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Trip Report - Malapascua

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Trip Report - Malapascua

Photos and details -

http://goo.gl/e4Vz2

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 -

Simple -

(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.

Notes :

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.

Night life

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)

Food

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 -

…blogspot.com.au/2013/01/malapascua.html

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1. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

I felt that Malapascua beach front hotel development is more regulated and tidy than Boracay.

Boracay beach front is like non-regulated. Any person can just built something at the beach front.

Malapascua on the other hand is much better. Having said that, I guess the beachfront hotel is also doing their job to keep the beach as clean as possible.

If you walk further down Bounty beach, you will notice that the beach gets dirtier.

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2. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

I agree MH

Malapascua is "organised Boracay" ( I wish I did not have to make that comparisson, but the similarities are too many!)

Now, as I see the map of El Nido by Art cafe, I realise that El Nido is no small town, but more like Sabang beach in Puerto Gallera.

Certainly no "small hidden gem!"

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3. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

About four years ago, developments that had sprung up closer to the shoreline on Bounty Beach were demolished.

This is why it all looks so picture perfect today.

YLOO does not mention how coming back upon arrival at Maya (bangka to bus transfer) one has to clamber over quite a lot of large rocks (which I did not enjoy). Presumably it was low tide when I did this. I am at a loss to understand how disabled or elderly individuals cope - unless someone else (singular or plural) carries them.

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4. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

Victorianlad is correct - when we were last there in September 2008, a lot of the buildings which were deemed to be too close to the high tide mark had red X's spray painted on them, marked for demolition.

We haven't been back since, but wow, the boat price has increased! It was 60 pesos per person back then!

YLOO - is there 24 hour electricity there now and how is the cellphone signal from SMART? I only ask because if we are to go back there, this is a big consideration for us as we have an online business to run and unfortunately can't be without internet access.

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5. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

Electricity is alright. No brown out during my stay.

As for SMART, I did not get a good reception there. Having said that, my phone is crappy too!

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6. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

@ VL and LobbyLou2

I did no know that about demolitions. But I'll be honest - I was pleasantly surprised by how well developed the resorts were. (I was expecting something like Apo island!)

I agree - I had kept my slippers handy just because I had read about those damn rocks. They need to make the boat transfers more sensible. It is the only one factor that will prevent me from whole heartedly recommending Malapascua to many people. I don't understand - if one can board a bangka in Alona beach (using that nice contraption of a ladder) without having to get ones legs and shoes wet, why not here?

I remember there was a similar boat transfer in Puerto Gallera Sabang too, but it was more organised and did not have things trying to bang our heads!

@ Lobby lou

Yes - my experience was the same as Mousehunt's - we did not have any issues with electricity. The cellphone signal was good, but I cannot recollect which signal it was - smart or globe (I use both sim cards)

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7. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

Globe has had a 24/7 diesel powered cell phone tower on Malapascua for at least 10 years. The tower is behind the Bounty beach resorts. So, if you had good signal, it was with Globe.

My favourite beach is Logon Beach as the bay is more picturesque. Still white sand and still easy to get to everything..

Malapascua is now about as developed as Boracay was when I visited Boracay in 1995.

I am surprised at the increase in fee too. When I visited in 2010, they had a new fee structure. And the price for foreigners had dropped to P50.

If a disabled person wanted to visit, my suggestion is they hire a private bangka in Daanbantayan to take them. For instance, the owner of Skip's Beach resort in Daanbantayan will organise this for you. The trip from Skip's takes about an hour. Actually, an alternative to staying on Malapascua is to stay at Skip's. Then take a day trip to Malapascua. You can see Malapascua in the distance. It is close enough to make out the light house on Malapascua.

Plenty of Filipinos living on Malapascua. You will find them in the town and in areas on the other side of the island to Bounty beach.

At night, I like to hang out at Maldito.

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8. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

The beach is pretty dirtied with sea debris.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I just read this review of Logon Beach by Mousehunt.

I have video showing the beach as picture perfect.

I presume MH saw the beach after a storm.

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9. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

@ Big jim

A clarification - I meant there were very few resorts OWNED by Filipinos (I know it is different on paper, I meant in the practical sense). Also, most of the tourists were Foreigners. But a more important irritant has been mentioned in the below paragraph 3.

Dano's owner (who is also the Barangay captain) said theirs was the only resort along bounty beach owned and run by residents. There IS another good private resort (forgot the name - it is somewhere in my trove of photos) on the west coast recently constructed by a popular Filipino actor.

I have no issues with foreigner owning resorts. What I disliked was the strong presence of the owners country that you could feel everywhere. In most other places (Siquijor, Coron), while the resort may have some tell tale marks (a flag here, a few items in the menu) of the owners nationality, they also highlight the essence of that place (good local music, local handicrafts, etc) - even in Malapascua, Hoppocampus does that well. however, in other restaurants that we saw / tried, the menu was exclusively German, the music was some Austrian FM station, the "hospitality" was stiff brow, the 4 racks of books were all foreign language books ... and I wondered... were we in Germany post Global warming? Of course, we did not return, neither did we hang around.

Btw, Hippocampus could also do well by adding some books in their library in English.

And while on the subject of flags, I wish resorts that have their owners country's flags fluttering above would also fly the Filipino flag next to it.

As expats, I think it is important for us to respect the host country and show this respect visibly.

I think you may have a point though - the smaller resorts behind bounty beach, inside the village may have more Filipino flavour. We DID roam around inside the island and visit a few villages en route to the light house and near the well.

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10. Re: Trip Report - Malapascua

Jim,

Come to think about it, you may be right.

Now I remembered a diver did told me a few days before my arrival, there are heavy storm hitting on Malapascua.

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