Malapascua – an island in northern Cebu

Malapascua, an island in northern Cebu, can be deceiving. Geographically, it is a lot nearer to Ilo-ilo, the neighboring island province that has an entirely different language. Malapascua is the name non-locals use. For the old locals, their home island is Logon. “Malapascua” means “bad Easter” in Spanish. According to some island tales, the island got its name from a colonial incident (what’s new?): a Spanish ship got stranded on the island due to bad weather. It is said this happened on the 25th of December 1520. They got stranded til Easter. There is no historical evidence that this is indeed true.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Malapascua Island? From June to November are typically the monsoon months. It is for the better if you visit the Philippines somewhere between December and May. Summer is April and May for us, so these months are the peak season. If you go to popular tourist destinations during these months, expect a throng of local tourists around. But then again, there is climate change, so any time of the year is okay. But if you’re a diver, thresher sharks and manta rays can be spotted all year round but the best seasons for manta rays are winter and spring. Hammerhead Sharks can be seen schooling with best chances from December to April. How to get there? From the airport. The easiest and most expensive way to go to the island is through a private car. The airport is located in Lapu-Lapu City. Malapascua is on the northernmost part of Cebu Island. From North Bus Terminal. From the airport, take a taxi to the north bus terminal. It costs about 300 to 400 pesos, if you’re not stuck in the horrendous traffic. For an affordable option, SM Supermall now provides MyBus services from the airport to SM and SM Seaside. A MyBus ride costs 40 pesos from the airport to SM City. From there, you can take a jeep or taxi to North Bus Terminal. For convenience, book a Grab ride. Or book a reliable private car. Bus rides to Maya, Daan Bantayan are available as early as three in the morning. The bus ride takes around four hours and costs around 210 pesos. I suggest you leave the earliest time possible, so you find yourself in the island by noon. For tall humans, take the Air-conditioned buses, they have more leg rooms. Vans are also available at the terminal. They cost around 250 pesos. The van ride takes around three hours. But I prefer long bus rides with open windows. Budget Accommodation? BB’s Lodging House charges 400 pesos per person with a shared bathroom. It is located at the Village, a five-minute walk from Bounty Beach. Bigger rooms with personal toilet cost 600 pesos a night. They have free WiFi too. I stayed here on my second night at Malapascua. They provide free hot water for their tenants for those who want to have coffee.

The islands in the Philippines resemble one another. The beach has a story of lavishness, of relaxation, of escaping from our individual realities. Ten. Try witnessing a cockfight. On weekends, locals mostly men go to their church. This is an island culture or a Filipino culture worth observing or worth experiencing. Eleven. Talk with the locals. This is one of my favorite pastime when I’m traveling. I love hearing island gossips and rumors. There is no better way of knowing a place beyond its touristy front than talking to the very people who call it their home. Twelve. Diving with the Thresher Sharks and Manta Rays. Sure, it is not mandatory, but to be in a place where the rare to be seen thresher sharks live, it is almost a shame not to see them up close. Sharks, contrary to Hollywood narrative, don’t like the taste of your flesh.

#Malapascua, #ophirph

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