnto have many people, yet ahs lots of restaurants. Tepanee looked nice and so did Los Bamboos and Bantigue cove though these are more remote 9for those who liek remoteness)
We stayed at Dano beach resort - the cottages were good, air con, beach view, 1 minute to the beach.TA review here - tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g659555-d6514…
We had inquired with about 10 places - they all replied promptly on email
Electricity - is good, No brown outs
Water - the water in taps in CR is saltish. You must buy your own water.
Snacks / fruits - are easily available n small shops along the thin road behind the resorts. Nearly everything comes from mainland Cebu so be prepared to pay a bit more
Exploring the island -
1) We hired a habal habal (motor cycle) for half the day - 400 pesos, best way to see the island. The beach in Guimbitayan is amazingly beautiful, clean, white and long. Nil people! Expect to be stunned by the clear turquoise waters and beautiful beaches - all around the island including at Bounty beach itself
2) The lighthouse is over rated - the trek is short, but there are hardly any views from top. I found the graffiti on the light house more interesting!
3) Snorkeling - The Japanese wreck was crap, equally crappy was the so called coral garden south of the island. The only good snorkeling was off Guimbitayan / Los Bamboos. Some other places were out of bound as the waves had grown higher. Don't expect too much.
How many days should I stay?
We spent 2 full days and nights - I would have liked to spend a week. Time stood still and I got tat pleasant feeling of being isolated from the rest of the world. Oh - did I mention? Our cottage did not have TV, but instead had a HUGE balcony - I did not miss TV at all
Cell phone -
Works well. Some resorts and restaurants have wifi, others do not.
Is it worth it?
While we went to Camotes after this and were in Cebu before this, it is well worth coming just to visit Malapascua and then returning back.
Zero. No girlie bars either. Of course, all restaurants have bars, but they usually close around 10 pm. An excellent palce for families. No lolos with 20 somethign girls. Lots of foreigner tourists, very few Filipinos (the few Filipinos were mostly couples from Cebu - the well educated and exploratory type. Again, this is a good opportunity for foreigners to meet Filipinos of a better kind)
Is not at all an issue - continental, Filipino, seafood, vegetarian, it is all available
Final verdict -
Malapascua is well worth visiting - even if you have seen many places in the Philippines. yes - it is different.
Details and photos here -